House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday that when it comes to the Obama administration's effort to finalize a nuclear agreement with Iran, failure is an option.
Boehner told Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo that he hopes no deal emerges in the next few months, because he doesn't think Iran will ever implement any deal requiring substantive curbs on its nuclear program.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday he hopes there is no final deal with Iran, because he doesn't think Iran will stick to any agreement that's reached. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
"I would hope not, because I don't think they can get an agreement with people who have no intention of keeping an agreement," he said when asked if he expects a deal.
Boehner said one of his big problems with the tentative deal announced earlier this month is that it only deals with Iran's nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the same complaint — that by failing to secure a commitment that Iran would curb its terrorist activities, Iran would be free to keep pursuing these activities.
"They're only talking about the nuclear agreement, while they continue to spread — whether it's Libya, whether it's Gaza, whether it's Syria, whether it's Yemen, whether it's Iraq for that matter — they continue to spread terrorism," he said.
In the last few weeks, Republicans have harshly criticized the tentative agreement, especially since Iran's top officials have made public statements saying the deal would immediately lift sanctions against that country once it is signed. The U.S. has said sanctions would only be lifted once Iran fulfills its commitments under the final agreement.
That exchange has led many Republicans to say there doesn't appear to be any agreement at all, and that the negotiating countries just pretended to make a breakthrough when really they are still trying to agree on details.
Because of the confusion surrounding the deal, both Republicans and Democrats have pushed for Congress to review the deal, something the Obama administration had opposed. But this week, the White House lifted its opposition and agreed to sign a bill requiring a full review and updates about Iran's compliance under any final deal that's reached.
Some conservatives have said this victory is actually a defeat for the GOP, since Obama will still be able to veto any congressional disapproval of the deal. In that way, they say, the bill lets Obama get what he wants if just one-third of the House and Senate agree with him, instead of the two-thirds affirmative support that would be needed for a treaty.
However, legal experts are split on whether Obama ever had to present the Iran deal as a treaty, or whether he's within his right to present it as an executive branch agreement that doesn't need Congress.