Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is blasting the Obama administration’s deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting certain economic sanctions.
The preliminary agreement stipulates Iran must halt any uranium enrichment above 5 percent and eliminate any stockpile that is near-20 percent enriched.
In exchange, the U.S. and other world powers will drop certain sanctions that have taken an approximately $7 billion toll on the Middle Eastern nation.
In an interview with WFPL News, Bevin, who is taking on Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year’s primary, says the concessions are a “wink and a nod” for Iran to continue and an insult to allies such as Israel.
“I would only consider easing sanctions if hard deliverables were met—not false promises or future possibilities—but actual deliverables that are confirmed and verifiable and that the world as a whole agrees along with us that these are deliverables that are indicating the fact they are no longer enriching uranium and building a nuclear weapon program,” he says.
President Obama described the negotiations as an important breakthrough on Sunday, and it does mark the first diplomatic agreement between the U.S. and Iran in decades.
Critics of the plan include congressional Republicans and the Israeli government, which said the deal is a “historic mistake” that makes the world more dangerous. GOP lawmakers specifically question how the U.S. can guarantee Iran is giving up a pursuit of nuclear arms.
Even some of President Obama’s Democratic allies have voiced concern.
“I am disappointed by the terms of the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations because it does not seem proportional,” read an official (Democratic Sen. Chuck) Schumer statement.
“Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions,” Schumer continued. “This disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December. I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has pushed back at skeptics, however. He says the agreement does not concede to Iran’s assertion that it has a right to enrich and is based on intrusive, on-site inspections led by an international coalition.
“We’re going to verify and verify and verify and verify,” Kerry told CNN this weekend.
But Bevin argues it is foolish for U.S. to believe the Iranians will keep their end of the bargain, and that certain standards should be met before any sanctions are lifted .
“Giving people concessions without them having done anything but give us a promise, and we’re dealing with people who have broken promise, after promise, after promise,” he says. “There is a precedent for these people being rogues and having a very inappropriate ideology as it relates to their neighbors. And for us to on a false promise to make concessions and to ease sanctions is I think a tremendously short-sighted and naïve decision on the part of the Obama administration.”
Bevin is the only candidate in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race to weigh-in on the deal thus far.
A McConnell office spokesperson says the senator hasn’t issued a statement yet, and Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’s campaign has not returned our request for comment.
UPDATE 5:45 p.m.:
After our initial story posted, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes sent WFPL the following statement regarding the Iran accords.
“For America’s sake, Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Given Iran’s record of dishonesty and deceit, I remain deeply skeptical of their intentions,” she says. “A final agreement must require Iran to fully dismantle its nuclear weapons capabilities. In order to do so, it must include continuous, ongoing inspections to ensure their compliance. I urge the administration to work closely with all of our allies and friends in the region to address their legitimate security concerns.”