Ted Cruz: Iran deal needs 'less carrots'
© Greg Nash
Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSupreme Court fight should drive Democrats and help Biden Fears grow of chaotic election Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election MORE (R-Texas) on Saturday criticized the Obama administration for trying too hard to accommodate Iran during negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.
“One of the things that’s always been missing from the Obama-Clinton-Kerry doctrine of foreign policy is the understanding that weakness is provocative,” Cruz said at the South Carolina National Security Action summit in West Columbia, S.C. “Appeasement doesn’t work. We have stood up to evil before and we can do it again.”
The Obama administration is hoping Iran will stop its quest for nuclear weapons if the international community reduces sanctions on the Islamic theocracy. Cruz, a likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, called such restrictions “extremely lax” on Saturday.
The Texas Senator said Iran should destroy all of its nuclear centrifuges and its ICBM missile program in a deal. He also called on Tehran to willingly give up all of its uranium.
“That’s how we should be approaching Iran — with a lot more stick and a lot less carrots,” Cruz said. “There is no reason to think Iran has any intention of modifying its behavior.”
Controversy erupted Monday when 47 GOP Senators challenged Iran’s trustworthiness in the diplomatic process. They sent Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, an open letter arguing Congress could self-destruct any bargain it found unsatisfying.
President Obama said Friday he was “embarrassed” for the message’s signers. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) authored the divisive communication, and Cruz’s name is among the signatures.
Khamenei said Thursday the letter represented U.S. “opacity, deceit and backstabbing.” On Saturday, Cruz said the Ayatollah should temper his expectations on the potential agreement’s longevity.
“President Obama may have a pen and a phone,” Cruz said. “The next president will have an eraser. Come January of 2017, there will be a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”
Cruz has not explicitly stated he will run as a potential GOP replacement for Obama next year. He said America’s current predicament stemmed from the president’s understanding of Iran’s leaders.
“These are radical, theocratic zealots who glorify death and suicide,” Cruz said of Tehran’s ruling clerics. “Radical Islam is the greatest threat to the United States today. The trunk of that poisonous tree is and remains the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The U.S. is pairing with Britain, France, China, Germany and Russia as it wrangles with Iran. The so-called P5+1 nations are targeting the end of the month on a rough outline for the deal.