Sen. Mark S. Kirk said in a jarring video circulated late Friday that President Barack Obama’s Iran policy is leading to nuclear war.
The video, posted on Youtube and available through the Illinois Republican’s official website, features a background of a “60 Minutes”-style ticking clock and highlights news reports about the state of the negotiations between the international community and Iran on nuclear programs.
“The administration policy is the quickest policy that leads to war, nuclear war. That is a horrible fate to condemn American children to witness,” Kirk said in the video.
It was circulated on Twitter not long after negotiators announced an extension of the Iran talks that will push the issue past November’s mid-term election.
Kirk said in the video that the sanctions were designed to make sure that passage of time worked against Iranian nuclear development. Kirk had previously drafted bipartisan sanctions legislation with Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
“As time runs out … we need to block Iran’s path to a bomb,” the video says.
Senior senators were briefed about the Iran talks Thursday afternoon, one day ahead of the formal announcements by Secretary of State John Kerry and others that the talks would be extended until Nov. 24.
“As a result, we have decided – along with the EU, our P5+1 partners, and Iran – to extend the Joint Plan of Action until November 24, exactly one year since we finalized the first step agreement in Geneva. This will give us a short amount of additional time to continue working to conclude a comprehensive agreement, which we believe is warranted by the progress we’ve made and the path forward we can envision,” Kerry said in a detailed statement.
The State Department says that Kerry is scheduled to appear on five Sunday morning talk shows, where it would be no surprise to see the video of Kirk’s comments make an appearance.
Other lawmakers weighed in with statements Friday evening, including Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who said in part “I urge the administration to make it clear there will be no more extensions, which would only further diminish our leverage.”
Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein backed the extension of time, citing “momentum toward an agreement.”
“The P5+1 negotiations with Iran represent our best chance to peacefully ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and I very much hope they are successful. Over the past 6 months, Iran has complied with the terms of the interim agreement and the U.S.-led sanctions regime has kept the economic pressure on Iran,” the California Democrat said. “While significant progress has been made, it is clear more time is needed to reach a final agreement. I strongly support an extension of these talks because a diplomatic agreement is far better than any alternative.”
Niels Lesniewski has covered the Senate for CQ Roll Call since January 2010, and more recently as a staff writer and resident procedure guru for Roll Call. Niels holds degrees in both government and theater but sometimes can't tell the difference between the two. @nielslesniewski
Humberto Sanchez covers the Senate for Roll Call. Prior to joining, he covered the budget and appropriations process for Congress Daily/NJ Daily for three years.@hsanchez128