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DC NEWS JUNKIE | Blumenthal Says ‘Yes’ To Iran Nuclear Deal

by | Sep 8, 2015 11:09am
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Posted to: Congress, Foreign Policy, International Trade, Public Safety, White House

Christine Stuart photo

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is no longer on the fence regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. “While this is not the agreement I would have accepted at the negotiating table, it is better than no deal at all,” Blumenthal said Tuesday.

Blumenthal made the announcement in his Hartford office before flying back to Washington where it’s expected there will be a vote on the deal, or possibly a vote to uphold a presidential veto, if a measure in opposition to the deal makes it through the Republican-controlled Congress.

“I am convinced there is no better deal now,” Blumenthal said. “There is no better deal available now, so I am going to work and fight to improve and strengthen this deal.”

Blumenthal was the final member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to announce his support for the deal.

On Tuesday, Blumenthal joined U.S. Sens. Gary Peters, of Michigan, and Ron Wyden, of Oregon, in supporting the deal and giving his party the 41 votes it needs to survive Congressional review. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, announced Tuesday he would vote against the deal. Manchin joins Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, in opposition to the accord.

Blumenthal, who is up for re-election in 2016, was the target of heavy lobbying over the issue from both sides in anticipation of his decision. Former senatorial and gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont sponsored a series of ads and also set up a Facebook page asking residents to “Contact Senator Blumenthal and urge him to vote yes on the Iran nuclear agreement.”

On the other side, Secure America Now, a conservative nonprofit group with a focus on foreign policy, urged residents to “Call Senator Blumenthal now and tell him to stand up for America and strike down this bad deal with Iran.”

Another former senator from Connecticut, Joseph Lieberman, is listed as a member of the boards for at least two of the groups that have purchased airtime in Connecticut to oppose the deal. Lieberman is on the board of the American Security Initiative and he’s also on the advisory board of Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran.

Conservative talk show host Larry Kudlow has said he would run against Blumenthal if the senator backed the deal. Blumenthal did not comment on that possibility at the press conference Tuesday.

The only announced Republican candidate who plans to challenge Blumenthal in 2016 issued a statement calling Connecticut’s senior senator opportunistic.

“Blumenthal lacks all integrity on this issue,” Republican August Wolf, said. “He waited until the last possible moment, counted the votes and decided to opportunistically throw in with the President. A real profile in courage.”

Blumenthal said he spoke with President Barack Obama several times about the deal, but he declined to disclose the details of those conversations. He said he also spoke to the leaders of the opposition to the deal.

Blumenthal also didn’t apologize for the length of time he took to make his decision, which he called the most “consequential” of his career.

He said there are compelling and strong arguments on both sides.

“There are a lot of uncertainties and unknowns,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said the deal can be made better through unilateral American action and collaboration with European allies. Those allies are not coming back to the table, Blumenthal pointed out.

He said if America did not sign onto the deal, its relationships would be fractured and “we would be isolated, rather than Iran.”

He said Iran will enjoy an economic windfall whether Congress accepts the agreement or not “and we should focus on stopping the funds that it will receive when sanctions are lifted from being used for terrorism.”

He said the focus should be stopping incremental funds from being used to foster or support terrorism through “overwhelming sanctions.”

He said his support for the deal doesn’t mean his support for Israel has dwindled. Blumenthal, who is Jewish, said he will continue to be a “steadfast advocate of providing whatever is needed for [Israel’s] defense.”

As far as the structure of the deal with Iran is concerned, “the use of military force has to be on the table. It’s an option that has to be maintained,” Blumenthal said.

He said that’s one of the reasons he supports the deal, because it gives the United States the ability to lead a coalition to enforce the economic sanctions through diplomacy or, “if necessary,” the use of military force.

If the United States were to reject this agreement, it would put itself “outside the alliance we have built,” Blumenthal added.

