The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday that the Obama administration has officially dropped the ball in the Iran talks by failing to get Iran to agree to any of the main U.S. negotiating objectives.
"This has been quite a blunder so far in terms of our handling of the negotiation on the U.S. side," Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said on Fox News.
"The difficulty is that so far, Iran has turned down all of the four key objective the United States had in this agreement, including having inspectors on military bases, or the ability to go anywhere, anytime for those international inspectors," he said. "That has flatly been turned down by the Ayatollah, and so the consultation obviously will be with the Supreme Leader."
Reports over the weekend indicate that the agreement being negotiated at this point also wouldn't allow interviews with Iran's nuclear scientists, and would call for a lifting of sanctions against Iran immediately, instead of after Iran moves to curb its nuclear program.
Even more frustrating for Royce and other opponents of the deal is that negotiations will now extend into early July, which means they will miss the original June 30 deadline. When asked why some of the huge substantive hurdles might be overcome with just another week or so to go, Royce indicated he didn't believe it was possible to reach a deal he can support.
"I think this is all the zeal for the deal," he said.
Royce's counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told USA Today last week that if the deal is bad enough, Congress could decide to reject it.
Under a law passed earlier this year, Congress has the right to review the deal, and reject it by passing a resolution of disapproval. That resolution could still be vetoed by President Obama, and if that happens, Congress could only block the agreement by overriding that veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber.
An override is expected to be difficult given the expected Democratic support for Obama's agreement, although many Democrats line up with Republicans when it comes to calling for a tough deal with Iran.