Policy & Strategy

GOP dismisses Iran nuclear negotiations

Senate Republicans said they were unimpressed by the Iranian
nuclear negotiations over the weekend, saying the talks with six world
powers were merely buying more time for Iran to continue enriching uranium.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mocked the negotiations,
which European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator
for six world powers, had called “constructive.”

{mosads}“I think it’s a wonderful turn of events. Now they’re
talking and then they’re going to talk some more,” McCain told reporters
sarcastically Tuesday. “I am exuberant actually that they are going to talk some more.”

McCain said it was tough to see how the talks would
accomplish anything beyond “a stalling tactic on the part of the Iranians.”

McCain ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the Obama administration should drop negotiations with Iran and make demands to stop Tehran’s nuclear program.

“We’ve been negotiating for years with little to show for
it,” Graham told reporters. “We’ve come to a point now we basically need to
give demands to the Iranians saying ‘these are the three things we want you to
do.’ ”

The Obama administration has defended its diplomatic route
with Iran after the talks between Tehran and the P5+1 group — the five
permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany — got under way this weekend.
The two sides agreed to hold a second round of talks in Baghdad next month.

President Obama pushed back against criticism from Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took a similar line as the GOP in calling the
negotiations a “freebie” for Iran.

Obama said at a press conference Sunday that the notion Iran
received a “freebie” was
because Iran has not gotten anything out of the talks, as sanctions
remain in place.

Both McCain and Graham support a bipartisan Senate bill for
new economic sanctions against Iran. The bill quickly passed out of committee
earlier this year but was held up in March by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who objected
to expedited passage of the bill over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) not allowing amendments.

Paul wants to offer an amendment that says nothing in the
measure “is to be construed as a declaration of war or as an authorization of
the use of force in Iran or Syria.”

Reid told reporters Tuesday that he wanted to move quickly
on the Iran sanctions bill, and that his staff was meeting Tuesday with
“interested parties” to try and find a way out of the stalemate. He did not
give a specific timeline, however.

“Each day that goes by without Iran feeling more of our
censorship, I think that’s too bad for the world and helpful to Iran,” Reid
said. “We need to move forward on this as quickly as possible.”

Tags Harry Reid John McCain Lindsey Graham Rand Paul

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