McCain on Iran Agreement: ‘Walks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck -- It’s a Treaty’

Lauretta Brown | May 5, 2015 | 12:32pm EDT
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( – Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that the Obama administration’s proposed agreement with Iran on uranium enrichment and nuclear energy, due to be finalized in June, “should be considered as a treaty.” He also praised the legislative efforts to disapprove the agreement but said he would have preferred a treaty ratification vote by the U.S. Senate on the proposal.

“Anything of this magnitude, any agreement of this magnitude is clearly -- walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck -- it’s a treaty, and yet the administration chose to treat it as an agreement in order to try to avoid full-blown debate for ratification, which would require a positive vote,” Senator McCain said in response to a question at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) National Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

Pursuant to the treaty clause of the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 2, Clause 2) any treaty must receive consent for ratification by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

McCain praised the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act currently under debate in the Senate but pointed out that it “only allows us to disapprove the agreement in that we will not repeal the congressionally mandated sanctions.”

“I would have preferred a straight up or down vote ratification of a treaty,” McCain said.  “But what it will do, it will allow for a debate on the floor of the Senate and full ventilation of all the provisions of this so-called agreement, if it is reached, sometime in June. And that will give the American people a chance to also be better informed as to whether this is a good thing to happen or for it to be eminently dangerous in many respects.”

During his speech at the summit, McCain outlined some of his “serious questions and concerns” about the negotiations with Iran, stressing the weakness of the agreement and the threat posed by Iran to Israel and the surrounding region.

“It appears that Iran will not be required to ship its stockpile of enriched uranium out of the country, nor will Iran be required to close its hardened military facility at Fordow as we previously demanded,” McCain said.

“There is no process for resolving the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program,” said the senator. “It also appears that Iran will be allowed to conduct research and development on advanced centrifuges and, worse still, the agreement contains a sunset after which Iran will be allowed to maintain and possibly expand its enrichment program.”

“I believe that it is vital that Congress be actively involved in reviewing and ultimately approving any agreement,” said McCain. “As we assess the contents of the agreement we must also remember that the threat posed by the Iranian regime goes far beyond its nuclear program. The president has turned a blind eye in my view to Iran’s destructive role throughout the region, ignoring its position as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and the lifeline to terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.”

“Put simply, Iran has managed to expand its borders to the shores of the Mediterranean,” said McCain.  “It pursues policies of assassination and subversion and works actively to destabilize Arab governments across the region, including stirring unrest in Bahrain and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia and,in so doing, Iran creates fertile ground for the growth of extremism that endangers our national security and poses an existential threat to Israel.”

“Bottom-line is that any negotiation with Iran on its nuclear program must reflect a realistic understanding of Iran’s hegemony, ambitions, and its sponsorship of terrorism worldwide,” said the senator.  “Failure to do so will only empower Tehran.”

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