2016 Republican Candidates Slam Iran Nuke Deal

by Carrie Dann /  / Updated 

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Republican presidential candidates swiftly denounced the sweeping nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers on Tuesday, calling the agreement backed by President Barack Obama a dangerous threat to the security of the U.S. and Israel.

Republican Scott Walker, who officially entered the GOP nominating contest just hours before the deal was announced, said that it "will be remembered as one of America's worst diplomatic failures."

"I call on all congressional leaders and presidential candidates, including Secretary Clinton, to repudiate this agreement," he said in a statement.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a statement, "The nuclear agreement announced by the Obama administration today is a dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal."

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the deal would ensure a nuclear arms race in the Mideast and create “a possible death sentence for Israel.”

“This is the most dangerous, irresponsible step I’ve ever seen in the history of watching the Mideast,” he said. “Barack Obama [and] John Kerry have been dangerously naïve about the Mideast in general. They’ve taken it to a new level.”

In an appearance on CBS news, GOP candidate Carly Fiorina also suggested that the agreement would make an arms race in the region more likely.

“Iran has demonstrated bad behavior for 30 years,” she said. “We know they have been trying to cheat on this deal.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement that, “based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security.”

“I expect that a significant majority in Congress will share my skepticism of this agreement and vote it down,” he added. “Failure by the President to obtain congressional support will tell the Iranians and the world that this is Barack Obama's deal, not an agreement with lasting support from the United States. 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.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also urged Congress to vote to override Obama's promised veto of any legislation to halt the deal. "The deal threatens Israel, it threatens the United States, and it turns 70 years of nuclear policy on its head," he said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee argued that the deal would “empower” Iran to destroy Israel.

“Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' and bring 'death to America,’” he said in a statement. “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 declared that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran.”

Former pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson called the deal "an historic mistake" and a "recipe for disaster."

The GOP contenders echoed criticisms made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who derided the agreement as a “bad mistake of historic proportions” that would give Iran “a sure path to nuclear weapons.”

In remarks early Tuesday morning, President Barack Obama said that the deal means that the international community will be able to verify that Iran is not able to develop a nuclear weapon, lessening the chances that he or a future president must consider using force to prevent stop Iran from obtaining one.

“Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,” he said.

Congress still has to consider the deal, but Obama pledged on Tuesday to veto any legislation to prevent its implementation.

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