Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCollins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden Biden steps onto global stage with high-stakes UN speech MORE (R-Ariz.) on Thursday said Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies Kerry: 'We can't get where we need to go' in climate fight if China isn't joining in A new UN climate architecture is emerging focused on need for speed MORE “is delusional” about the Obama administration's bargain with Iran on its nuclear program.
McCain's comments coincided with the announcement from Iran’s supreme leader that sanctions against his country must be lifted the same day a final deal is signed to halt Tehran’s nuclear effort.
“You know, they, in a way, you’ve got to give them a little sympathy in this respect, in that John Kerry must have known what was in it, and yet chose to interpret it in another way. It’s probably in black and white that the Ayatollah is probably right. John Kerry is delusional,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
He predicted, “You’re going to find out that they had never agreed to the things that John Kerry claimed that they had. So in a way, I can’t blame the Ayatollah, because I don’t think they ever agreed to it, and I think John Kerry tried to come back and sell a bill of goods, hoping maybe that the Iranians wouldn’t say much about it.”
The Obama administration announced a framework deal one week ago, but negotiators have given different takes on the pledges made by both sides. If and when sanctions will be lifted is one of the major points in the talks.
McCain’s remarks are likely a preview of what will be a common GOP argument in the looming congressional debate over legislation that would allow Congress to vote on any agreement.
Congressional Republicans are demanding votes on legislation that would allow Congress to approve any deal. It would prevent the White House from waiving sanctions for 60 days during the review and line up potential votes to approve or disapprove of the accord.
The administration has launched an all-out effort to stop the bill, sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.), arguing that it could ruin the nuclear talks.
Corker’s panel is expected to vote on the measure next week, despite protests from liberals who support the White House and believe Corker should postpone the vote.