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Rubio: Iran’s ‘Ultimate Goal’ Is To Achieve Relief From Sanctions While Keeping Option Of Developing Nuke

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File photo of Sen. Marco Rubio. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

File photo of Sen. Marco Rubio. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is telling a London audience that he fears an international agreement with Iran will let that nation keep pursuing nuclear weapons.

The first-term Republican said he’s skeptical about the pact that President Barack Obama supports. Rubio said Iran wants partial relief from economic sanctions without surrendering its ability to enrich uranium, an important step toward creating nuclear weapons.

“I am convinced that Iran’s ultimate goal for these negotiations has been to achieve relief from the pressure of international sanctions, while retaining the option of developing a nuclear weapon,” Rubio said. “This model has been used by others in the past, such as North Korea, to successfully exploit talks to create the time and space to go nuclear.”

Israel strongly opposes the agreement. Iran has agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear program for six months in return for partial relief from damaging economic sanctions.

“It is vitally important that we work together to alleviate the concerns of our partners in the region, many of whom remain unconvinced that we should trust the commitments of a regime that sponsors terrorism, represses its people, and aims its verbal and political firepower at Israel, America and Europe,” Rubio stated.

Numerous U.S. lawmakers want tougher sanctions against Iran, including Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez.

Rubio is a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate. His Senate office provided a live online stream of his remarks Tuesday at a London policy institute.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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