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(32) Archived Comments

posted by: Noteworthy | September 8, 2015  12:22pm

He posed as “the Thinker” but predictably became a chose to continue his marriage to Obama. The excuses are just lame.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 8, 2015  1:26pm

Richard Blumenthal should hang his head in shame for selling his soul to Barack Obama, and sell-out to Iran.

posted by: art vandelay | September 8, 2015  1:45pm

art vandelay

No surprise here.  I knew it all along.  In essence what happened is that we surrendered this great country to a bunch of 3rd world Muslims who’s ultimate goal is to have a one religion world under Islam.  Obama & the Democrats just hastened the end result.  The mass migration of 3rd world African
Muslims spreading throughout Europe eventually coming to this country won’t help either.  Wake up American Ann Coulter nailed this one right on the head in her book Adios America.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 8, 2015  1:55pm

Richard Blumenthal did a double “double-cross” in selling out his USA and Israeli heritage to the likes of our terrorist-enemy state of Iran. He truly lost his moral compass in being a political bed-mate of Barack Obama. It’s really “sleeping with the enemy.”

posted by: Ctkeith | September 8, 2015  2:22pm

It’s all Larry Kudlows fault. There is no Senator who wouldn’t want to run against that petrified lush.

posted by: oldtimer | September 8, 2015  4:44pm

As predicted by so many here, Blumenthal toes the party line.

posted by: Walt | September 8, 2015  5:36pm

Agree with all but Keith above.

Hope Keith is wrong,  as I will most likely continue my past practice of voting for anyone   who is an opponent of Blumenthal,  no matter his party

Can we entice Joe Lieberman out of retirement?

posted by: Biff Winnetka | September 8, 2015  5:53pm

Rats!  I had rotten tomatoes all ready hoping he’d make his decision before the Newtown Labor Day parade.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 8, 2015  6:13pm

@Walt: Your kidding about Joe Lieberman.  Let sleeping dogs lie.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 8, 2015  6:49pm

Blumenthal hypocrosy: “If the United States were to reject this deal it would put itself
outside the alliance we have built.”

posted by: dano860 | September 8, 2015  7:02pm

It would be interesting to hear, from him, what an “acceptable deal” would have looked like, had he been at the table.
While there are no surprises on his vote I have to wonder why anyone would waste their time and money challenging him in an election? He can mail it in, there isn’t even a need for him to run a single add or send out a mailer.
Blue state = Blumenthal!

posted by: justsayin | September 8, 2015  7:15pm

No surprise, sadly.

posted by: LongJohn47 | September 8, 2015  9:12pm

Chalk one up for the good guys!  The deal will stand and the U.S. will try diplomacy instead of the military option in the Middle East.  How refreshing!

posted by: art vandelay | September 8, 2015  9:59pm

art vandelay

@LongJohn47,
What ever happened to this nations firm foreign policy of never negotiating with terrorists.  Britain certainly learned their lesson at Munich.  This fiasco will come back to bite us big time.

posted by: GBear423 | September 9, 2015  5:19am

GBear423

@Longjohn47- Nobody wants war, that is an absurd democrat talking point that has, like so many others, only created a straw man. The sanctions were working, the Saudis producing a huge over supply of oil driving the costs of oil down was the prime moment to drive home harder restrictions on Iran and Russia.  “Stupidly” this Administration blew a once in a lifetime opportunity. We had those enemies of America on the ropes. Instead of driving them to a surrender table, they ignore the developing situation that was in our favor and continue with this outrageous deal that gives them economic stability and allows them to police their own program. no sir, this is not a win, you need only look at the Senate Minority Leader’s vote to see what was the right position to take on this. Israel is in peril with this vote, and American interests with that.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | September 9, 2015  6:05am

Tough call for all the senators, I’m sure. Bet the fatties were burning in DC in a big way the past few weeks!

Only time will tell about this deal, let’s hope it works. But it is better than no deal, those who are aware all know that.

HST

posted by: Politijoe | September 9, 2015  7:01am

Politijoe

@Longjohn: well said, what the conservatives fail to accept is that sanctions haven’t worked. The Iranian theocracy has continued to sponsor terrorist in the region and they have continued a slow march towards developing a nuclear weapon and the Russians and Chinese were already loosening their sanctions. The sanctions haven’t done what we had hoped and they were slowly beginning to fray…..
A diplomatic deal, like this one is the best route. This deal was made largely outside the theocracy and although not perfect it does provide the world with a little more time to arrive at a peaceful solution. We can always take military action but it should rarely, if ever be our first approach.
The Senator took his time and deliberated the issue, if he made a knee-jerk reaction arriving at the same conclusion most would find fault with that as well. Therefore, what this really suggest is those who oppose this deal simply want another military intervention, after all look how well Iraq turned out.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 9, 2015  10:12am

