Former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., on Sunday criticized the White House's proposed nuclear deal with Iran, saying that the administration's negotiators had give away too much and that would create further problems in the Middle East.
"We don't want to be sending signals into this region that we are acquiescing to the situation where Iran might become more dominant," Webb, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of the U.S. Navy, said in an appearance on the CNN program "State Of The Union."
He added later in the program, "The end result of this could be the acquiesce on Iran building a nuclear weapon. We don't want that."
The comments mark Webb, who said he is "looking hard" at running for the White House, as the most explicit critic of the White House's foreign policy among the potential candidates. It puts him to the right of the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.
Clinton issued a statement earlier this month that indicated she backed the deal, though her comments fell short of a clear endorsement. Instead she called the deal "an important step" that "would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and strengthen the security of the United States, Israel, and the region." She added though that "the devil is always in the details" and final details weren't expected until June.
Webb disputed the idea that the deal represented any kind of step forward, noting it was still unclear what was actually in it. "We know our interpretation of the deal. We have seen Iran has its own interpretation," he said.
He added that the deal wouldn't be truly be binding in international law unless it was given full approval by Congress. That is a sticky issue for the White House, which has disputed that the deal is a treaty — Secretary of State John Kerry called it a "plan that will have in it a capacity for enforcement" at a Senate hearing last month — and therefore would not require the full advice and consent of the Senate.
A bipartisan deal worked out by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would give the Congress the opportunity to oppose the deal but allow the president to veto the disapproval, meaning Congress would then have to override the veto to stop the plan.
Webb said that wasn't good enough. "I do not believe that you can have a legally biding international commitment without the full consent of Congress, not the oversight they are offering in this bill," he said, adding that this was "vitally important."
He was sympathetic to his former Senate colleague Corker, calling it an "accomplishment" that he was able to get the White House to agree to even a limited role for Congress. Nevertheless, he urged lawmakers to "really scrub" the deal and look at the particulars of it.