The Biden administration is "living in an alternative universe" when it comes re-entering the Iran nuclear deal, particularly with Russia doing the negotiations at the same time as it tries to push back on the United States sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, Sen. Jim Risch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday.
"This was an awful deal when it was made the first time around," the Idaho Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." "You've got to remember what's happening here. You've got a room where the Iranians are sitting at the table, the Russians and the Chinese are in there and they don't even let the U.S. delegation in that room. They are sitting at the kids' table out in the hall peeking through the keyhole to see what's going on."
"You've got the Iranians and the Russians negotiating a deal for us," he added. "I mean, what could possibly go wrong here? This stuff, this is surreal."
His comments came after an interview on the show with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who insisted that a deal is near, but the "onus" for it succeeding depends on whether Iran wants to comply with never obtaining or using a nuclear weapon.
Sherman also on Sunday said the administration does not believe that missiles fired from Iran into Iraq and landing near the U.S. consulate were targeting the American target, but Risch said she was trying to "excuse the Iranians" for their actions.
"What else were they shooting at?" he said. "They fired seven missiles out of Iran into Iraq that hit near our new construction they're doing on an embassy there. This is nonsense."
And now, Sherman is saying the nuclear deal needs to be signed as quickly as possible, said Risch, so the shelling "got [Iran] exactly what they wanted, it sounds like to me."
The administration also is not briefing Congress on the progress of the negotiations, as it promised, Risch said.
There is also nothing that can be done on Capitol Hill about the nuclear agreement, said Risch, because the administration is refusing to submit it to Congress as a treaty.
"If it was submitted as a treaty and we voted on it, there would be a deal," he said. "There is no deal. Even if [Joe] Biden signs it, they have what's called an executive agreement with Iran. It will not last past the next Republican that's elected just as the last deal didn't last the minute that the Republicans took over."
Meanwhile, when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine hostilities, Risch said the United States does not want to escalate matters to direct conflict with Moscow, but even if that happened, he wouldn't call it World War III.
Still, the administration has projected weakness in the matter, said Risch, including backing down on agreements and changing strategies on weapons
"If you project weakness with these people you're going to have a real problem," he said. "That's going on with both Iran and with Russia right now and it is a serious situation. We need them to project some strength."
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