WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, has announced he will reject President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, dealing a significant blow to White House efforts.
In the "Congress should reject the bad Iran deal" opinion article published in The Washington Post, he states that "Congress should reject this deal and send it back to the president."
"Now that the Obama administration has reached what it believes to be an acceptable agreement, it is Congress' responsibility to determine whether this agreement will be in our national interest, will make the United States safer and will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program," Corker writes. "I do not believe that it will."
Corker is seen as one of the Obama administration's closest Republican allies on foreign affairs. He called for patience for continued negotiations when the deadline on the nuclear agreement kept being delayed, according to CBS News.
"Rather than end Iran's nuclear enrichment program, over time this deal industrializes the program of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Corker writes.
According to Corker, the deal strengthens Iran "with hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, removes the conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology embargoes on Iran and allows for a U.S.-approved, industrial-scale enrichment program for which Iran has zero practical need."
The nuclear agreement "leaves the United States vulnerable to a resurgent Iran wealthier and more able to work its will in the Middle East," according to Corker.
Obama would disagree. The president began his campaign to gain support for the nuclear deal earlier this month to stop Congress from blocking what the White House considers "the most consequential foreign policy debate since the decision to go to war in Iraq."
"If Congress kills this deal, we will lose more than just constraints on Iran's nuclear program or the sanctions we have painstakingly built," Obama previously said at a speech at American University in Washington D.C. "We will have lost something more precious: America's credibility as a leader of diplomacy. America's credibility as the anchor of the international system."