Republican presidential candidates lashed out at the Obama administration over its nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday, warning it would accelerate the country’s path to a nuclear weapon. They called on Congress to reject the agreement.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has vowed to roll back the deal on his first day in the White House if elected president, said the agreement will “be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures” and would lead to “an arms race in the world’s most dangerous region.”
Walker echoed a sentiment expressed by many Republicans in a controversial letter sent to Iran’s leaders earlier this year, saying that “a future American president will not be bound by this diplomatic retreat.”
“I call on all congressional leaders and presidential candidates, including Secretary Clinton, to repudiate this agreement,” Walker said. “Undoing the damage caused by this deal won’t be easy. But when the United States leads and has a president who isn’t eager to embrace Iran, the world will follow.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the deal “dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted.”
Bush said any deal should have required Iran to “verifiably abandon” their nuclear ambitions entirely. He also criticized the administration for lifting economic sanctions he said would “breathe new life into Iran's malevolent and corrupt regime, enabling its projection of terror and power as well as its repression of the Iranian people.
"This isn’t diplomacy — it is appeasement,” Bush said.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine I'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back MORE (R-Fla.), who has staked his campaign on being a leading voice in the GOP on matters related to foreign policy, said the deal “undermines our national security.” He accused President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way Biden should pivot to a pro-growth strategy on immigration reform One year on, a critical role needs to be filled by the administration MORE of negotiating from “a position of weakness” and said the U.S. gave “concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands.”
“I expect that a significant majority in Congress will share my skepticism of this agreement and vote it down,” Rubio said. “It will then be left to the next President to return us to a position of American strength and re-impose sanctions on this despicable regime until it is truly willing to abandon its nuclear ambitions and is no longer a threat to international security.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who this week began running campaign ads warning of the dangers of a nuclear Iran, said the deal “empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' and bring 'death to America.'”
He also mocked Secretary of State John Kerry, who recently broke his leg.
“John Kerry should have long ago gotten up on his crutches, walked out of the sham talks, and went straight to Jerusalem to stand next to Benjamin Netanyahu and declare that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran,” Huckabee said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is running as a fierce foreign policy hawk, warned the deal would be a “death sentence over time for Israel if they don’t push back.”
“My initial impression is that this deal is far worse than I ever dreamed it could be and will be a nightmare for the region, our national security and eventually the world at large,” Graham told Bloomberg.
President Obama has threatened to veto any attempt by Congress to block the deal.
Dr. Ben Carson similarly warned that the deal doesn't go far enough in shielding the region from Iran's ambitions.
"Without anywhere anytime surprise inspections, a full accounting of Iran’s past secret nuclear arms pursuits, elimination of Iran’s uranium stockpiles and the lifting of any sanctions only upon verification of Iranian compliance this is not a good deal, but a recipe for disaster and the first fateful step toward a frenzied nuclear arms race in the Middle East," Carson said in a statement.
Some Republicans sought to put pressure on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reject the deal.
"If Secretary Clinton goes along with President Obama's efforts to appease Iran, it will make our enemies stronger, endanger our ally Israel and trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that will destabilize the region,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Clinton on Tuesday cautiously endorsed the framework, telling reporters on Capitol Hill it was “an important step in putting a lid on Iran's nuclear program.”