Republicans React to Iran Deal; 'Shame on Obama'

Senator Bob Corker 'deeply skeptical' about deal; Huckabee rebukes Obama admin for 'empowering Iranian regime'.

Ari Soffer , | updated: 17:49

Bob Corker
Bob Corker
Reuters

Leading Republican Party figures have responded to the deal signed Tuesday morning between Iran and world powers - led by the United States - with skepticism.

The first GOP Congressman to issue a full statement on the agreement was Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of the most prominent critics of the Obama administration's conduct during talks, as well as the deal itself as its form began to take shape over the past several months.

In his statement, released Tuesday afternoon, Corker said he would reserve full judgement until after reading the full text of the deal, but said he was deeply pessimistic it would be a good deal for the US and its allies.  

"Throughout these negotiations, I have expressed significant concerns to the administration about the crossing of red line after red line as we have moved from a goal of dismantling Iran’s nuclear capabilities to managing its proliferation," Corker said.

"I want to read the agreement in detail and fully understand it, but I begin from a place of deep skepticism that the deal actually meets the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Noting that the deal was subject to Congressional review - thought President Obama could well choose to veto a vote against it - Corker vowed it would be vigorously scrutinized.

"In the coming days, Congress will need to scrutinize this deal and answer whether implementing the agreement is worth dismantling our painstakingly-constructed sanctions regime that took more than a decade to establish.

"Iran continues to be the lead sponsor of terrorism in the world and relieving sanctions would make the Tehran regime flush with cash and could create a more dangerous threat to the United States and its allies."
 
"Without the passage of our bill, Congress would have had no role in reviewing and voting on an agreement," added Corker, referring to the nuclear review bill he successfully sponsored, which gave Congress 60 days to review any agreement signed by Obama's negotiations team.

"Once the president submits to Congress all of the documents associated with this deal, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will conduct a rigorous review during which time congressional sanctions will remain in place. Whatever actions the House and Senate ultimately take, the American people will have a full and open debate that a national security issue of this magnitude deserves."

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Public Law 114-17), authored by Corker, prevents the president from waiving or suspending congressional sanctions on Iran before Congress has the chance to approve or disapprove of a final agreement.

A statement by Corker's office noted that "Without the law, there would have been no limitation on the president’s use of waivers to suspend the sanctions Congress put in place; no requirement that Congress receive full details of any agreement with Iran; no review period for Congress to examine and weigh in on an agreement; no requirement that the president regularly certify Iran is complying; and no way for Congress to rapidly reimpose sanctions should Iran cheat.

"The review period does not begin until all documents associated with an agreement are submitted to Congress along with assessments on compliance and non-proliferation. Once all documents are received, Congress will have 60 days for the initial review. Twelve additional days are provided if the House and Senate send a joint resolution to the president, and 10 more days are allowed for Congress to override a presidential veto."

Presidential candidates, House Speaker weigh in

Meanwhile GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee issued a more scathing rebuke of the Obama administration.

"Shame on the Obama admin for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to wipe Israel off the map," Huckabee tweeted.

"As president, I will stand with Israel and keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime," he vowed.

Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio also harshly criticized Obama for negotiating "from a position of weakness."

Also responding was Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, who slammed the agreement as a "bad deal," which would empower Iran to up its support of global terrorism.

But, like Corker, he said he would only issue a full response once he had read the entire text of the document signed by the sides.

We’re going to do everything we can to get to the details and if in fact it’s as bad a deal as I think it is at this moment, we’re going to do everything we can to stop it," Boehner said, according to AP.

And Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, released the following statement, warning that the deal meant Iran would "become a nuclear power in our lifetime."

"Nearly two years ago, I cautioned the Obama administration against striking a nuclear deal with Iran that shifts our longstanding policy of prevention to a dangerous policy of containment," he said.

"The final agreement reached today marks a U-turn on economic sanctions that were working to cripple Iran’s economy and force meaningful, permanent concessions from the regime. In fact, this deal all but ensures Iran will become a nuclear power in our lifetime, defeating from the outset the Obama administration’s own long-stated goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.   

"In the coming years, Tehran will receive billions in additional sanctions relief and regain the ability to buy and sell not only conventional weapons, but also ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead - all with explicit support of the U.S government, until now an unthinkable proposition.

"Meanwhile, most nuclear restraints under this deal will soon expire, leaving the mullahs with a revitalized economy and a cleared path to a bomb.

"Perhaps worst of all, this agreement legitimizes and rewards the world’s chief state-sponsor of international terrorism - responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and countless other innocent lives - with reintegration into the international community. Therefore, I plan to not only strongly oppose this deal, but urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to do the same."




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