Eric Cantor: Interim deal on Iranian nuclear program "dangerous," Tehran "can't be trusted"

(CBS News) Members of Congress from both parties say they are considering new sanctions against Iran, even with the interim agreement by international negotiators on Iran's nuclear program. Under the deal brokered in part via secret U.S.-Iran talks, Iran agreed to halt progress on key elements of its nuclear program in exchange for modest relief from some economic sanctions. Officials involved in the deal say it is only a short-term measure designed to bridge the gap until a larger agreement can be worked out that would with certainty halt Iran's nuclear weapon-making capabilities.

Despite its temporary nature, many like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have criticized the agreement. Cantor is the man responsible for bringing any additional sanctions to a vote in the House.

On “CBS This Morning,” Cantor told the co-hosts that he feels this interim agreement with Iran, which provides for more inspection and delayed production, is “in fact, dangerous.”

“It is a deal which brings Iran closer to becoming a nuclear power,” said Cantor. “This deal that’s been negotiated by the Secretary of State frankly falls short of the U.N. Security Council resolution, which called for no sanctions relief until Iran suspended it’s enrichment of uranium, and we see in this deal language, despite protests to the contrary, language which says Iran will have some type of right to enrich, as of yet in the language of the deal still to be defined.”

Cantor said that he feels this agreement is “contrary” to what many of his colleagues have been working towards and they feel that the U.S. “should not pursue a policy of containment with Iran,” but should instead insist that Iran “can’t be trusted.”

“We want that power in that country to dismantle, irreversibly dismantle, it’s nuclear stock piles and not be allowed to continue enrichment,” he said. “I feel that this deal falls short on all those fronts and I think it bodes very, very ominously for the region and in fact, U.S. security”

When asked if the ability to have daily inspections of nuclear facilities and a freeze of Iran’s enrichment programs is at all positive, the Congressman said that the U.S. still needs to be weary of trusting Iran.

“Iran has demonstrated again and again it cannot be trusted. I believe that the attitude should be mistrust and verify and what this agreement does is it just allows Iran to continue with all that it has … it doesn’t require any dismantling,” said Cantor. “It allows for the enrichment up to five percent, which used to be something that we wouldn’t stand for. Iran could once again turn around tomorrow and throw away this.”  

Cantor also told “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose that he doesn’t believe in what he calls, a “false choice” between “war or a policy of appeasement.”

“I think that we could, with our influence - diplomatically, economically - could continue to build the pressure so we could continue to protect our interest and our allies’ interest,” he said. “All we have to do is listen to our allies who are most proximate to the threat in the region - Israel, the Gulf – Arab allies that we have, who have been saying all along that any kind of deal with this regime and Iran is not worth the paper it’s written on. That it is very, very dangerous for us to allow Iran to now have the ability to claim it has any right to enrich, which is contrary to all the U.N. Security Council activities of late.”

  • Shoshana Davis

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