Ben Cardin, the Maryland senator and top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said last week he's "not too concerned" about what Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says about the possible agreement with the West to limit Iran's nuclear program.
Speaking with WMAL on the radio last week, Cardin said comments Khamenei made which seem undermine the perimeters to which the negotiating powers agreed were purely "for local consumption."
"It's not what the Supreme Leader says, it's what in the agreement and how the agreements are enforced and the verification inspection regimes," Cardin said. "That's gonna be the critical factor."
Cardin said a deal would have enforcement and verification with consequences if they violated the agreement. Last week Khamenei, in one of several statements that seem to undermine the agreement, said sanctions need to be lifted before Iran dismantles any of its nuclear infrastructure and said there would be no freeze in Iran's enrichment of uranium.
"We do not expect the Iranians for local consumption to — they say things, we're not too concerned about what they say," said Cardin. "We're concerned about what the agreements say and how they're going to be enforced and how we're gonna have the inspect and verification regime that will be documented in writing and confirmed by actions we believe, including a U.N. resolution."
"So it will be pretty clear what the responsibilities of Iran will be and the consequences if they violate those commitments, not what the Supreme Leader says."
Cardin said earlier, "at the end of the day" for there to be a deal it would have to be clear Iran was giving up its desire to become a nuclear weapons state.
"I think it's pretty clear the perimeters in which we're negotiating. At the end of the day we need to know that Iran is giving up its nuclear ambition to become a nuclear weapons state. We won't trust whatever they say, so the agreement has to provide ample time and ample opportunities for us to inspect and verify so that if they are not complying with an agreement we can take steps to prevent them from becoming a nuclear weapons state. That's how it's going to be judged."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.