President Barack Obama told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that the U.S. and Iran have “narrowed the gaps” separating their positions in the nuclear weapons negotiations, “but the gaps still exist.”
“We have made progress in narrowing the gaps, but those gaps still exist, ” Obama said in an interview that was taped on Saturday and broadcast on Sunday.
Still, Obama insisted he was would walk away from the negotiations if Tehran did not meet his demands.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), warned on the same show that the president must not go ahead with “the bad deal we all anticipate he’s going to make, ” adding that Obama “cannot work around Congress forever.”
McConnell is hoping to convince 67 senators “to assert the historic role of the Senate … in looking at matters of this magnitude.”
That means he plans to try and block any deal with Iran through legislation — the 67 senators would be required to overcome a presidential veto, a move that would leave Obama with a black eye.
67 Senate votes are also needed to ratify foreign treaties negotiated by the president.
McConnell insisted—channeling Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the Congress last Tuesday—that Iran was “fomenting trouble” around the Middle East, including in Syria, warning that the Senate “cannot ignore all of their other behavior in looking at the potential nuclear deal.”
Obama defended the talks, telling CBS: “Iran has abided by the terms of the agreement, we know what’s happening on the ground in Iran, they have not advanced their nuclear program, we’ve been able to roll back their 20 percent highly enriched uranium during this period of time.”
On Friday, the Democrats in the Senate blocked McConnell plan to have a floor debate on a bill requiring Obama to submit any deal with Iran to Congress for approval.