GOP's Cotton slams 'smug' Iran negotiators

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump stokes fears over November election outcome The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Abortion stirs GOP tensions in Supreme Court fight MORE (Ark.), a chief Republican critic of President Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, blasted the Iranian foreign minister as “smug and condescending” just days ahead of a new deadline to finalize a long-term deal.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released a video urging the U.S. to have “courage” to compromise and reach an agreement.

“At this eleventh hour, despite some differences that remain, we have never been closer to a lasting outcome,” Zarif said. “But there is no guarantee. Getting to yes requires the courage of compromise, the self-confidence to be flexible, the maturity to be reasonable, the wisdom to set aside delusions and the audacity to break old habits.”

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Cotton shot back on Sunday, accusing Zarif of lecturing the U.S. and saying the White House is negotiating from a position of weakness.

“Iran is an anti-American, terrorist-sponsoring outlaw regime that has killed thousands of Americans from Beirut to Iraq to Afghanistan,” Cotton said on ABC’s “This Week.” “That video the Iranian foreign minister posted over the weekend with that smug, condescending tone, shows just how far down the path we’ve gone towards Iran’s position.”

“Iran was negotiating from a position of weakness,” Cotton continued. “Iran should’ve faced a simple choice: They dismantle their nuclear program entirely, or they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear facilities. As that video shows, they think they’re in a position of strength and that they hold all the cards.”

Tuesday marks the latest deadline between Iranian and U.S. negotiators over Iran’s nuclear program.

Republicans are calling on President Obama to walk away from the negotiations, believing that any deal the sides agree on won’t be strong enough to deter Iran from ultimately building a nuclear weapon.

Cotton on Sunday argued that the U.S. must consider a military option aimed at taking out Iran’s nuclear sites.

“It’s not the first choice; it’s never the preferred choice, but military force does have to remain an option if our diplomacy is going to be credible,” he said. “We have unique capabilities and could destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, and command and control facilities, and all of our allies in the region wish that we would take a more forceful position and keep the military option on the table.”