Republicans wary of Iran nuclear deal

Republicans reacted to a global diplomatic deal to slow Iran’s nuclear progress with skepticism Saturday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) contended shortly after the deal was announced that it fell short, since it did not require the dismantling of any existing Iranian nuclear facilities.

“Unless the agreement requires dismantling of the Iranian centrifuges, we really haven’t gained anything,” he tweeted.

ADVERTISEMENT
And Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s minority whip, dismissed the deal as an attempt by the administration to distract the public from the botched rollout of the healthcare reform law.

 “Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care,” the Senate minority whip tweeted shortly after the deal was announced.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who has been pushing hard on Congress to implement additional sanctions on Iran, said that he also wanted to reach a diplomatic solution to halting Iran’s nuclear program but that the current deal missed the mark.

“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 in a statement.

He called on the Senate to enact further sanctions on Iran if that nation undermines the new agreement or if its nuclear program is not in the process of dissolution in six months.

But other GOP lawmakers adopted a “wait and see” approach and did not immediately denounce the deal.

“Just heard President Obama describe nuclear deal with Iran. Look forward to studying details,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tweeted.

The White House, along with international diplomats, announced a six-month agreement between the global community and Iran to prevent that nation from pursuing a nuclear weapon. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to certain restrictions and heightened oversight of its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from global economic sanctions.

President Obama hailed the development, which came after hours of intense negotiations in Geneva among top diplomats. In late Saturday evening remarks, Obama said the diplomacy “opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure.”

And Secretary of State John Kerry was less than surprised to see Republicans criticize the administration on the agreement.

“Gee, you mean the members of the other party are criticizing the president? I can't imagine that,” he deadpanned to reporters, adding that he planned to further explain the deal to lawmakers.