JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville-area Republican Congressman Ander Crenshaw says the more he learns about the controversial deal brokered with Iran this past weekend, the less he likes it.
“I think it’s a bad deal all the way around,” Crenshaw tells WOKV in an exclusive interview.
The weekend agreement between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., calls for Iran to temporarily freeze parts of its nuclear program for six months and open its nuclear sites to more inspections. Iran would get some relief from economic sanctions and a pledge from President Obama that no new ones will be imposed during the six months.
Crenshaw says it reminds him of recently when the U.S. gave assistance in exchange for North Korea agreeing not to pursue a nuclear weapon.
“And yet what has happened today? They have nuclear weapons, and frankly, Iran can go to them and buy what they need.”
Crenshaw says Iran is giving up “very, very little” under the deal.
“I don’t know how in the world anybody thinks we can actually verify that they’re doing what they say they’re gonna do,” he says.
“They’re not really giving up anything, and yet, we’re relaxing the standards when we ought to be putting more pressure on them to say, ‘You gotta abandon your desire to create a nuclear weapon.’ Because if they get a nuclear weapon, there’s no tellin’ what’s gonna happen in the Middle East.”
Crenshaw says the only reason Iran is coming to the table to talk is because of the sanctions that Congress put on Iran.
“And they’re having an impact,” Crenshaw says, noting how the economic sanctions are causing Iran’s economy to “go south” and unemployment to go up.
“They’re creating a lot of pain,” he says. “And these are sanctions that the President didn’t want to put in the first place.”
Crenshaw says he thinks there’s a bi-partisan effort to “beef up” the sanctions against Iran to where the U.S. will continue to impose them unless Iran stops its nuclear program.
“I think you’ll see both Democrats and Republicans come together to do that,” he says.
Crenshaw also questions the timing of this deal, with which he says the President will “unfortunately” move forward.
“A lot of people think – if they really attribute bad motives to this administration – that a lot of these things are being done to try to get the focus off Obamacare, which is a huge disaster.”