Senator from oil-rich state of North Dakota worries Iranian nuclear deal does little for U.S. national security File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Iran stands to get a $100 billion economic lift in the form of sanctions relief, a senator from the oil-rich state of North Dakota said.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate handed President Barack Obama a victory by blocking a Republican measure to shoot down the July nuclear agreement reached between Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said he had reservations about a deal he said would lift sanctions but fall short of putting a complete halt to Iran's nuclear research program.
"Based on Iran's track record, it is very likely that they will cheat on the agreement after receiving more than $100 billion to strengthen their economy and military," he said in a statement. "But ironically, even without cheating, this agreement gives Iran the ability to achieve its nuclear ambitions."
Hoeven, whose state is the No. 2 oil producer in the United States, is among the Republican leaders pressing for an end to a 1970s ban on U.S. crude oil exports. With North Dakota's shale oil behind much of the U.S. production momentum, supporters of lifting the ban say U.S. oil could be used as a strategic tool overseas.
By a voice vote, the Republican-led House Subcommittee on Energy and Power advanced legislation that would lift the ban on crude oil exports.
In a letter of support for the bill, the National Foreign Trade Council said U.S. crude oil exports would have "constructive strategic consequences" for national security. George Baker, executive director of the Producers for American Crude Oil Exports, said U.S. crude oil could be a "stable alternative to Iranian crude oil."
President Obama countered, however, that moving forward with what his administration considers to be a diplomatic victory that in turn protects U.S. national security interests.
"Going forward, we will turn to the critical work of implementing and verifying this deal so that Iran cannot pursue a nuclear weapon, while pursuing a foreign policy that leaves our country - and the world - a safer place," he said.