US Republicans expressed skepticism about the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, with House Speaker John Boehner demanding Congress be allowed to review the accord before crippling economic sanctions are lifted.
Several House and Senate members expressed cautious optimism about what President Barack Obama called a “historic understanding” reached between six world powers and Iran, a deal he assured would, if followed, prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
Boehner slammed it as an “alarming departure” from the White House’s initial goals, suggesting the Obama administration caved to Iranian negotiators and allowed certain concessions.
“My immediate concern is the administration signalling it will provide near-term sanctions relief,” Boehner said in a statement.
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“Congress must be allowed to fully review the details of any agreement before any sanctions are lifted.”
According to parameters released by the White House, sanctions on Iran will be suspended “after the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps,” but they could snap back into place if Iran fails to fulfill its commitments.
Senator Mark Kirk, among the most hawkish Republicans on Iran and co-author of legislation that tightens sanctions, minced no words in reacting to the agreement.
“Neville Chamberlain got a better deal from Adolf Hitler,” Kirk sneered, referring to the 1930s British Prime Minister and his disastrous policy of Nazi appeasement.
Obama starkly warned lawmakers that if Congress “kills this deal… then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy.”
Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls challenged the accord’s viability.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush described the agreement as “flawed”, arguing it included “significant concessions to a nation whose leaders call for death to America and the destruction of Israel.”
“Nothing in the deal described by the administration …would justify lifting US and international sanctions,” Bush said.