Criticism by U.S. lawmakers of the Iran nuclear framework deal announced on Thursday is mounting as President Barack Obama faces a possible showdown with Congress over its role reviewing the agreement when it returns from recess on April 14.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) ripped apart the nuclear deal with Iran, arguing that President Obama’s negotiation team was worse than Great Britain’s pre-war Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.
“Neville Chamberlain got a lot of more out of Hitler than Wendy Sherman got out of Iran,” Kirk said in reference to Obama’s top State Department negotiator on the Iran deal, Politico reported.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that a we “must remain clear-eyed” regarding Iran’s intentions and “long history of covert nuclear weapons programs, support of terrorism, destabilizing the Middle East.”
Corker, who is a co-sponsor of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 requiring any final agreement to be submitted to Congress for a 60-day review period before U.S. sanctions on Iran could be waived or lifted, said that he is “confident of a strong vote on the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee takes it up on April 14.”
While Senate Republicans support the Iran review bill, Democrats have been under intense pressure from the White House not to support it. Republicans would need at least a two-thirds majority if they seek to override a potential Obama veto.
The top Democrat on the foreign relations committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said that while Congress has the right to review the agreement, he didn’t want to undermine the president.
“I want it to strengthen the president, not weaken the president, I don’t want it to undermine negotiations,” Cardin said on Thursday, Politico reported.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is leading a congressional delegation to Israel this week, said that the parameters of the deal are an “alarming departure from the White House’s initial goals.”
“After visiting with our partners on the ground in the Middle East this week, my concerns about Iran’s efforts to foment unrest, brutal violence and terror have only grown,” Boehner said in a statement.
“It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region,” he said.