Inhofe: Obama ‘Naive,’ but Winning, on Iran

After the president’s veto threat in State of the Union, a top Republican says sanctions momentum may be fading.

Sen. James Inhofe
National Journal
Sara Sorcher
Add to Briefcase
Sara Sorcher
Jan. 29, 2014, 11:27 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama used his State of the Uni­on ad­dress Tues­day to threaten a veto of any con­gres­sion­al plan to slap Ir­an with new sanc­tions, and he just might have got­ten his way.

The top Re­pub­lic­an on the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee thinks Obama is “na­ive” to be­lieve the U.S. is hav­ing any “great suc­cess” in per­suad­ing Ir­an to curb parts of its nuc­le­ar pro­gram — but he is not op­tim­ist­ic there’s enough mo­mentum in the Sen­ate, all told, to ram through new sanc­tions against the wishes of the pres­id­ent.

“[Obama] said last night he would veto any [new sanc­tions],” Sen. Jim In­hofe said in an in­ter­view. “The ques­tion is, is there sup­port to over­ride a veto on that? I say, ‘No.’ “

The Nuc­le­ar Weapon Free Ir­an Act, au­thored by two sen­at­ors, Illinois Re­pub­lic­an Mark Kirk and New Jer­sey Demo­crat Robert Men­en­dez, has 59 co­spon­sors, and in­cludes meas­ures to pun­ish Ir­an’s oil in­dustry if it breaches dip­lo­mat­ic com­mit­ments. In­hofe does not be­lieve a vote now would res­ult in the ma­jor­ity ne­ces­sary to over­ride a pres­id­en­tial veto, be­cause enough Demo­crats would still side with their pres­id­ent.

Even some of the Sen­ate bill’s Demo­crat­ic co­spon­sors, in­clud­ing Joe Manchin of West Vir­gin­ia and Chris­toph­er Coons of Delaware, have also backed away from the sanc­tions bill since Obama’s speech, The Hill re­por­ted.

In his ad­dress Tues­day night, Obama de­fen­ded the in­ter­im deal, which he said “has hal­ted the pro­gress of Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram—and rolled parts of that pro­gram back—for the very first time in a dec­ade.” Ir­an has star­ted elim­in­at­ing its stock­pile of high­er levels of en­riched urani­um, Obama said, and is no longer in­stalling ad­vanced cent­ri­fuges. If dip­lomacy fails, then all op­tions—pre­sum­ably even mil­it­ary force—re­main on the table, Obama prom­ised. “I will be the first to call for more sanc­tions, and stand ready to ex­er­cise all op­tions to make sure Ir­an does not build a nuc­le­ar weapon.”

In­hofe, though, isn’t buy­ing it. New Ir­a­ni­an Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani is not to be trus­ted; in­spec­tions won’t be enough, he said. “They,” In­hofe said, re­fer­ring to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, “seem to think, for some reas­on, that this new pres­id­ent is a pres­id­ent they can talk to, and ne­go­ti­ate with”¦. This guy, I don’t think we can trust him more than any­body else, [even former Pres­id­ent Mah­moud] Ah­mad­ine­jad.”

Even though the mo­mentum may be slip­ping, In­hofe said, Demo­crats loy­al to Obama are quickly be­com­ing “en­dangered spe­cies.” So if talks between world powers and Ir­an fall apart, or new rev­el­a­tions emerge that Ir­an is break­ing its dip­lo­mat­ic com­mit­ments, it’s pos­sible the polit­ic­al winds could shift.

For now, though, Obama may be in the clear.

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this story misid­en­ti­fied Sen. Men­en­dez’s party; he is a Demo­crat.

What We're Following See More »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
16 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
17 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

NEVER TRUMP
USA Today Weighs in on Presidential Race for First Time Ever
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."

Source:
×