New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez voiced concern that the Iranian nuclear talks started off on the wrong foot.
The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee also said that the goal of the negotiations should be stopping, not managing, Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"Well, I think we started off with the wrong premise," he told ABC host George Stephanopoulos Sunday. "And the problem here, George, is that we have gone from preventing Iran [from] having a nuclear ability to managing it. And what we are doing is basically rolling back sanctions for — not rolling back Iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure, but rolling back sanctions for verification."
Negotiators from Iran and six other world powers have missed four prior deadlines for a comprehensive long-term agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Reports surfaced Sunday that a provisional deal is expected to be reached to be announced on Monday — the next deadline.
Congress will then have 60 days to review the deal should one be passed — and Menendez said he plans on doing just that.
"I'll judge the agreement based on what it is," Menendez said. "But we have to make very clear that there is a deterrence in the longer term because, if not, in 12, 13 years, we will be exactly back to where we are today, except that Iran will have $100 billion to $150 billion in its pocket and is promoting its terrorism throughout the Middle East."
Menendez, who has been indicted on federal corruptions charges, has been one of the loudest critics of the Obama administration and its efforts to negotiate with Iran.