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
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
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
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