Democratic senator says Obama administration 'fear-mongering' on Iran

By REUTERS
November 28, 2013 05:56
1 minute read.

The Democratic chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee accused the White House on Wednesday of using "over the top" rhetoric and "fear-mongering" tactics to try to halt new sanctions against Iran after the United States brokered an interim deal with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Senator Robert Menendez criticized President Barack Obama's administration for agreeing to the deal under which Iran will accept restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions that have damaged its economy and cut deeply into its oil exports.




Many Republicans already have criticized Obama over the agreement, and some Democrats, who tend to more hawkish on Iran than Obama's administration, have been skeptical about it.




A bill to impose further sanctions against Iran has been stalled in the Senate after Obama's administration appealed for a delay to allow time to pursue a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.




"What I don't appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that ... if we're pursuing sanctions we're marching the country off to war. I think that's way over the top, I think that's fear-mongering," Menendez said on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered."




The White House declined to respond to his comments.




Menendez who often supports Obama, but is a hawk on Iran, said he would push ahead with fresh sanctions measures that would take effect if Iran stops cooperating with Western powers.




The United States and six world powers agreed to the deal with Iran last weekend, but many members of the US Congress, particularly those who strongly support Israel, have expressed concern about the agreement, even though it has reduced the risk of US military action in the Middle East.



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