Boehner calls Iran elections 'phony'

Boehner calls Iran elections 'phony'

Former House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE (R-Ohio) was back in Washington Friday to weigh in on the Iranian elections currently underway and urge the Obama administration to speak out in support of the the Iranian people. 

"[Iranians] need to hear the people of the United States stands with them, not with the regime," he said at a speech hosted by the Organization of Iranian Communities. 

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BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE criticized the elections, which have been extended twice to accommodate high turnout, as "a phony attempt to prop up an ailing regime." 

"They're not really elections," he said. "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." 

The elections in Iran are the first since a nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers last year to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. 

The elections will choose a new parliament and Assembly of Experts, a clerical body which appoints the supreme leader.  

According to the BBC, of the 12,000 who registered as candidates, only half were allowed to stand, including just 200 moderates. 

At stake is whether reformist President Hassan Rouhani, who drove through the Iran deal, will be reelected in 2017. The elections may also determine who Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's successor is. 

Boehner said the administration missed an opportunity in the 2009 Iranian presidential elections to stand with the protestors, who were subsequently crushed by the regime. 

"We avoided that opportunity," he said. 

Boehner also blasted the Obama administration for inking a "flawed" deal with Iran that he said the president "rammed through" with little support that "rewards the Iranian regime." 

"It's a regime that will use the windfall of money to threaten neighbors ... and supply militants with weapons intended to kill Americans," he said. 

"I wish I could say my concerns have been eased since leaving office," said Boehner, who retired from Congress late last year. 

Boehner said the deal supplied the regime under Khamenei with "political and financial oxygen." 

"President Obama refused to listen [and] ignored the concerns of the American people," he said. "It's such a bad deal, the Ayatollah won't even have to cheat to be steps away from having a nuclear weapon." 

He also criticized the Obama administration for paying Iran $1.7 billion on the same day Iran released four political prisoners. 

"Real change in Iran cannot be achieved in billion-dollar payments and one-sided deals," he said.

But despite criticism of the deal, Boehner said it's too soon to know whether Iran will violate the deal.  

"We're going to know in the coming months whether there's change," he said.