Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said today that it was not likely that Republicans in Congress can derail the Iran Nuclear Treaty. Corker is opposed to the Treaty, as are all other Republicans.
In a speech to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce at Belmont University today, Corker said, “My guess is this agreement is going to happen. At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s going to be likely a veto-proof number of people to keep it from occurring.” Corker said he did not intend to lobby members to change their votes.
There may be enough votes in both Republican-controlled Houses of Congress to approve the Treaty. Obama will veto that bill, and it takes a two-thirds majority on both Houses to override. Corker does not believe the votes are there to override.
Meanwhile, President Obama is taking to the airwaves to counter the tens of millions of dollars in paid advertising by pro-Israeli groups and defense hawks that are trying to kill the Treaty. Obama was scheduled to give one-on-one interviews at the White House Wednesday afternoon with news anchors from Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
There is a great deal of misinformation and flat out untruths in many of the ads that dominate TV and Radio, and have for months. Fact checkers and nuclear experts have debunked many of the statements in the ads. In fact, a statement made by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was given Pinocchios by Glenn Kessler, Fact Checker for the Washington Post. Schumer is one of two Democrats so far to come out against the Treaty.
Schumer told reporters one of the main reasons he sided with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to oppose the Treaty is that it would take 24 days before we could inspect. What Schumer left out was the fact that it would take “up to” 24 days to inspect a non-designated site, meaning one that no one now expects to be a nuclear installation. Other sites can be inspected in 24 hours. For this he received three Pinocchios.
Other blatant lies have been circulating, most recently by Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Trump said that the deal was bad because Iran gets to do its own inspections. This came from an article published by Associated Press that indicated that a secret deal between Iran and the IAEA would allow Iran do its own inspections. That report was immediately debunked by the IAEA and take down from AP’s websites. That does not stop Republicans and FOX News from continuing to assert that it is true.
Similar falsehoods are contained in the TV ads. One ad says that 50 sites will go un-inspected. The advertisement was paid for by a group called Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. The Washington Post reports that the “group is backed financially by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and other individuals and pro-Israel groups.” An ABC affiliate in Arizona did fact checking on the ad and concluded it was false. The fact checker said almost none of those sites have anything to do with nuclear development. He added that the photo behind the statistic is of a facility that’s not even a military site.
Donald Trump is not the only Republican making political hay out of opposing the Iran Treaty. All the GOP candidates said they either oppose it or would rip it up on day one. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas was caught by fact checkers making erroneous statements as well.
The Republican-leaning FactCheck.org said that Huckabee was presenting his opinion as facts. Huckabee said that if the Treaty is approved and Iran cheats, the threat of a military strike by the U.S. would be worthless because Russia was given permission to sell anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. FactCheck.org said that was not true. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military option would remain intact even if Iran purchases the missiles.
Huckabee also brought up the same issue of inspections as Schumer. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano responded to the AP article by issuing a statement that said, “I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran. Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work.” He said “the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices.” The issue will come up for a vote within the month.