By Julian Pecquet - 11/08/13 02:04 PM EST
Republicans on Friday began slamming President Obama's proposal to loosen sanctions on Iran even as a deal remained elusive.
U.S. and other negotiators are offering to unfreeze Iranian assets if the country agrees to temporarily halt its production of highly enriched uranium for a few months. Secretary of State John Kerry will remain in Geneva at least until Saturday and has canceled visits to Algeria and Morocco in the hope of striking a preliminary deal that could pave the way for a permanent solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.
“Any agreement that does not require the full and complete halting of the Iranian nuclear program is worse than no deal at all,” Cantor said. ”The interim agreement under consideration appears to abandon the repeated and binding demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN Security Council for the full cessation of Iran's nuclear activities. All of Iran's enrichment activities, its heavy water reactor at Arak, and its history of weaponization research are of profound concern and should be addressed.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a top member on the House Oversight Committee, tweeted that reports of U.S. sanctions relief were “not good for the United States of America.”
And Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) tweeted that she agreed with Netanyahu and “unwaveringly stand with Israel. Iran nuclear deal is very bad and U.S. must reverse course.”
In the Senate, Foreign Relations panel member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) called the loosening of sanctions a “colossal blunder.”
“I am deeply troubled that Secretary Kerry would rush to Geneva to enter into a deal with the Iranians, which by all accounts is temporary, incomplete, and a bad deal,” Risch said. “The idea of a temporary deal is a broken record we have listened to before.”
President Obama has called on Congress to delay new sanctions as he prods overtures from President Hassan Rouhani. Republicans have instead vowed to try to stymie any sanctions relief while cracking down even harder on Iran's energy sector.
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