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 »
SANS PROOF
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
16 hours ago
UPDATE
NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING SOON
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
19 hours ago
UPDATE
“WE’RE CHANGING IT”
Trump Rails On Obamacare
19 hours ago
UPDATE

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

FAKE NEWS
Trump Goes After The Media
19 hours ago
UPDATE

Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."

FBI TURNED DOWN REQUEST
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
20 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login