By Julian Pecquet - 06/18/13 03:43 PM EDT
One of the Senate's toughest Iran critics warned Tuesday against lifting the pressure on the regime following this weekend's election of a relative moderate as president.
The remarks from Sen. Mark KirkMark KirkWhite House dismisses GOP senator's likening of Obama to 'drug dealer in chief' The Trail 2016: Focus on the Foundation White House: 0M Iran payment wasn’t ransom MORE (R-Ill.) come as President Obama in an interview Monday night welcomed Hassan Rouhani's election as a sign that voters in Iran have “rebuffed the hardliners and the clerics.” Obama went on to tell PBS's Charlie Rose that “the Iranian people want to move in a different direction” and that he was open to relaunching talks with the country.
Kirk took to Twitter soon after to denounce Rouhani as a candidate “hand picked by the Supreme Leader & Guardian Council.”
“His [record] of deception on the nuclear program is clear,” Kirk tweeted. “With time running out, the Senate should move forward with toughest sanctions possible - rope-a-dope talks not an option.”
Obama made it clear in his interview that he remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Iran says its research is for peaceful purposes.
“Mr. Rouhani, who won the election, I think indicated his interest in shifting how Iran approaches many of these international questions, but I think we understand that under their system the supreme leader will be making a lot of decisions,” Obama said. “And so we're going to have to continue to see how this develops and how this evolves over the next several weeks, months, years.”
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