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Tags: bob corker | iran | nuclear talks | inspections | red lines

Sen. Corker: 'Multiple Red Lines' Being Crossed in Iran Nuke Talks

By    |   Monday, 22 June 2015 01:15 PM EDT

The United States would be better off keeping its interim agreement with Iran and continuing to negotiate, rather than trying to wrap up the talks by June 30, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Monday.

"The administration has felt like they just had to do this deal," said the Tennessee senator on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "I think if we would step away — if they are trying to cross these two remaining red lines, if they try to cross those — I do think we should step away and step away from the table and make sure that we end up with a deal that will stand the test of time."

Meanwhile, Corker does not believe the deal will be finalized by June 30, but it will go through shortly thereafter, and he believes some points of contention — three at least — are being glossed over and they are "very concerning."

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"One is anytime, anyplace inspections," Corker said, pointing out that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected inspections at military sites.

"Obviously we want to make sure that we don't end up in a situation like we had in Iraq, where the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] could never get in," said Corker, pointing out that when investigators were able to finally get in, "you never knew where they [the weapons] were."

In addition, it's vital for the United States to know the possible military dimensions, said Corker.

"I think everyone in the Western world believes they were developing a nuclear weapon up until 2003," said Corker. "We want access to their scientists to know what capabilities they have."

And finally, Corker said, "it appears the administration may be considering negotiating a way more than just the nuclear-related sanctions, but trying to tie others to it, so those would be three that would be very concerning."

Those were issues that have been "nonnegotiable" up until two to three months ago, said Corker, and already, there have been "multiple red lines" that have been crossed.

"We began with dismantling their program," he said. Then "it was going to be a 20-year deal. Now it's a 10-year deal."

Meanwhile, there is a document on Iran's nuclear development program that has been written "but none of us have seen," said Corker. "It lays out what they're going to be able to do after year 10, so it's a shortly thereafter time period where they're really going to be enhancing hugely the spent centrifuges they have."

Iran will continue to do development and research, Corker said, "and they're still going to do all the work they need to be doing on their sophisticated ballistic missile program.

"Many lines have been crossed but these have been nonnegotiable from Day One."

Further, he told the show that Secretary of State John Kerry is making comments that we don't want to "insult their national pride by causing them to come clean with their previous militarization of their nuclear program," said Corker, and he hopes that negotiators are not caving on the issue.

Corker said many troubling compromises have come during the negotiations.

"Iraq was not going to produce plutonium," the senator said. "Now it is, but in a more limited way. It was going to be a 20-year deal. Now it's 10. We were going to dismantle their program. Now we're going to manage their proliferation."

He thinks senators are going to have to make a decision over whether it is worth a 10-year pause, "while Iran can continue to do the research and development on advanced centrifuges, continue to develop their ballistic missile program," or not.

"I think these last remaining qualitative issues are going to weigh heavily on people," he said.

Corker said he knows he is being criticized by raising the issues, "but I would say it's better to raise them on the front end before they reach a deal and hopefully stiffen them. I think it's much better for us to weigh in now and express our concerns, and hopefully stiffen the spines of the negotiators at the table."

Also on the show, Corker voiced his opinion on the debate over the Confederate flag flying on the Statehouse grounds in South Carolina, saying that he sees no reason for the practice to continue — and he doesn't think it will.

"It's a state issue and I acknowledge that it's a state issue," Corker, who was born in South Carolina and lived there the first 11 years of his life, said. "If I were there, I would certainly vote to have it come down. It serves no purpose anymore, especially after what has occurred."

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The United States would be better off keeping its interim agreement with Iran and continuing to negotiate, rather than trying to wrap up the talks by June 30, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Monday, because "multiple red lines" are being ignored.
bob corker, iran, nuclear talks, inspections, red lines
Monday, 22 June 2015 01:15 PM
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