Ted Cruz on Iran Deal: There Will Be Blood
In case there was any doubt, which there probably wasn’t, Sen. Ted Cruz is not a fan of the Iran deal that President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday.
Indeed, he told CQ Roll Call Tuesday it will fund murder. If the deal goes into effect, it “will result in the United States government becoming one of the leading funders of international terrorism,” and that “those American dollars will be used to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans.”
The Texas Republican said a sensible commander in chief would demand that Iran disassemble all centrifuges, forfeit its enriched uranium, shut down its intercontinental ballistic missile program — which is solely to “carry a nuclear weapon to the U.S.” — and stop being the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Cruz called Obama’s speech announcing the deal “particularly shameful” for not mentioning Americans imprisoned in Iran — specifically Pastor Saeed Abedini, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati and journalist Jason Rezaian.
“To see the president not even mention Americans wallowing in Iranian prisons for having the temerity to profess their faith, for having the temerity to exercise their First Amendment rights, I cannot imagine the heartbreak and betrayal that [their] families must be feeling and that every American should be feeling at a president who doesn’t stand up and defend Americans,” Cruz said.
Cruz, of course, isn’t the only 2016 aspirant to oppose the Iran deal. The party’s candidates appear united in opposition.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., predicted in a statement that a “significant majority” of Congress would vote the deal down, and noted that a presidential veto would make it “Barack Obama’s deal, not an agreement with lasting support from the United States.”
“Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security,” Rubio said in a statement. “President Obama has consistently negotiated from a position of weakness, giving concession after concession to a regime that has American blood on its hands, holds Americans hostage, and has consistently violated every agreement it ever signed.”
Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, announced his opposition to the agreement of Facebook late in the day, citing three reasons: that “sanctions relief precedes evidence of compliance, Iran is left with significant nuclear capacity” and that the deal “lifts the ban on selling advanced weapons to Iran.”
Paul noted that “negotiations are preferable to war,” and that he would “prefer to keep the interim agreement in place instead of accepting a bad deal.”
South Carolina’s senior senator, Lindsey Graham, said on MSNBC that the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, “disqualified herself” from being commander in chief by praising the deal. “She clearly knows nothing about the Mideast, because if anybody who’s spent any time in the Mideast and listened to the Israelis, they would tell you, ‘Please do not give the Iranians a nuclear program that one day can be used to make a weapon,'” Graham said. “The mere passage of time, they can expand their program. There’s no requirement they stop their dangerous behavior. There’s no requirement they recognize Israel.”
The only Democratic senator running for president, Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., congratulated Obama and the multinational delegation of negotiators, and reserved judgment of the deal until he’d had more time to review the agreement.
“This is a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling and could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East,” Sanders said. “I look forward to learning more about the complex details of this agreement to make sure that it is effective and strong.”
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