- Paul Walker secretly bought $9K wedding ring for Iraq vet
- Mystery sign poster hits Washington state town: ‘It’s OK to say Merry Christmas’
- Pope Francis forms commission to advise on sex abuse
- Anthony Weiner on radio? Cumulus says, ‘Never, ever’
- Executive order: Obama ups green-energy mandate on feds to 20 percent
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- N.Y.’s Rockefeller Center lights up, as Bloomberg flicks on 76-foot Christmas tree
- Northern Ireland turns to ‘Game of Thrones’ to draw in tourists
- Washington woman live-tweets husband’s horrific car death
- China City of America mulled for New York — with $65M tax dollars
White House denies any deal to hold nuke talks with Iran
Democrats said the talks, if they are happening, prove that sanctions supported by President Obama have worked; Republicans accused the Iranians of using the U.S. election to buy time for their nuclear weapons development.
Iran has agreed to directly negotiate with the U.S., but with the caveat that talks not take place until after the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to a weekend report by The New York Times. While Iranian officials cited uncertainty about the election as a reason for delaying talks, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that’s just a “ploy” allowing them to use the election cycle “in a pretty clever way.”
“I think the Iranians are trying to take advantage of our election cycle to continue to talk,” the South Carolina Republican told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think the time for talking is over, we should be demanding transparency and access to their nuclear program.”
With the presidential election just 15 days away, there’s little the White House does that isn’t being viewed through a political lens — and that’s especially true when it comes to foreign policy, with GOP candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans criticizing how Mr. Obama has handled touchy situations in countries like Iran, Libya and Afghanistan.
And as Iran took the spotlight over the weekend, both campaigns were in a heightened state of sensitivity over foreign policy issues, with both candidates preparing to debate that topic in their third and final debate on Monday night.
The White House moved quickly Saturday to knock down the story.
“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement, adding that the U.S. has said “from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”
“The president has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that,” Mr. Vietor said. “It has always been our goal for sanctions to pressure Iran to come in line with its obligations. The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure.”
And Richard J. Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, pointed to the plummeting value of Iran’s currency, the rial, which lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in early October. It has since regained some of its value, but Mr. Durbin said the fluctuation is evidence that Iran is feeling strong pressure to suspend its weapons program.
“This is a clear indication that the sanctions regime President Obama has put together with Israel and other countries is putting pressure on Iran to sit down and finally acknowledge they cannot have a nuclear weapon,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Even as they denied agreeing to direct negotiations — contrary to The New York Times report — White House officials still expressed willingness to sit down with Iran if that will stem its pursuit of nuclear weapons. But Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, said doing so could “jettison” allies of the U.S. who pushed harder for sanctions originally.
“The last thing we would want to do is abandon our allies in this and make it a one-on-one negotiation,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Some of our allies have been more forward-leaning than we have been in putting sanctions in place.”
And while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was more hesitant to weigh in than his Republican colleagues — pointing to the denials by the White House of direct talks — he said he’s still worried that Iran has pulled tactics in the past to delay consequences for its nuclear activities.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Biden in Beijing: From diplomat to tourist on taxpayer dime
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
- Bill Clinton: Damage to Democrats over Obamacare rollout failure will be 'minimal'
- Chamber chief laments 'avalanche' of Obama regulations
Latest Blog Entries
- A familiar fading feeling for McMahon in Connecticut
- Romney’s bid to undo health law faces hurdles
- Hill GOP presses Medicare probe
- Romney, Obama advisors butt heads over binders, Big Bird and “Romnesia”
- Outsiders abide by rules in Brown-Warren race
Latest Blog Entries
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
- NAPOLITANO: Liberty, the wellspring of capitalism and charity
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights amid escalating tensions
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
History doesn't have to be grim; there is a lot to be learned from the pages of time.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.