WH 'Disappointed' Key Democrat Opposes Iran Deal
- VOA News,August 8, 2015
The White House says it is "disappointed" but not "surprised" that one of the top Democrats in the U.S. Senate came out against the pending nuclear deal with Iran.
Spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday the senator, Chuck Schumer, has had a difference of opinion with President Barack Obama going back to 2003, referring to Schumer's vote and support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
In a statement explaining his concerns, Schumer said the inspections regime was inadequate. He also expressed concern the money freed up by the sanctions relief will allow Iran to increase its funding for militant groups across the Middle East, further destabilizing the region.
The decision by Schumer, who is expected to take over as Democratic leader in the Senate in 2017, was seen as a serious setback for the Obama administration, which is struggling to gain congressional backing for the Iran nuclear deal. On Thursday, one of the top Democrats in the House of Representatives, Eliot Engel, also announced his opposition to the pact.
Meanwhile, the United States said it is "very concerned" about Western media reports that the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force in recently visited Russia in violation of a U.N. travel ban.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, on Friday said officials are seeking details about the reported trip.
Fox News and the Reuters news service both reported that Soleimani arrived in Moscow on July 24 for meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Soleimani has been the subject of an international travel ban and asset freeze by the U.N. Security Council for nearly a decade.