Sen. Cotton: Believe Iran's leader when he says, 'death to America'
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Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonBattle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight Sunday shows - Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death dominates Chris Wallace presses Cotton on 'any hypocrisy' between comments on Supreme Court vacancy in 2016 and today MORE (R-Ark.) on Monday stepped up his opposition to the nuclear talks with Iran, warning that the regime of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei should not be legitimized by the United States.

"The gravest threat to our national security is a nuclear-armed Iran, and this man, Ayatollah Khamenei," Cotton said from the Senate floor.


The Arkansas Republican referred to a speech the Iranian official gave over the weekend in honor of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The crowd chanted "death to America" as Khamenei spoke.

"What was his response to that chant? He said, 'Yes, certainly, death to America,' " Cotton said. " 'Death to America.' Remember this is the leader whom with the United States is negotiating today."

Cotton has been a vocal critic of the international negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. He spearheaded an open letter, also signed by 47 Republican senators, to Iran’s leaders that suggested that any deal could be overturned after President Obama leaves office in 2017.

Obama released his own video message last week in honor of Nowruz. In that video, the president pressed Iranian officials to take “the best opportunity in decades” to bolster the U.S.-Iranian relationship by accepting a deal to roll back the country’s nuclear program.

Cotton said Obama’s remarks were “ill-advised.”

"No president should legitimize such a regime,” he said. “Evil men rarely cloak their wicked intent, and I urge my fellow senators and American to pay attention.

“When someone chants, 'Yes, certainly, death to America,' we should take him at his word, and we shouldn’t put him on the path to a nuclear bomb.”