US Capitol building in Washington DC 390.
(photo credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Key Democratic Senator Robert Menendez accused the Obama administration of "fear-mongering" on Wednesday in criticism of the White House's push to convince Congress not to pass new sanctions on Iran.
Politico quoted Menedez, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, as saying in an NPR radio interview that he was offended by White House press secretary Jay Carney's claims that new congressional sanctions would constitute a march to war.
“What I don’t appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that say … 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,” Politico quoted Menedez as saying.
“We consistently hear about how we have to worry about the hard-liners in Iran. And it seems that the Iranians get to play good cop-bad cop, [Iranian President] Rouhani as the good cop, the hard-liners as the bad cop,” Menendez said, suggesting that hard-line senators could play "bad cop" to Obama's "good cop."
He said that passing new sanctions on Iran, to go into effect should diplomacy fail, would be sending Tehran the message that "Hey look. This is what’s coming if you don’t strike a deal.’ And at the same time the administration would say, ‘But if we strike a deal those sanctions will never go into effect.’”
Menedez criticized the Geneva deal
as not forcing enough concessions from Iran.
“We basically have the Iranians running in place. But they’re running. Their centrifuges are spinning,” Politico quoted Menendez as saying. “Basically we are going to roll back some of our sanctions but they are rolling back nothing.”