Graham: Obama, ayatollah talking about two different Iran deals

Greg Nash

President Obama and Iran’s supreme leader appear to think they have negotiated different nuclear deals based on their public comments, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday.

Graham, a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said the different public accounts of a framework deal suggest Obama has rushed into a tentative agreement with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

{mosads}“The Ayatollah and President Obama appear to be talking about two separate agreements and unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

“President Obama wants a deal way too badly, and his administration has been trying to sell a deal which may not actually exist,” he added.

Graham argued that Obama’s haste had left the draft accord missing two essential imperatives. The first, he continued, was dictating that sanctions relief did not instantly benefit Iran’s economy.

“The Ayatollah should be told — in no uncertain terms — that should we come to an actual agreement between both parties, sanctions relief will not be immediate,” Graham charged.

“Any realistic agreement must preclude sanctions relief from being granted until Iran proves it has ended its military nuclear program,” he added.

The South Carolina lawmaker said that a final accord must next feature “anytime-anywhere” inspections capable of examining Iranian compliance in the blink of an eye.

“The ‘anytime-anywhere’ inspection should be a given in light of Iran’s history of cheating, and it would be incredibly dangerous not to require Iran to abide by an ‘anytime-anywhere’ inspections regime,” Graham argued.

The Obama administration announced it had sketched an outline deal with Iran on April 2. Obama hailed progress between the two nations as “historic” in remarks delivered the same day.

The draft accord would reduce economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for its compliance with greater nuclear research restrictions. Tehran has vowed it will allow more atomic inspections and cap its centrifuge and uranium stockpiles as part of the talks.

Secretary of State John Kerry led U.S. efforts in talks with Tehran in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month. Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia joined him on America’s side of the bargaining table.

The Obama administration will next negotiate with Khamenei’s Iran over final language for the deal. A definitive version is due June 30.

Tags John Kerry Lindsey Graham

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