'Snowball's chance in hell' Congress will approve Iran deal, Graham says

Republican presidential hopeful says Obama's deal is deteriorating before our eyes.

April 19, 2015 19:32
2 minute read.
US Senator Lindsey Graham

US Senator Lindsey Graham . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Republican presidential hopeful Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) said on Sunday that the framework nuclear deal has no chance of surviving approval of the US Congress.

“I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell this framework will get approved by Congress after review,” The Hill reported Graham telling host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

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“It is so weak in a time we need to be strong,” the senator said of the draft agreement’s details.

“I don’t think any Republican or Democrat is going to allow that to become final,” he added.

Graham said US President Barack Obama’s potential accord lacked the necessary safeguards for preventing a Tehran with nuclear arms.

Graham said the agreement lacked “anytime, anywhere” atomic inspections and more restrictions on Iran’s nuclear reactors, the necessary safeguards for preventing a Tehran with nuclear arms, The Hill reported.

“At the end of the day, you can’t lift sanctions until the behavior of Iran changes,” he added.

The South Carolina lawmaker additionally charged that the deal’s many flaws were proof Obama’s diplomatic strategy was lacking.

The senator attacked said the deal's flaws showed that Obama’s diplomatic strategy was lacking.

“President Obama’s deal is deteriorating before our eyes,” he charged.

Graham said that 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the other Republican party White House hopefuls were not any more prepared for handling the situation, The Hill reported.

“I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy,” Graham added, saying his chance of entering the next presidential race is at “91 percent.”

Obama said on Friday he does not see proposed legislation in Congress derailing negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, calling the bill allowing Congress to review any deal a "reasonable compromise" that he planned to sign.

In a news conference at the White House, Obama said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker and the panel's top Democrat, Ben Cardin, have offered assurances that they would protect the bill from "poison pill" amendments that would be tilted toward trying to kill any deal with Iran.

The compromise bill that emerged from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, grants Congress the ability to review any agreement with Iran in its entirety.

Congress then has the ability to vote to approve or disapprove of the deal, but is not required to do so. Senate leadership could choose not to hold a vote for a resolution of approval.

A resolution of disapproval would only become binding after a second vote overriding a presidential veto with a two-thirds majority. 

The framework nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers earlier this month, framed the parameters of a larger, more technical agreement due by June 30. Under the terms of the deal, Iran will be allowed to continue the enrichment of uranium and will close no facilities. World powers will terminate all sanctions on Iran in exchange for its commitment to cap and roll back its nuclear program.  

Reuters and Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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