McCain calls Kerry 'delusional' on Iran deal

Francis Rivera

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain files B amendment to boost defense spending Senators push to authorize 4,000 more visas for Afghans Senate panel passes 4.5B defense bill MORE (R-Ariz.) on Thursday said Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryGOP senator calls for China to crack down on illegal opioid Obamas to live in home of former Clinton press secretary: report Even in defeat, Trump could harm the country irreparably MORE “is delusional” about the Obama administration's bargain with Iran on its nuclear program.

McCain's comments coincided with the announcement from Iran’s supreme leader that sanctions against his country must be lifted the same day a final deal is signed to halt Tehran’s nuclear effort.

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“You know, they, in a way, you’ve got to give them a little sympathy in this respect, in that John Kerry must have known what was in it, and yet chose to interpret it in another way. It’s probably in black and white that the Ayatollah is probably right. John Kerry is delusional,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

He predicted, “You’re going to find out that they had never agreed to the things that John Kerry claimed that they had. So in a way, I can’t blame the Ayatollah, because I don’t think they ever agreed to it, and I think John Kerry tried to come back and sell a bill of goods, hoping maybe that the Iranians wouldn’t say much about it.”

The Obama administration announced a framework deal one week ago, but negotiators have given different takes on the pledges made by both sides. If and when sanctions will be lifted is one of the major points in the talks.

McCain’s remarks are likely a preview of what will be a common GOP argument in the looming congressional debate over legislation that would allow Congress to vote on any agreement.

Congressional Republicans are demanding votes on legislation that would allow Congress to approve any deal. It would prevent the White House from waiving sanctions for 60 days during the review and line up potential votes to approve or disapprove of the accord.

The administration has launched an all-out effort to stop the bill, sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerBob CorkerSenate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill Business groups push White House, Congress to improve US-India relationship The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity MORE (R-Tenn.), arguing that it could ruin the nuclear talks.

Corker’s panel is expected to vote on the measure next week, despite protests from liberals who support the White House and believe Corker should postpone the vote.