Nashua, N.H. Marco Rubio told a crowd of Republicans in New Hampshire Friday that President Obama should "never have entered into these negotiations" with Iran over nuclear weapons. The Florida Republican who is running for president told the conference, sponsored by the New Hampshire GOP, that a nuclear armed Iran is "unacceptable."
Responding to a question from the audience, Rubio explained how the U.S. and international sanctions regime had been working on the Islamic republic, devastating Iran's economy to the point that Tehran seemed ready to negotiate. But, the senator said, there was a catch. "They knew as soon as they sat time for the first time that this president wanted this deal worse than they did," Rubio said.
"Our president should have never entered into these negotiations," he added, to big applause. Rubio argued that the stakes of Iran getting the bomb are high.
"We may have to decide at some point what is worse: a military strike against Iran and a nuclear armed Iran. I am not cheerleading for war. I don’t want there to be the need to use military force. But a nuclear Iran is an unacceptable risk for the region and the world," he said.
More than three-quarters of likely voters say negotiations with Iran should have the goal of stopping the regime in Tehran from ever getting nuclear weapons capability. According to a new poll from Republican pollster John McLaughlin, likely voters were asked about the United States's current "secret negotiations" with Iran.
Georgia's new Republican senator David Perdue took his first foreign trip as a member of Congress to Israel. Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General, met with Benjamin Netanyahu and appeared in a video statement with the Israeli prime minister. The Republican said he made his first trip as a sitting senator to Israel to make a statement about his personal support for the Jewish state, and thanked Netanyahu for his "hospitality."
It's not clear when (or whether) the Obama White House will conclude a final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. The extended deadline for the interim deal known as the Joint Plan of Action is set to expire November 24. And the president very much wants a deal that would cement his foreign policy legacy. On the other hand, there are still gaps on key issues, like how many centrifuges Iran gets to keep.
Last week, the Obama White House finally clarified its Middle East policy. It’s détente with Iran and a cold war with Israel.
To the administration, Israel isn’t worth the trouble its prime minister causes. As one anonymous Obama official put it to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, what good is Benjamin Netanyahu if he won’t make peace with the Palestinians? Bibi doesn’t have the nerve of Begin, Rabin, or Sharon, said the unnamed source. The current leader of this longstanding U.S. ally, he added, is “a chickens—t.”
In the wake of the interim deal that the White House signed with Iran Saturday, Secretary of State John Kerry said on the Sunday talk shows that nothing has changed, not with the American position in the Middle East, or with the U.S. alliance system in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is screaming his head off, but Israel has nothing to worry about says Kerry.
131 members of the House, including 114 Democrats--a majority of the conference in the House--and 17 Republicans, have signed a letter to Barack Obama asking the president to engage with the newly elected president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. Read the text of the letter below:
Two members of a bipartisan congressional panel emphasized the need for Congress to reemphasize the America’s “credible military threat” to Iran to prevent that country’s development of a nuclear weapon.