Iran vote delayed to avoid influencing Israel's election, senator says

WASHINGTON - The Republican author of new sanctions legislation on Iran is criticizing his Democratic colleagues for delaying a full floor vote on his bill.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), co-author of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 alongside Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), praised the Senate Banking Committee for adopting the bill by a vote of 18 to 4 on Thursday with "overwhelming bipartisan support."
But in a phone call after the vote with The Jerusalem Post, Kirk also questioned why his Democratic colleagues seek to delay moving forward with a bill which, he says, adds pressure on Iran at a key moment in negotiations over its nuclear program, without violating any terms of the talks.
The delay is "a failed attempt to try and not influence the Israeli election," Kirk asserted. Ten Democratic senators told the president they would withhold full support for the bill until March 24, granting the president's team two months to negotiate; Israelis go to the polls on March 17.
"My preference is to take the time necessary with my Democratic partners, and to insist that a permanent delay is not viable," he said, adding: "Democratic plans to delay this indefinitely are woefully out of date."
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