GOP Sen. Clarifies Comments About Iran Deal: I Don’t Trust The Ayatollah!

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, insisted on Wednesday that he does not trust Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over President Obama when it comes to the nuclear deal, despite comments the senator made at a recent town hall.

During an event in Cerdarburg, Wisc., Johnson suggested that Obama can’t be trusted to relay details about the nuclear deal the U.S. is negotiating with Iran.

“Now, a President who was awarded the 2013 Politifact Lie of the Year, if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it, period. If you like your doctor you can keep it, period. They lied boldfaced to the American public repeatedly with Obamacare,” Johnson said, according to a clip highlighted by Buzzfeed News.

“I don’t know, I hate to admit it, but in terms of this framework, do I trust President Obama, or do I trust the ayatollah? In terms of what the framework actually says? I’m not so sure I’m trusting President Obama on this,” Johnson continued.

In a statement on Wednesday, Johnson clarified that he does not trust Khamenei.

“The headlines accusing me of saying I trust the ayatollah in Iran are false. Simply reading my actual words in the stories below those headlines shows this. And let me say for the record, I certainly do not trust the ayatollah. I want to trust our president on this subject,” Johnson said in the written statement.

Johnson called on Obama “to be more forthcoming on his negotiations” and “involve Congress fully in developing the agreement.”

Despite his assertion that his recent comments were misreprented, in an interview on May 8, Johnson made a comment similar to his statement at the Cerdarburg town hall.

Johnson said that “you can’t trust Iran and this deal is not verifiable” but said he would trust Iran’s interpretation of the nuclear agreement’s details.

“I would unfortunately have to say, I would believe the Ayatollah’s in terms of what the deal is more than I believe this administration. And that’s a really sad statement to make,” Johnson said in the radio interview.

Listen to a clip from the May 8 interview below:

This post has been updated.

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