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“This isn’t time to damage US relationship with Russia” - congresswoman

US Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky believes ratification of the START deal with Russia is necessary, given the current security challenges the US is facing.

“I am very concerned about the threat that is always directly connected with a failure to sign the START treaty, and that is Iran and the threat of the nuclear capacity of Iran,” Schakowsky told RT in an exclusive interview.

“Russia agreed with the United States and the rest of the international community that Iran is a threat, and went along with the sanctions against Iran. This is not the time for the United States to degrade our relationship with Russia over a treaty that does deal with nuclear arms and nuclear disarmament. We certainly don’t want to damage our relationship. Of course we’ve had secretaries of state of other, Democratic and Republican administrations, pointing out how incredibly important this treaty is, how we have to move together along with Russia and this nuclear disarmament agreement,” she maintains.

Congresswoman Schakowsky said she was worried about how the ongoing fight between the Republicans and the Democrats threatens the issue of START ratification.

“[Republican Senator] Mitch McConnell said that his goal was to defeat Barack Obama. My concern is that that goal, that aim is bleeding over into both domestic and foreign policy. But this is something that should transcend the issue, any of the political issues. This is so important,” Schakowsky continued.

“The world is getting smaller. The United States absolutely needs to be part of an international community that looks for areas of agreement that work hard to bring those alliances as broadly as possible together. We still have our troops around the world. Wars continue. We can’t afford to burn any bridges,” she said.