Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said at a synagogue in Franklin Lakes Sunday he has “real concerns” whether the Obama administration’s deal leaves Iran a “threshold nuclear” state.
“This bill is a good bill and I’d hoped the administration would have supported it,” Menendez said. “We are going to have to see what the agreement is and what are the mechanisms for verification. There needs to be a very robust inspection.”
Sen. Menendez has been a leading and very vocal critic of the president’s unpopular Iran policy, and was even gearing up to co-sponsor draft legislation meant to check the administration’s power to negotiate a deal. However, the Justice Department will soon file corruption charges against the powerful senator, alleging that he used his office to help a Democratic donor who is also his long-time friend.
The timing of the federal charges against Menendez is blatantly suspicious, as the administration resurrected years-old charges they had refused to investigate in the past. Still, despite the immense political and legal pressure from the White House, he has not backed down.
Though he supported the decision to delay a vote on his own new sanctions bill (S. 615) until after the March 31 negotiating deadline, which was done with the hope to win more Democratic support, Sen. Menendez repeated Sunday that he would oppose any deal that leaves Iran as close as one year away from the bomb.