A senior House Republican suggested this week that President Obama is only interested in keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon during his presidency and that his pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran is only about legacy.
Right-wing radio host Frank Gaffney hosted Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) — the House Republican Chief Deputy Whip — on Monday and wondered whether he agreed that the motive of the current negotiations has “moved from the punitve purpose of keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons to just keeping them from getting nuclear weapons in the duration of the Obama presidency.”
“That’s a strong claim and it sure seems to look that way,” Roskam said, claiming earlier in the interview that “the administration is really on a fool’s errand pursuing this in what I think is really a desperate desire to have a legacy.”
Despite the fact the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog has said Iran is complying with the interim deal reached last November that has rolled back its program and eliminated is medium enriched uranium stockpile, Roskam said “there is nothing that is happening that is really slowing the Iranians down.”
“You know, I know and your listeners know that there is no such thing as a peaceful nuclear Iranian ambition,” he said.
House Republicans used the recent National Defense Authorization Act mark-up process to muddle the Iran negotiation process. The House Armed Services Committee passed a non-binding amendment expressing a “sense of Congress” that sanctions can only be lifted if Iran ends all uranium enrichment, even for civilian purposes — a position experts have said is “unrealistic.”
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resumed this week in Vienna in an effort to draft language for a final agreement, and while officials have expressed optimism, U.S. officials are cautioning that serious obstacles remain and that optimism has gotten “way out of control.”