On top of this sell-out to Iran Richard Blumenthal is continuing his daily political posturing ploy efforts to try to hide the fact that he is a bad Obama-bred- politician who lacks any morally-sound- convictions. If Blumenthal is a friend we need no enemies.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 9, 2015  12:45pm

@DrHunterSRobinson: A bad deal is not better than no deal when you are negotiating with the worst terrorist country in the world. Obama blew it as usual and his Connecticut Democratic congressional robots backed him up 100%.

posted by: art vandelay | September 9, 2015  12:48pm

art vandelay

@Politijoe,  I agree with you in that the sanctions have not worked.  The reason why they failed is that the US was not strong enough to stop the Chinese & Russians from capitulating with the Iranians.  Had Obama utilized tactics JFK used during the Cuban Missile.  The other fact Obama & the Democrats refuse to accept is that Iran is not interested in peace.  Iran has been a tribal warrior nation for centuries.  Iran can care less about living in the 21st Century or adapting western culture.
It’s also about religion.  I’m sorry but Iran’s ultimate goal is to have one world under Islam. To believe otherwise is extremely Pollyannaish.
The US just gave Iran 56 billion dollars to increase terrorism against the US & Israel.  The leaders of Iran just stated that Israel will no longer exist within 25 years, and we want nothing more to do with the United States.  Did Blumenthal and Murphy make the best deal?
Absolutely not. They just gave our country away to a terrorist nation.

posted by: oldtimer | September 9, 2015  4:11pm

People are entitled to their opinions but cannot make up facts… Iran’s economy is in dire straits because the sanctions were working. Had we tightened the screws a bit more instead of relaxing them as we entered into negotiations, we could have come away with a legitimate deal. One where real “anytime” inspections could take place and our hostages returned immediately. Instead, Obama is about to release billions of dollars to the world’s biggest terrorist state. A state whom today announced they will no longer talk with the U.S. and insisted that Israel will cease to exist within the next 25 years.

posted by: sofaman | September 9, 2015  4:28pm

AV said:
“What ever happened to this nations firm foreign policy of never negotiating with terrorists.”

Why don’t you ask ‘yer boy Ronnie? He loved doing deals with terrorist nations including Iran. Oh, that is, when he wasn’t busy tuck’n and runn’n from Beirut. You neo-con’s sure sound funny when ‘yer pointing the finger. Let’s count the days before American Arms Manufacturers have sales reps in Iran? Who’s willing to place a bet? Those left/vs./right arguments are missing the point entirely.

posted by: LongJohn47 | September 9, 2015  6:02pm

Gbear—forcing the “surrender” of Iran is a completely unachievable goal short of military annihilation, requiring the deaths of millions of innocent people.

No set of sanctions, especially without Russia and China (and India and Pakistan and Egypt and Turkey and ...) could have brought Iran to its knees, and these nations (as well as Britain, France, and Germany and the rest of Europe) have reached their limit.

There was no better deal, and in fact the deal that we got was a good one.  Iran is already a “nuclear threshold state”, thanks to the thousands of centrifuges they put in place during the Bush years when an invasion, in fact, seemed a real possibility. 

Now a large part of that capability will be given up, and the toughest inspections ever seen will be in place.  In return they get some of their money back, and commercial trade will be restored.

Will some of that money go to support groups we don’t like?  Certainly.  It’s not a perfect deal, but it’s a whole lot better than bombing the hell out of them.

And that really was the only other option.  Just ask Netanyahu.  He’s still gung ho.

posted by: art vandelay | September 9, 2015  9:47pm

art vandelay

@LongJohn47,
“The deal we got was a good one”? Really!  Why just today the Supreme Iranian Cleric stated within 25 years Israel will no longer exist and “Death to the Great Satin”!  To top those statements he also said Iran will no longer negotiate with the United States.  A good deal when 4 American hostages are still captive?

Every Democrat legislator minus 4 put politics over National Security with their support of this fiasco.

posted by: LongJohn47 | September 9, 2015  10:08pm

Art—every Republican legislator put politics over common sense.

posted by: Ctkeith | September 10, 2015  1:36pm

Christine,

I want to thank you for allowing Art Vanderlay to continue to post here. Reading his posts here brings back fond memories of my youth when I used to watch Slip Mahoney misinterpret everything anyone said to him and then butcher the english language with his responses while watching The Bowery Boys.

