Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday that the Obama administration sounds like it’s getting its talking points on the Iran nuclear negotiations straight from the Iranians themselves.
Menendez made the comment during a hearing on the Iran nuclear talks following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, in which President Barack Obama warned that he would veto any new sanctions bill Congress may put forward.
“The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran,” Menendez said. “And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they are the ones with original sin — an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of 20 years that they are unwilling to come clean on.”
Menendez and Obama reportedly got into a tense exchange over the nuclear talks last week at the Senate Democratic Issues conference, according to the New York Times.
Two anonymous sources who witnessed the exchange told the newspaper that Menendez said he took “personal offense” at the President’s urging lawmakers not to pursue sanctions against Iran for short-term political gain.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.