A major breakthrough deal was reached between Iran and six world powers on Saturday, which President Barack Obama said would help
“prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.”
Soon after the deal was announced — an interim agreement easing some sanctions in exchange for Iran’s suspension of high-grade uranium enrichment — many members of Congress and other political leaders shared their views on social media.
Some Republicans were critical of the program, most notably Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who tweeted, “Unless the agreement requires dismantling of the Iranian centrifuges, we really haven’t gained anything.”
“Deal appears to give Iran billions in exchange for cosmetic concessions that don’t fully freeze or significantly roll back nuclear program,” tweeted Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
And Republican Sen. John Cornyn took some flak for dismissing the breakthrough deal as a political ploy when he tweeted, “Amazing what [White House] will do to distract attention from [Obamacare].”
Cornyn took some heat from many on the left for that comment, including freshman Rep. Joaquin Castro, who tweeted, simply, “Wow,” in response. David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to Obama, also retweeted Cornyn and said a “real distraction would be war. Like Iraq.”
This was a major deal, as Vali Nasr, Dean of School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Dept. official, pointed out on Twitter. “Signing any deal with US is crossing a rubicon for Iran — that has lasting impact,” he wrote.
Rep. Jim Hines (D-Conn.) also noted the magnitude of the moment on social media — Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif first announced the deal in a tweet.
“Admin reached deal with the man who bragged of advancing [nuclear program] through deception,” tweeted Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). “I remain sceptical. [North Korea] all over again.” The congresswoman was referencing the Clinton administration’s 1994 nuclear nonproliferation framework with North Korea, which later broke down.
Zbigniew Brzezninski, National Security Adviser to President Carter, made a historical comparison of his own. He also accused Israel of setting U.S. policy: “Obama/Kerry = best policy team since Bush I/Jim Baker. Congress is finally becoming embarrassed by Netanyahu’s efforts to dictate US policy.”
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) congratulated Secretary of State John Kerry and his team for their “tireless efforts” in brokering the deal. And Mother Jones’ David Corn championed the foreign policy breakthroughs in both Iran and Syria over the past few months, tweeting sarcastically, “Syria agreeing to get rid of chem weapons. Iran willing to suspend enrichment. The Obama admin is just so feckless.”
But perhaps it was Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) who had the best response, reserving judgment until he knew all the details.
“Just heard President Obama describe nuclear deal with Iran,” Flake tweeted. “Look forward to studying details.”
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