Despite White House lobbying, Senator Jeff Flake opposes Iran nuclear deal
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake announced his opposition on Saturday to the nuclear deal with Iran despite White House lobbying to try to convince the Arizona Republican to back the deal when U.S. lawmakers vote on it.
The agreement that Iran reached with the United States and other world powers “does contain benefits in terms of limiting Iran’s ability to produce sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon for a period of time, particularly at its known nuclear facilities,” Flake said in a statement.
“But these benefits are outweighed by severe limitations the (agreement) places on Congress and future administrations in responding to Iran’s non-nuclear behavior in the region,” Flake added.
Flake was the only Republican lawmaker who accompanied President Barack Obama on a trip to Africa in July, and White House officials lobbied him during that trip to support the deal. Flake had supported Obama’s moves on another important foreign policy issue, establishing warmer relations with Cuba.
When Congress returns on Sept. 8 from its August recess, debate will begin on a Republican-sponsored “resolution of disapproval” against the deal. That resolution is expected to pass. Obama is poised to veto such a measure, and he would need 34 votes in the 100-seat Senate to block the override of that veto and preserve the Iran agreement.
“Hoping that Iran’s nuclear ambitions might change after a 15-year sabbatical might be a bet worth making. Believing that Iran’s regional behavior will change tomorrow – while giving up tools to deter or modify such behavior – is not,” Flake said in explaining his opposition.