As the news of the nuclear deal reached between the United States, its Western allies, and the Islamic Republican of Iran broke Tuesday morning, Republican presidential candidates were nearly unanimous in condemning the agreement.
“I have said from the beginning of this process that I would not support a deal with Iran that allows the mullahs to retain the ability to develop nuclear weapons, threaten Israel, and continue their regional expansionism and support for terrorism. Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security," said Florida senator Marco Rubio in a statement early Tuesday morning. Rubio also added that he expects a "significant majority in Congress will share my skepticism of this agreement and vote it down."
Rubio's fellow senator Ted Cruz urged his colleagues in Congress to vote down the deal, calling it "staggeringly bad" and one that will "legitimate and perpetuate" Iran's nuclear program. "It is a fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States and of our closest allies, first and foremost Israel," Cruz said. "But thankfully, it is not a done deal."
"This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement," said former Florida governor Jeb Bush in a statement, calling it a "dangerous, deeply flawed and short sighted" agreement. "A comprehensive agreement should require Iran to verifiably abandon – not simply delay – its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability," Bush continued. "The clerical leaders in Tehran routinely preach ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel’ – and through their acts of terror, they mean it. We must take these threats seriously and should not base any agreements on the hope their behavior will moderate over time. The people of Iran, the region, Israel, America, and the world deserve better than a deal that consolidates the grip on power of the violent revolutionary clerics who rule Tehran with an iron fist."
So did Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who launched his presidential campaign Monday evening. “President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran will be remembered as one of America's worst diplomatic failures. The deal allows Tehran to dismantle U.S. and international sanctions without dismantling its illicit nuclear infrastructure—giving Iran’s nuclear weapons capability an American stamp of approval," said Walker in a statement. "I call on all congressional leaders and presidential candidates, including Secretary Clinton, to repudiate this agreement. Iran’s Supreme Leader should know that a future American president will not be bound by this diplomatic retreat. 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."
Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, called the president' decision to ink the deal with Iran "one of the most destructive foreign policy decisions" in his lifetime. "For decades to come, the world will have to deal with the repercussions of this agreement, which will actually make it easier for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," said Perry in a statement. "And Secretary Clinton, who played a significant role in initiating these negotiations with Iran, will have to justify to the American people why she supports allowing a known state sponsor of terrorism to move toward obtaining a nuclear weapon."
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal also called out Clinton in his statement opposing the deal. "Congress should oppose this dangerous deal," said Jindal. "Secretary Clinton should be a voice of reason and oppose this deal. While Secretary Clinton has been the architect of President Obama’s foreign policy, she can do the right thing and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and oppose this deal.”
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina spoke about the deal on CBS, saying it will make a nuclear arms race in the Middle East more likely and citing Arab nations saying as much. "Iran has demonstrated bad behavior for 30 years. We know they have been trying to cheat on this deal. We know they have been funding proxies with a strategic objective of destabilizing the region. We know that when sanctions are lifted, they’ll have more money to fund those same proxies," "So there is a lot of reason to be suspicious here. It would be different if Iran was a good actor and had negotiated in good faith all this time, but they haven't and we've caved." Watch the video here.