Congressional Republicans slam Iran deal
November 24th, 2013
02:12 AM ET
9 years ago

Congressional Republicans slam Iran deal

Updated 10:47 a.m. ET, 11/24/14

Washington (CNN) - Republicans blasted the Obama administration Saturday night after President Barack Obama announced a historic agreement had been reached by Iran and six world powers over Tehran's nuclear program.

In tweets and official statements, House and Senate Republicans argued that the administration was appeasing a duplicitous enemy without securing enough concessions in return.

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"Unless the agreement requires dismantling of the Iranian centrifuges, we really haven't gained anything," tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

"By allowing the Iranian regime to retain a sizable nuclear infrastructure, this agreement makes a nuclear Iran more likely," said Sen. Marco Rubio, the freshman Florida Republican and potential presidential candidate in 2016. "This agreement shows other rogue states that wish to go nuclear that you can obfuscate, cheat, and lie for a decade, and eventually the United States will tire and drop key demands."

"Iran will likely use this agreement - and any that follows that does not require any real concessions - to obtain a nuclear weapons capability," he warned.

Some even suggested that the deal was orchestrated by the White House to divert attention from the ongoing debacle over, the Obamacare exchange site whose disastrous rollout has tanked the president's approval ratings.

"Amazing what WH (the White House) will do to distract attention from O-care (Obamacare)," tweeted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

The shots came from the other side of Capitol Hill as well. Rep. Buck McKeon, a Republican from California, is the chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

"Iran hasn't given the world reason to be anything but deeply skeptical of any agreement that leaves their capacity to build nuclear weapons intact," he said in a statement.

"The President sees wisdom in placing trust, however limited, in a regime that has repeatedly violated international norms and put America's security at risk. Apparently, America has not learned its lesson from 1994 when North Korea fooled the world. I am skeptical that this agreement will end differently."

At least one Republican was a bit conciliatory. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois is a moderate Republican who has been pushing for more sanctions on Iran.

Still, he noted implicitly that he would accept the deal, only continuing to work towards tough new economic sanctions "if Iran undermines this interim accord or if the dismantlement of Iran's nuclear infrastructure is not underway by the end of this six-month period." The "if" is key here.

Acceptance is not agreement, however, and Kirk made clear his distaste for the deal.

"This deal appears to provide the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism with billions of dollars in exchange for cosmetic concessions that neither fully freeze nor significantly roll back its nuclear infrastructure," he said.

House Speaker John Boehner was also more measured in his statement, which was released Sunday morning.

“The interim deal has been and will continue to be met with healthy skepticism and hard questions, not just of the Iranians, but of ourselves and our allies involved in the negotiations," he said. "Iran has a history of obfuscation that demands verification of its activities and places the burden on the regime to prove it is upholding its obligations in good faith while a final deal is pursued."

At least one Congressional Democrat did come to the president's aid late Saturday night: Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington and the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

"The deal announced today is a positive step in the right direction, and I applaud the Administration for making progress on this impotent national security issue," he said. "This interim agreement gives us the chance to make significant progress towards the goal we and our allies seek: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

More responses are sure to come as Washington awakes and new details of the accord are revealed Sunday morning.

Filed under: Congress • Iran • Republican
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. The REAL TRUTH...

    Watching Congressional Republicans congratulate Obama is so refreshing.. oh wait.. they've done nothing but complain about him and block, obstruct and filibuster for the last 5 yrs..... which must mean he's doing something good for the country.

    November 25, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. Jules

    Wow – there's a shocker. What is it the GOP wants? No deal and let Iran go right on building toward nuclear weapons – is that what they want? Are they waiting for Israel to bomb Iran knowing that we will have to go to war with our allies? I wouldn't trust the GOP in Congress to even know what the heck is going on anywhere in the world. They have just been so negative for so long their responses are a matter of habit. They don't think that this at least agreement tones things down a bit while they keep talking. The GOP is made up of people not capable of making this kind of decision. We would already be in war in Libya, Syria and Iran the way the GOP has been talking about our presidents ability to handle international crisis. Thank God, a man who looks at all sides of the question is in the White House and not a lunatic with a knee jerk reaction.

    November 25, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Tom1940

    Sect'y of State Kerry is perhaps the least qualified to represent the "best" interests of the United States and it's Allies. Why? History shows that J. Kerry is one who will make a deal. Not the best deal. Not the deal that keeps America Safe, nor one that reflects American Ideals. It will prove to be as the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu has stated. A mistake, that gives the Iranians 6-months to build a bomb. Nothing more. Nothing less. Should Israel choose to terminate those efforts through military action, those actions would be universally opposed and Israel would be an outcast in a world in which it has few friends. Sect'y of State Kerry has insulated the Iranians from that action.
    In the process the world is a much more dangerous place and look forward to a middle east nuclear arms race of huge proportion.

    November 25, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. JasonP162

    Notice ho the article left out Dem outcry of this action? "Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, fumed that the “P5+1” group of world powers, including the United States, let Iran off the hook by agreeing to ease sanctions in exchange for a six-month pause in its nuke program."

    November 25, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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