McKeon calls proposed Iran nuke deal 'foolish'

House Armed Services Committee chief Rep. Buck McKeonHoward (Buck) Philip McKeonRepublican fighter pilot to challenge freshman Dem in key California race Overnight Defense: Pompeo certifies military aid for Saudi coalition in Yemen | Trump authorizes sanctions on election meddlers | Taliban set for new talks with US OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: House passes 5B defense bill MORE (R-Calif.) slammed the White House's efforts to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program, calling the entire effort "foolish." 

"Relieving sanctions without a guarantee that Iran will end its nuclear program is foolish," McKeon said in a statement issued Friday. 

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Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva, prompting reports that a deal to loosen some U.S. economic sanctions if Iran freezes the most advanced aspects of its nuclear program could be near. 

President Obama on Thursday defended the proposal as a “good deal” that could pave the way for a peaceful outcome to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

But McKeon characterized proposed concessions on Iranian sanctions as "a deal that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory," comparing the effort to the Obama administration's postwar planning for Iraq and Afghanistan. 

"They must stop chasing the thrill of a deal at the expense of U.S. national security, and the security of our allies," the California Republican added. 

That said, Kerry warned that a final deal with Iran still faces serious challenges. 

"I want to emphasize there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved. It is important for those to be properly, thoroughly addressed," Kerry said Friday. 

"We hope to try to narrow those differences, but I don’t think anybody should mistake that there are some important gaps that have to be closed."

Pentagon press secretary George Little said on Friday the Defense Department has no plans to reduce the American military presence in the Persian Gulf, as part of a proposed U.S.-Iranian deal. 

Little told reporters at the Pentagon he was unaware of any possible changes to U.S. military posture in the Persian Gulf or Straits of Hormuz. 

That said, "it would be premature" to assume that any potential diplomatic breakthroughs in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear enrichment efforts would lead to any force posture changes in the region, according to Little.