Potential Republican presidential candidates are full of disdain for President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and have characterised it as a “colossal mistake,” “diplomatic failure,” “flawed agreement,” and “simply delusional.”
Following negotiations in Switzerland, the US, Iran, and five world powers announced on Thursday they had reached a consensus on framework for a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Obama hailed it as a “good deal” in comments Thursday, and expressed optimism it will “make our country, our allies and our world safer.”
But the field of likely Republican contenders were less optimistic that any good would come from the negotiations.
Here’s what one official Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and seven potential GOP 2016 hopefuls had to say on Obama’s deal.
As of Friday, other potential candidates, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina had not commented on the nuclear deal with Iran.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) blasted the deal as a “flawed agreement” and said it posed a grave risk to the security of Israel.
Bush also lamented the “significant concessions” made by the US to Iran, which he described as “a nation whose leaders call for death to America and the destruction of Israel.”
“These negotiations began, by President Obama’s own admission, as an effort to deny Iran nuclear capabilities, but instead will only legitimise those activities,” Bush said. “Nothing in the deal described by the administration this afternoon would justify lifting US and international sanctions, which were the product of many years of bipartisan effort. I cannot stand behind such a flawed agreement.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said the deal showed Obama was “walking away from his own red lines and many of us are deeply concerned.”
“President Obama is telling us to trust him when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to ignore its chants of ‘death to America’ and its destructive role in the region….History and common sense tell us that we should remain distrustful of Iran, walk away from a bad deal that does not keep Americans safe, and work with Congress and our allies to increase pressure on Iran. I hope the president listens to us.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the lone official major Republican presidential candidate, told Iowa voters at a campaign event on Thursday:
“The very first step for any deal, good or bad, should be submitting it to Congress, and the President making the case both to Congress and to the American people why this advances the national security interests of the United States,” Cruz said.
Cruz also predicted Obama will try to avoid letting lawmakers weigh in on the deal.
“Now everything President Obama has said up to this date has suggested that he is going to do everything he can to circumvent Congress,” said Cruz.
In remarks yesterday Obama pledged Congress would be given “oversight” over any final agreement.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has not weighed in on the Iran deal. Paul is currently on a family vacation in Florida and, though he and his team have made some other public comments, aides have responded to requests for statements on the Iran deal by saying the senator will not address any issues until next week when he is expected to officially launch his campaign.
“As we have told your publication several times this week, Senator Paul is not weighing in on any news prior to April 7th,” Paul spokesman Sergio Gor said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) called the agreement “very troubling” and criticised the Obama administration for its “attempt to spin diplomatic failure as a success.”
Rubio, who sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the US “message to Iran should be clear: until the regime chooses a different path, the United States will continue to isolate Iran and impose pressure.”
“Today’s announcement takes us in the opposite direction, and I fear it will have devastating consequences for nuclear non-proliferation, the security of our allies and partners, and for US interests in the region,” Rubio said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) called Obama’s desire to reach an agreement with Iran “simply delusional.”
“We appreciate the diligent efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. However, it is clear the negotiations are not going well,” Graham said, adding, “Any hope that a nuclear deal will lead Iran to abandon its decades-old pursuit of regional dominance through violence and terror is simply delusional.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) weighed in on the agreement, saying that, if he were president, he would call on Congress to pass stricter sanctions on Iran and not negotiate with the country.
“This is a bad deal, and like most Americans, I have long believed that no deal is better and safer than a bad deal,” Perry explained. “The Iranians have proven time and again they cannot be trusted. It’s clear they have been moving toward a nuclear weapon. An agreement that leaves their centrifuges and nuclear facilities in place and trusts them to meet their pledges is simply too dangerous.”
The main conclusion from months of negotiations is that the Iranians are superior negotiators. Sunset provisions are never a “good deal”.
— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) April 2, 2015
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