National Security

McCain: Obama wants deal more than Iran

Greg Nash

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says the Obama administration is desperate for a nuclear deal with Iran and making too many concessions as negotiators scramble to wrap up talks.

“Many concessions have been made, and I guess they are trying to force some more because it’s clear who wants the deal more, and that’s the United States,” he said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Thursday.

McCain gestured with his hands to indicate the U.S. position inching toward Iran’s stance. He also panned the emerging agreement, saying it would only delay Iran’s nuclear program, not eliminate it. McCain added that negotiations haven’t curbed Iran’s influence in the region with Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

{mosads}“A bad deal in my view is worse than no deal at all because with the sanctions lifted, they continue their acts of terrorism,” he said, noting reports claiming that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are directly helping Shiite militias in Iraq.

“The president bases all of this on the delusion that an agreement will cause a partnership between the United States and Iran in the region, meanwhile the Iranians continue their aggression in at least four countries,” he said.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who appeared on the show after McCain, defended the president. Coons said Obama told a group of Democratic senators at the White House this week that he “will not sign a bad deal and he won’t expect us to support a bad deal.”

“President Obama asserted to us that he will not advance a deal that gives sanctions relief up front without any conditions being met by Iran, which doesn’t have a robust inspection regime, and doesn’t prevent or freeze the pathway to a nuclear weapon,” Coons said.

He added that it’s “nonsensical” to suggest that American negotiators would consider relaxing an international arms embargo that’s been in place for almost a decade. And Coons said that while he supports the president and the negotiations, he would not back a deal he didn’t think was strong enough. 

International negotiators blew past a June 30 deadline and are continuing their work. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that negotiators are making progress but refused to set a timetable for a final agreement.

If they reach an agreement by midnight Thursday, Congress will have 30 days to review the deal. If not, Congress would get 60 days for its review. That review period was set in a law passed earlier this year after lawmakers demanded input on any final agreement.

Tags Chris Coons John Kerry John McCain

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