President Barack Obama has displayed weak leadership when he decided to extend the deadline to reach an agreement for the nuclear talk with Iran, Republicans said. GOP critics said that the extension serves as an alarming sign that Iran has the upper hand in the talks.
Obama refuses to walk away
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton told CNN that Mr Obama is sending bad signs when he refused to walk away from talks past the deadline.
“Deadlines have to mean something. When you are negotiating and you have deadlines, you have to show that you are serious and then walk away from the table and then come back in a position of strength, not a position of weakness,” Cotton told CNN.
He said that the allowance with which the administration is willing to give Iran is “very dangerous.” It is as if Mr Obama is handing Iran the rights to get a nuclear weapon in “slow motion.”
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN that stalling way past the deadline only implies that talks are not going well.
“It is clear the negotiations are not going well. At every step, the Iranians appear intent on retaining the capacity to achieve a nuclear weapon. Without significant change, we have little confidence the negotiations will end well,” McCain and Graham said in a statement.
Progress seen on Iran nuclear talks
The administration argued that talks on Iran’s nuclear deal is showing progress; hence, it will be wrong to end negotiations just because world powers are pressured with a deadline.
“We continue to make progress but have not reached a political understanding. Therefore, Secretary Kerry will remain in Lausanne until at least Thursday morning to continue the negotiations,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a press briefing.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that if the administration saw that talks have stalled, then Mr Obama and the whole international community are “prepared to walk away.”
Obama is working on a strategy
Obama’s decision to ignore the deadline is a strategy to change the dynamics of negotiations, according to a report from The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter. On the 11th hour before the deadline, White House Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz have reported to Obama that there is no way the deadline can be met.
“They were turning our own deadline against us to see if we would give ground,” Kerry reportedly told Mr Obama, who has reportedly instructed him and Moniz to ignore the deadline.
The president clarified that he is ready to walk away, leaving all sanctions in place against Iran.
Whether the said strategy becomes effective is yet to be seen. For the meantime, all wait for the result of the extended negotiation set on Thursday.
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