The reactions have been coming in steady as the 2016 presidential candidates lineup either in opposition or support of the recently announced deal the Obama administration has struck with Iran over nuclear development.
The plan still has to be ratified by Congress which is when the fireworks will really start, especially given how many 2016 candidates are sitting Senators. National Journal has compiled a strong list of candidate statements:
In a brief press conference on Capitol Hill, Clinton called the deal “an important step,” adding that the U.S. should now focus on preventing more of Iran’s “bad actions.”
“I think this is an important step that puts a lid on Iran’s nuclear programs and it will enable us then to turn our attention as it must, to doing what we can with other partners in the region as beyond to try to prevent and contain Iran’s other bad actions,” Clinton said. “So all in all, I think we have to look at this seriously, evaluate it carefully, but I believe based on what I know now, this is an important step.”
Clinton also said there are “a number of issues” that need to be addressed. “This agreement will have to be enforced vigorously, relentlessly,” she added.
Clinton did not explicitly say whether she supported enforcement of the deal during her remarks. But House Democrats who met with her Tuesday morning said that she unequivocally endorsed the agreement.
Jeb Bush derided the agreement as a “dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal,” saying that it still allows a path for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.
“A comprehensive agreement should require Iran to verifiably abandon – not simply delay – its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” Bush said in a statement. He added: “This isn’t diplomacy – it is appeasement.”
Sen. Marco Rubio warned in a statement that the deal “undermines our national security” and criticized Obama for negotiating “from a position of weakness.”
“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,” Rubio’s statement read. “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.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who officially kicked off his campaign on Monday and made rejecting a deal with Iran part of his announcement speech, said the agreement “will be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures.” Walker called on congressional leaders and presidential candidates alike to reject it.
“In order to ensure the safety of America and our allies, the next president must restore bipartisan and international opposition to Iran’s nuclear program while standing with our allies to roll back Iran’s destructive influence across the Middle East,” Walker said.
Carly Fiorina also voiced concern during in an appearance on CBS This Morning, saying “there is reason for suspicion” because Iran has not negotiated in good faith.
“I’ve never negotiated an Iran nuclear deal, but I’ve negotiated a lot of high-stakes deals, and there are a couple of rules and every rule has been broken,” Fiorina said. “If you want a good deal, you’ve got to walk away sometimes.”
Rick Santorum slammed the deal on CNN Tuesday morning as a “a catastrophic capitulation” by the president, adding that it gives the Iranians “legitimacy” in the international community.
“I would have ratcheted up those sanctions,” Santorum said. “I would have continued to put pressure on this regime to capitulate. What we have here is not a capitulation.”
Mike Huckabee took to Twitter to express his disapproval, saying that he would not rule out using military force in the region if he were in the Oval Office.
“Shame on the Obama admin for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map,’ tweeted Huckabee, who went on to say, “As president, I will stand with Israel and keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement that Obama us “playing a dangerous game with our national security, warning that the deal “will lead to a nuclear Iran and, then, a nuclearized Middle East.”
The deal threatens Israel, it threatens the United States, and it turns 70 years of nuclear policy on its head,” Christie said. “I urge Republicans and Democrats in Congress to put aside politics and act in the national interest. Vote to disapprove this deal in numbers that will override the President’s threatened veto.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, congratulated Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on striking an 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 in a statement.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal specifically called on Clinton to oppose the nuclear a deal in a statement released Tuesday morning.
“Secretary Clinton should be a voice of reason and oppose this deal,” Jindal said. “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.”
Sen. Ted Cruz also attacked the deal, arguing that the agreement will ‘legitimize” and “perpetuate” Iran’s nuclear program. He called on Americans to voice their cocnerns about the deal to their elected officials.
“Even by the low standards of the Joint Plan of Action, this is a staggeringly bad deal,” Cruz said. “It is a fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States and of our closest allies, first and foremost Israel.”
Ben Carson warned the deal is “almost certain to prove an historic mistake with potentially deadly consequences.”
“Without anywhere anytime surprise inspections, a full accounting of Iran’s past secret nuclear arms pursuits, elimination of Iran’s uranium stockpiles and the lifting of any sanctions only upon verification of Iranian compliance, this is not a good deal, but a recipe for disaster and the first fateful step toward a frenzied nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” Carson said.
Rick Perry called the deal “one of the most destructive foreign policy decisions in my lifetime.” He also said that one of his first acts as president would be to rescind the agreement, and outlined other steps would take to deal with Iran.
“I will order a review of Iran’s compliance with the deal, and an evaluation of Iran’s continued sponsorship of terror over the timeframe of the agreement,” Perry said. “I will move to ensure that the arms embargo—and, specifically, the ballistic missile embargo — remain in place until Iran verifiably demonstrates that it desires to act as a stabilizing force in the region.”