WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), when asked to comment on the nuclear talks between U.S.-led world powers and Iran, said it is important to remember that Iran was behind the killing of many American soldiers in Iraq.
“I don’t trust this governing council or the Ayatollah that runs the country [Iran]. They have exported terror around the world. They have disrupted the Middle East. They occupy four capitals in the region now with their proxies and cronies,” Russell, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told Breitbart News.
“The other problem that we see with them is they killed a lot of my friends,” he continued. “These EFP [Explosively Formed Projectiles] roadside bombs that they exported into Iraq with explicit instructions that they should only be used against Americans — we cannot forget that. The lowest estimate I’ve seen is at least 1,000 of our warriors who died in Iraq were at their hands. I have a tough time believing in their good will.”
Rep. Russell noted that the U.S. needs to receive proof of good behavior from Iran before it lifts any sanctions as part of a nuclear deal.
“I think to expect the opposite where we lift sanctions and then they will promise good behavior is a non-starter,” explained the retired Army Ranger. “I also think that, when we’re relying on the safety of the Western world and Israel to be on the back of the good will of the people that govern Iran, we’re in trouble.”
The congressman told Breitbart News that the safety of the Western world hangs in the balance as the so-called P5+1 (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, and China plus Germany) attempt to hash out a nuclear agreement with Iran.
Today, March 31, is the self-imposed deadline for a framework understanding between the six world powers and Iran.
“I know from the initial discussions that they [the world powers] are looking to ease sanctions based upon inspections and compliance. We will ease and they will comply. I think it’s just the opposite that needs to happen,” said Congressman Russell. “They need to comply and then we will look to ease.”
“This whole idea of their enriched uranium stockpiles — that they’re unwilling to give that up now… These are all real problems,” he added.
Representatives involved in the negations are reportedly preparing to issue a general statement focusing on certain aspects of the agreement.
Obama’s White House issued a statement saying that nuclear talks could be extended past the March 31 deadline if enough progress is made to justify such a move.
“If it’s necessary — and, when I say if it’s necessary I mean if it’s midnight and a deal has not been reached but the conversations continue to be productive — we’ll be prepared to continue the talks into tomorrow,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest, adding, “If we are making progress toward the finish line, than we should keep going.”
U.S.-led Western diplomats are working towards reaching a deal with Iran that would restrict (“freeze”) its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of international sanctions.
Rep. Russell and other lawmakers have expressed concern about Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.
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