Congressional Republicans slam Obama administration for lifting sanctions on Iran

Story highlights

  • House Republicans, who vehemently oppose the deal, quickly pounced on the administration
  • But the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, praised the Obama administration for making the world "safer"

Washington (CNN)Congressional Republicans were quick to slam the Obama administration Saturday for lifting sanctions on Iran, with House Speaker Paul Ryan pledging to do "everything possible" to prevent the longtime U.S. foe from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The announcement means Iran will be able to sell its oil again on world markets and its banks will be able to connect to the global system. A senior administration official said Saturday that under the international agreement, financial institutions will be able to transfer funds to Iran, giving it the ability to access $50 billion.
House Republicans, who vehemently oppose the deal, quickly pounced on the administration.
"As the president himself has acknowledged, Iran is likely to use this cash infusion -- more than $100 billion in total -- to finance terrorists," Ryan said in a statement. "This comes just weeks after Tehran's most recent illegal ballistic missile test, and just days after the (Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps) detained 10 American sailors. A bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject this deal in the first place, and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent a nuclear Iran."
Other Republicans quickly joined in.
Virginia Rep. Dave Brat tweeted a poll to his followers asking if they approve or disapprove of the sanctions being lifted.
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, a longtime critic of the administration's Iran deal, said the U.S. and international community should be focused on ensuring Iran is held accountable for the terms.
"With its announcement today, the (International Atomic Energy Agency) confirmed they could not determine the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program -- except to assess that, contrary to its claims, Iran was working at certain points to weaponize its nuclear program," he said in a statement. "With little known about Iran's true intent, we find ourselves today opening a floodgate of frozen assets to a regime that is bent on opposing our interests."
But the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, praised the Obama administration for making the world "safer."
"Because of this historic agreement; the removal of 12 tons of fissile material; the destruction of 13,000 centrifuges; the permanent disabling of the deadly Arak plutonium reactor and the long term presence of international inspectors, Iran is now at least one year away from developing a nuclear weapon," he said in a statement. "The world is safer because of this Iran nuclear agreement."
Last week, House Republicans tried to pass a bill that would bar President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions on individuals or entities in Iran unless the administration certifies they are not supporting terror or building weapons. But because a significant number of lawmakers didn't make it to the floor in time to register their support, they asked for another vote, which has been rescheduled for later this month.