Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that the White House's nuclear agreement with Iran brings the world closer to a nuclear war than it’s been since the U.S. bombed Japan in World War II.
“What Obama has done is in effect sanctioned the acquisition by Iran of nuclear capability. And it can be a few years down the road, it doesn't make any difference, it's a matter of months until we're going to see a situation where other people feel they have to defend themselves by acquiring their own capability,” Cheney said Tuesday night on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
“And that will in fact I think put us closer to use — actual use — of nuclear weapons than we've been at any time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.”
Cheney joins the large swath of Republicans who are criticizing Tuesday’s deal, in which Iran promised to scale down its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. President Obama and his administration have lauded the deal as a victory for diplomacy, one that greatly scales down Iran’s nuclear program with verifiable proof along the way.
Those concessions include a drastic reduction of Iran’s uranium stockpile and centrifuges, which lengthens the time Iran would need to build a bomb if it violates the deal.
While an independent nuclear agency gets full access to Iran’s declared nuclear sites, the steps needed to gain access to an undeclared site are a sticking point with some, since it could take up to 24 days for inspectors to be granted access.
Cheney said that the delay is “certainly” enough for Iran to hide potential weapons and that we’ve “historically underestimated the nuclear efforts of others.”
“I don't think we know everything there is to know about the nuclear program in Iran. Fact of the matter is, our capabilities have never been perfect in terms of being able to read other nations and what they were doing,” he said.
“This is a situation where we don't have the kind of access we need to be able to get in and know what is going on from a covert standpoint. They've had covert programs in the past. And I wouldn't be at all surprised that they have things underway now that we don't know about.”