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

The Democratic chairman ofthe US Senate Foreign Relations Committee accused the WhiteHouse on Wednesday of using "over the top" rhetoric and"fear-mongering" tactics to try to halt new sanctions againstIran after the United States brokered an interim deal withTehran over its nuclear program.
Senator Robert Menendez criticized President Barack Obama'sadministration for agreeing to the deal under which Iran willaccept restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange forlimited relief from economic sanctions that have damaged itseconomy and cut deeply into its oil exports.

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

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

"What I don't appreciate is when I hear remarks out of theWhite House spokesman that ... if we're pursuing sanctions we'remarching the country off to war. I think that's way over thetop, I think that's fear-mongering," Menendez said on theNational 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 thatwould take effect if Iran stops cooperating with Westernpowers.

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

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