Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced his opposition to the Iran deal on Tuesday becoming the fourth Democratic senator to pledge to vote to disapprove the agreement. In his statement, he said that he “could not ignore the fact that Iran, the country that will benefit most from sanctions being lifted, refuses to change its 36-year history of sponsoring terrorism.” He criticized the final deal for not addressing Iran's support for terrorism, writing, “Asking us to set aside the terrorist question is irresponsible and misses the point.”
Furthermore, Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) announced her opposition to the deal on Monday. She explained in her statement that “[s]tripped of its technicalities, this deal essentially rewards—in fact, enables— a terrorist regime without extracting sufficient concessions.” She continued, “The release of sanctions without requiring a stop to terrorist activities is disturbingly counterproductive.”
Despite the bipartisan majority in Congress who oppose the deal, the minority leadership in the Senate seeks to filibuster the resolution of disapproval. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that senators who support the Iran deal “should take the necessary steps in Congress to prevent Congress from undermining the agreement.” Roll Call reported last week that the White House “badly” wants a filibuster to prevent the president from having to use his veto. This move has been broadly criticized. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) said that Congress should be permitted to have a voice, telling CNN that “it would be really regrettable if we didn't ultimately go to the floor and cast our votes for or against this deal.” Both Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) oppose a filibuster. Sen. McConnell on Thursday declared, "I expect that every senator who voted for [the Iran Nuclear Review Act] is now entitled to an up-or-down vote. Not a filibuster or artificial limits on passage, but an important vote on this resolution.” He continued, “The Senate should not hide behind procedural obfuscation to shield the president or our individual views.”
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn, who served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, said in an interview published on the website Medium that the deal could lead to the attempted elimination of Israel, a “large regional war” between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a future in which Iran “can become even more hardline and crush all efforts at democracy and freedom. There is no longer a penalty for their harsh behavior towards their citizens.”
Flynn stated that Arab allies told him that they “feel abandoned by the U.S.” and have lost their trust in the government. Flynn expressed concern that these states would seek to develop their own nuclear programs, and, if Iran develops a nuclear weapon, take similar steps towards weaponization.
When asked what Iran’s negotiating partners achieved by striking the deal, Flynn explained that the U.S. achieved very few positives:
Let’s start with Europe. Europe, Russia, and China get three big things: 1. A new market of 80 million people to buy their goods; 2. Cheap oil; and 3. An educated work force to open companies within Iran.
The U.S. gets nothing but grief. We did not get an apology for the 500 KIA and thousands of wounded military members in the Iraq war struck with Iranian explosively-formed penetrator IEDs. No apology for the hundreds of Marines killed in Beirut in the 1980s. None of the four current American hostages were released. No apology for the Americans killed in the Khobar tower terrorist attack. We did get a requirement to expand our security umbrella in the region for life. China will take the economic benefits and we will be stuck securing the region for the Chinese and Russians while the UN (IAEA) tries to monitor the Iranian nuclear advances that have historically failed.
Russia was the chief non-Iranian beneficiary of the deal, “knowing that they can also sell to the Iranian antagonists in the region and make double the money on arms and nuclear technology.” Flynn also predicted that Iran Iran would its economic windfall, achieved through sanctions relief and increased commerce, to finance its military, its terrorist proxies, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the IRGC’s “narcotics cartel that stretches from Colombia and Venezuela to Afghanistan.”