House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that congressional Republicans would waste no time voting to impose new sanctions against Iran if there is no agreed framework in place the early this week under which Iran would scale back its nuclear ambitions.
Boehner was asked on CNN how quickly Congress would move if the March 31 deadline passes without any agreement, and answered, "Very."
Negotiators from the U.S., Iran and other world powers are scrambling to meet a March 31 deadline for reaching a political agreement to ensure Iran is cut off from developing a nuclear weapon. But last week, the White House admitted there's still a 50-50 chance "at best" for reaching a deal, which has lawmakers from both parties thinking about what sanctions might need to be imposed against Iran if no deal is struck.
Boehner said that from where he sits, a deal doesn't seem likely.
"I've got serious doubts," he told CNN. "I had serious doubts over the last year whether there can be an agreement, and I still have serious doubts."
One possible outcome this week could be the announcement of something that the Obama administration calls an agreement, but one that is nonetheless disparaged by Congress and others as a bad deal that should be scrapped. Many have already argued that the emerging deal should be rejected if it lets Iran power down its centrifuges that are used to make enriched uranium, instead of forcing Iran to dismantle that equipment. Others worry the structure of the deal might let Iran simply pick up where it left off 10 years down the road.
Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal as he understands it "confirms all of our concerns and even more so."
Boehner told CNN he already has doubts that Iran would stick to its end of the deal, even if a good deal could be negotiated.
"We've got a regime who's never quite kept their word about anything," he said. "I just don't understand why we'd sign an agreement with a group of people who, in my opinion, have no intention of keeping their word."