Senate Hands Obama Big Victory on Iran Deal
As Iran hardliners continue to chant "death to America," Senate Democrats managed to muster up the 34 votes needed to advance President Barack Obama's controversial Iranian nuclear agreement.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., joined Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Bob Case, D-Pa., in their support for the accord, declaring it the best way to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Congress has till September 17 to vote for or against it.
At the State Department, officials continued to stress Obama's statement that the United States would impose further sanctions should Iran change its behavior toward the deal -- and that it prevents Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
"We've been very clear about what this agreement is about. It's about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.
But opponents of the deal, including retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, say it will actually have the opposite effect.
"This is, in fact, a pathway to Iran having a nuclear weapon," Boykin, who now serves as executive vice president of the Family Research Council, warned.
In a letter last week, Boykin and nearly 200 other retired U.S. generals and admirals appealed to Congress to reject the deal.
Boykin said the agreement also gives Iran access to more money to fund terror groups around the world.
"There's going to be a large amount of money -- $150 billion (and) I've heard estimates that over a five-year period, that run as much as $700 billion, that is going to go into the coffers of a very rogue Islamic regime who is the biggest sponsor of terrorism," Boykin said.
"That means that Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations are going to get a lot of money, which they can use against their two primary enemies, which is Israel and America," he explained.
As chances of stopping the deal dwindle, Republicans are planning to push new legislation for sanctions targeting the finances of Iranian institutions that support terror. One of them is Tehran's elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Meanwhile, with Congress just days from a final vote, Iranian hardliners continue to conspire openly against the United States and Israel.
On Tuesday, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said, "America is still the Great Satan."
That sentiment was echoed the same day during the opening session of Iran's powerful clerical body.
"This nuclear deal will under no circumstances alter our country's foreign policy," said Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, head of the Assembly of Experts, the body that elects Iran's supreme leader. "The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the U.S. its number one enemy."