A leading Republican critic of the Iranian nuclear talks is calling on the U.S. to “walk away” from the table after negotiators missed a key deadline, while other lawmakers joined in voicing concern that Iran could extract critical final-hour concessions in the scramble to salvage an agreement.
Negotiations resumed in Switzerland on Wednesday but were almost immediately beset by competing claims, just hours after diplomats abandoned a March 31 deadline to reach the outline of a deal and agreed to press on. And as the latest round hit the week mark, three of the six foreign ministers involved left the talks with prospects for agreement remaining uncertain.
Amid the confusion, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told Fox News he’s concerned the framework of a deal could allow Iran keep its uranium stockpiles and continue to enrich uranium in an underground bunker.
“You have to be willing to walk away from the table and to reapply leverage to Iran,” Cotton said. “And the fact that they’re not willing to do that, that we’re still sitting in Switzerland negotiating when three of our negotiating partners have already left just demonstrates to Iran that they can continue to demand dangerous concessions from the West.”
Speaking on MSNBC, former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean seemed to agree. He said that while President Obama is “right” to seek a deal, it might be time to “step away” from the table and make clear that the U.S. is not backing off key positions — including on Iran’s uranium stockpile and the pace of sanctions relief.