“I’ll be the last one to be critical if you walk away from this negotiating table,” says Foreign Affairs Chairman

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued this statement following the news that nuclear negotiations with Iran are likely to continue past tomorrow’s June 30th deadline and that Iran’s top negotiator has returned to Tehran to meet with the regime’s leadership:

“Extending these negotiations is worth it only if we are moving toward greater restraints on Iran’s perilous nuclear aspirations and absolutely blocking its paths to the bomb, not more concessions from the United States.

“But instead of our negotiators playing a strong hand, the ‘redlines’ we hear most about are those Iran’s Supreme Leader laid down last week when he ruled out inspections of military sites and a long-term freeze of nuclear activities, while demanding that sanctions be lifted immediately.  A supreme ruler who lives by the motto ‘Death to America’ seems to be setting the tone at the negotiating table.  Count me among the many in Congress who are supremely concerned by the direction of these negotiations.

“Recently passed legislation requiring Congressional review of any final agreement should strengthen the Administration’s negotiating hand.  Secretary Kerry needs to know that Congress has its own redlines: anywhere, anytime inspections; no sanctions relief jackpot for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps; guaranteed sanctions snap-backs; and meaningful restraints on Iran’s nuclear program that last decades.  The Administration should be making it clear to the Iranians that an agreement without these conditions, among others, won’t pass muster with Congress.

“We seem to be on the verge of an agreement that – even if it was fully adhered to by Iran – accepts that after just ten years or so, Tehran would have the ability to produce nuclear weapons in very short order, perhaps within a matter of weeks.  That’s without Iranian cheating.  This deal reverses decades of U.S. nonproliferation policy and gives Iran a huge win – acceptance of its nuclear program.  This agreement would leave the Iranian regime even stronger in its chaotic region, a terrorist state flush with cash after sanctions are lifted.  How is U.S. security improved?

“We’ve heard the President and his senior advisors say countless times over the last 18 months that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’  Yet with the clock running out, and far-reaching U.S. concessions in the works, a bad deal is looking near certain.  Mr. President, I’ll be the last one to be critical if you walk away from this negotiating table.”