U.S. Lawmakers from both parties vowed at a Senate hearing on Wednesday to press ahead with legislative plans for new punitive measures against the Iranian regime if no deal on nuclear issue is achieved.
Top administration officials also disclosed at the hearing that the international talks with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program may extend beyond an end-of-June deadline.
The clash over the nuclear talks came as U.S. will meet with the Iranian regime’s representative, Friday and Saturday in Zurich.
Democratic lawmaker Robert Menendez said during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: "The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.
"And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin."
During the hearing, he also told Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken: "The bottom line is they get to cheat in a series of ways — and I'll call it cheat, you won't — but they get to cheat in a series of ways."
And Mr Menendez added: "Iran is clearly taking steps that can only be interpreted as provocative. It seems that we're allowing Iran to shuffle the deck and deal the cards in this negotiation and that we're playing dealer's choice. Frankly, that's not good enough. We need to get into the game."
Mr Obama's democratic ally Senator Tim Kaine also expressed concern that the US is ignoring Tehran's lies over its nuclear program, adding: "This is not a negotiation about Iran dismantling a nuclear weapons program, yet the number of centrifuges being contemplated in this deal is not consistent with a purely civilian program."