'This Week' Transcript: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's turn now to another New Jerseyian, Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I do want to get to Iran with you as you -- from your seat on the Foreign Relations Committee. But first, we just heard from Governor Christie on his record. Was it as a commanding a win and as much a validation of his record as he said?

MENENDEZ: Clearly the governor had a big win. I mean, you know, when you win by 20, 21 points, that's a big win in any state.

So, you know, the governor had a big win, and I think that's a testament to his own person within the state as well as the effort that he, you know, put together in terms of different elements of the electorate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about your reaction to the breakdown of the Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva? Secretary Kerry is still optimistic the deal can be reached by the end of the month. Are you?

MENENDEZ: George, it depends on what the deal is. My concern here is that we seem to want the deal almost more than the Iranians. And you can't want the deal more than the Iranians, especially when the Iranians are on the ropes. And it seems to me we're moving more and more away from the global position, the position adopted by the U.N. Security Council, that basically says two things -- cease all enrichment and accept more protocols, which means more invasive inspections (ph) and including to places that we have not had access to in the Iranian -- in the Iranian production system.

So, I am glad to see, from what I read from press accounts, because that's all I know at this point, having not had a chance to be briefed, that the French took a hard position against the Arak, you know, facility, because that is a heavy water nuclear reactor whose only purpose from my perspective, in a country that has already huge oil reserves, is ultimately to create the type of nuclear fuel for nuclear weapons.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But is your position that all enrichment has to stop? Because the Iranians, as you know, there was another tweet from the president today saying that's a red line for them. His tweet says, "There are red lines that cannot be crossed. Our national interests are our red lines, including enrichment and other rights under international law."

MENENDEZ: Well, first of all, that's where we have a fundamental disagreement. There is no right under international law for domestic enrichment. There is a right to a peaceful, civilian nuclear program, undoubtedly. But our neighbors here in the United States, Canada and Mexico, they have nuclear programs, but they don't enrich domestically. So this suggestion that there is this right to enrichment domestically is problematic, as well as that Iran has in the past taught us their path. Rouhani said in his book, that in fact, when he was the nuclear negotiator, he was able to convince the West not to apply sanctions, and yet they moved their nuclear program to a point in which it is now incredibly problematic. So, if past is prologue, we have to be very wide-eyed about what these negotiations are and what we accept.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Kerry has asked Congress to hold off on any new sanctions until these negotiations are completed. Are you willing to do that or are you going to move forward on these sanctions right now?

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