House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) — who has become the most outspoken opponent of the
deal reached Saturday night between Iran and six world powers— called that deal “dangerous” in a television interview on Monday.
“First of all, since when do we trust Iran? Iran has demonstrated again and again it cannot be trusted. I believe that the attitude should be mistrust and verify,” Cantor said on CBS “This Morning.”
The deal reached on Saturday night — an interim, six-month agreement to provide time for a permanent solution — halts uranium enrichment above 5% and neutralizes Iran’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium. Both will put it well below a level needed for weapons-grade enrichment.
The deal also won’t allow Iran to create any new types of centrifuges, essentially halting enrichment capabilities, and allows for broader access to nuclear sites by inspectors. In return, world powers eased some sanctions on Iran.
That’s Cantor’s main issue with the deal, which he said eases sanctions that took “years and years” to build up and create the kind of effects that brought Iran to the table now.
“I don’t buy into what I believe is a false choice between war and a policy of appeasement. I just don’t. I think that we could, with our influence diplomatically, economically, could continue to build the pressure so we could protect our interest and our allies’ interests,” Cantor said.
“All we have to do is listen to our allies who are most proximate to the threat in the region, Israel, the Gulf, Arab allies that we have, who have been saying all along that any kind of deal with this regime in Iran is not worth the paper it’s written on, that it’s very, very dangerous for us to allow Iran to now have the ability to claim that it has a right to enrich, which is contrary to all the UN Security Council activities of late.”
Cantor’s comments on Monday are more targeted criticism than he displayed over the weekend, in an initial statement that expressed more scepticism to the deal. The White House has found broad bipartisan scepticism on the deal over the past two days.
Here’s the clip:
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