Sen. John McCain said New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer would be the “key player” in what is likely to be a very close vote to thwart the nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by the Obama administration.
At a standing-room-only discussion at the Hudson Institute on Tuesday, the Arizona Republican discussed his own reasons for opposing what he called “a bad deal” with the Tehran regime. In what was billed as a “Dialogue on American Foreign Policy and World Affairs,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman McCain answered questions posed by Hudson Distinguished Scholar Walter Russell Mead on issues ranging from the Iran deal to Ukraine to tensions between Japan and South Korea.
McCain conspicuously avoided reporters staked out at the event and the inevitable questions about Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about his record as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Regarding the nuclear deal, McCain said the U.S. should have gone back to the original purpose of the agreement — “the elimination of Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” with “inspection anytime and anywhere” and sanctions lifted “on a gradual basis.”
The document that actually emerged from the negotiations in Vienna, which Congress will soon consider, he warned, “will lead to the nuclearization of the Middle East.” The idea of an Iran armed with a nuclear bomb “scares the daylights out of the Sunni Arab world” and “the Sunni Arab nations aren’t going to sit still over this,” said McCain.
Turning to his colleagues in the Senate, McCain noted that they have to vote on whether to end or continue those sanctions that have been approved by Congress. Although he feels certain the Senate will pass a measure to continue the sanctions and the president will veto it, “we don’t know whether [the veto] will be sustained,” he said.