Kirk: Keep trying for vote to block Iran deal
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said Thursday his fellow Republicans should keep pushing Democrats to change their minds on the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal after Democrats blocked an effort to upend the deal.
Kirk, of Highland Park, said Democrats' procedural move to avoid a full vote Thursday wasn't a "reasonable position." He said Republicans will work with Democrats like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer "who see it our way."
"I think over time, they will realize that the decision to not take a vote on the number one foreign policy issue facing the country is not a reasonable position," Kirk said.
Kirk has been a longtime critic of Obama's talks with Iran, arguing the country sponsors terrorists and a rollback of $100 billion in sanctions would foster more of the same. In an interview before Thursday's Senate action, Kirk pointed to comments this week from Iran leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Israel wouldn't exist in 25 years.
"The lessons of history are that dictators often tell us exactly what they're going to do and then go ahead and do it," Kirk said.
"Israel is so small, it only takes a couple of nuclear weapons to erase the whole country. We've got to make sure that the state of Israel, who is the best friend of the United States in the Middle East, survives the 21st century."
Democrats led by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin gathered enough support to block a Senate vote Thursday and move closer to keeping the Iran deal intact. In his role as the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Durbin has said the deal addresses Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon directly and will help prevent it.
"We brought Iran to the negotiating table," Durbin said in a statement. "We sat down with our key allies around the world and we worked out an agreement to stop them from developing nuclear weapons.
Local federal lawmakers have split along party lines on the deal, with Democrats Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster, Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky supporting it and Republicans Bob Dold, Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam opposing it.
Kirk has fought for his proposal to extend existing sanctions on Iran by 10 years and said Thursday it could happen if a Republican president is elected next year.
"I think if the Republicans win the White House, we will see a new round of sanctions that are not only passed by Congress but probably imposed by the president," he said