In Last-Ditch Ploy, Mitch McConnell Ties Iran Deal To Recognition Of Israel
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) presented Senate Democrats with an ultimatum on Tuesday night: Allow a simple majority vote on a resolution meant to sink the Iran nuclear deal, or face another vote tying implementation of the nuclear accord to Iran’s recognition of Israel and the release of four Americans held in Iran.
As it became increasingly clear that Senate Democrats were prepared to repeat what they did on Thursday, when they blocked a vote on a resolution of disapproval of the agreement, McConnell warned that the fight to derail the Iran deal was far from over.
The majority leader said that if Democrats again blocked a vote on the nuclear accord, he would force them to make an unpopular vote later in the week.
“I will file on an amendment that would prevent the president from lifting sanctions until Iran meets two simple benchmarks: It must formally recognize Israel’s right to exist, and it must release the American citizens being held in Iranian custody,” he said Tuesday just before the roll call.
Throughout the negotiations that led to the diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, the Obama administration insisted that the scope of their talks was limited to Iran’s nuclear program. McConnell has cut off debate on past legislation to prevent hawks in his own party from pushing amendments that have made Iran recognize Israel and release the four American prisoners preconditions of the nuclear deal. But McConnell insisted on Tuesday, “Linkage is appropriate, and in this negotiation would have been wise."
Tuesday’s vote of 56-42 yielded the same result as last week's, setting the stage for McConnell to file his controversial amendment.