Thanks Art,Whether you realize it or not you’re a hoot.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 11, 2015  8:48am

@longJohn47:  Your errant Democratic reverse psychology is flawed by the fact that every Democratic congressman put politics above common sense in certifying the Obama sell-out to Iran.

posted by: SocialButterfly | September 11, 2015  1:15pm

@Ctkeith:  I agree. Heartfelt kudos to Christine and “Art gives a hoot in the right direction.”

posted by: Politijoe | September 11, 2015  9:46pm

Politijoe

@Socialbutterfly: I think you may have missed the poetic nuance in Ctkeith post that referenced Art.

posted by: oldtimer | September 12, 2015  9:03am

This “agreement” with Iran, (it isn’t a treaty because Obama did another end run), is pure lunacy! The Iranian leadership, the very people who negotiated with the U.S., are now calling for… “death to America, the Great Satan!” and are promising that Israel will not exist in 25 years. With the hundreds of millions of dollars Obama is about to release to this terror sponsoring regime, Iran will now buy the weapons they need to deliver the nukes they continue to develop, despite their promise to play nice. They are stepping up their terror sponsorship and military presence and will soon be the greatest force in the Middle East, with Putin’s support. Our one-time allies such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt will now seek their own nukes in hopes of deterring Iran and the nuclear arms race is on. This deal makes sense to only 20% of Americans, which seems to be comprised of all the democrats in Congress and half the commenters on this site. This 20% believe it’s okay for Iran to inspect its own military sites and to be given a 30 day notice before the IAEA can inspect. They’re not concerned that Iran’s supreme leaders outwardly declare they will destroy America and Israel. Yet, these fools believe Iran will abide and that this Faux-Treaty, claiming it promotes peace. I suggest they read about Neville Chamberlain and his Munich Agreement with Hitler. Obama is leading the world down the same path!

posted by: LongJohn47 | September 13, 2015  2:06pm

Oldtimer—let’s stop and think a minute.

“buy the weapons they need to deliver the nukes they continue to develop”?

First, they aren’t going to continue to develop nuclear weapons.  The IAEA will have the most intrusive inspections ever set up, backed up by the CIA, Mossad, MI5, the French DGSE, and the German BND.

Secondly, let’s say the Iranians buy ICBMs from the Russians or Chinese (remote, but possible), or develop a credible program on their own.  Building a launch site, installing the missiles, and testing them could not be concealed. 

Neither could it be protected, either from conventional aircraft or from our our land/sea/air-launched missiles.

In short, there is no possible way that the Iranians will develop a credible capability to deliver nuclear weapons through conventional military equipment, and anyone claiming otherwise is simply out to lunch.

posted by: Politijoe | September 14, 2015  6:35am

Politijoe

@Oldtimer:  It’s interesting you left out one important fact in your many questionable statements. The reality is were now dealing with the potential of a nuclear Iran as a direct result of G.W.‘s invasion of a soverign nation that posed no military threat to the U.S.  A disastrous policy which ultimately forced us to abandon a nation we left in shambles, with over 100,000 lives lost, at a cost of 3 trillion dollars. Most importantly and relavant to this conversation is the invasion of Iraq which upset the balance of power in the Middle East and therefore provided the Iranians the cover they needed while the rest of the world was distracted with Bush’s crusade. Unfortunately, just another of the many circumstances from the failed policies of Bush that will continue to haunt the U.S and the world for generations to come. With that said, I’m really not surprised that you referenced Nazi Germny, because really, what conservative conversation regarding any issue doesn’t eventually circle back to Hitler. Although you disagree, the sanctions were not working, evidenced by the fact Iran was continuing to move closer to becoming a nuclear state. Russia and China were diluting the sanctions further.

Nevertheless, your disagreement with the deal appears to be premised on two things: the first which you have stated on a few occasions is the agreement allows Iran to self-inspect, can you reference where in the agreement this agreed to? Your other opposition to the agreement is that Iran is not our friend and cannot be trusted. The obvious flaw in this argument is that we don’t create agreements like this with our friends. Treaties are designed to be entered into with the most untrustworthy enemies, that’s the point.

Therefore, absent the agreement what’s left? I suspect your answer is another military intervention?