- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on Friday defended two amendments he wants to see added to proposed legislation that would allow Congress to review any deal on Iran’s nuclear program brokered by the Obama administration.

Mr. Rubio said he “doesn’t want the bill to go down.”

“It’s not perfect, it’s better than nothing, and it creates a process by which the Senate can review what the president does,” Mr. Rubio said during the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit. “There is a process irrespective of the bill.”

Mr. Rubio, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is pushing for one amendment that would require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

“Why is that important?” he said. “The criticism of that is, well there are a bunch of countries in the Middle East that don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, which is true. But none of them are trying to build a nuclear weapon, and none of them have billions of dollars of sanctions which, if we lift those sanctions, we are turning over billions of dollars to the Iranian regime.”

He also wants an amendment that says whatever deal the president strikes has to mirror a “fact sheet” on terms the administration recently put out.

“I by no means endorse the plan outlined in the fact sheet, but the fact that they are saying it is a poison pill to require the president to sign a deal that reflects what he says the deal is, is in and of itself incredibly worrisome,” Mr. Rubio said.

Critics warn that such amendments could deal a setback to sensitive negotiations surrounding the legislation being shepherded by Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat and the committee’s ranking member.

“I would argue that a bad deal almost guarantees war because Israel is not going to abide by any deal that they believe puts them and their existence in danger,” Mr. Rubio said. “They’re not. And neither are the Sunni Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, who have already been very clear: Whatever Iran gets, we’re going to get.”

“And so again, it’s a complex issue, but it’s an incredibly dangerous one at a critical moment that I think could determine what the next 50 years on this earth looks like in many ways,” he said.

Mr. Rubio also predicted Iran would violate the terms of any brokered deal.

“Here’s the truth: Iran is going to exploit any loophole in the deal they can find,” he said.

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