US Presidential Hopefuls React to Iran Pact

US Presidential Hopefuls React to Iran PactUS Presidential Hopefuls React to Iran Pact

Republican White House hopefuls moved swiftly to criticize the nuclear deal the United States and other world powers reached with Iran on Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was the first to weigh in after the agreement was announced, according to National Journal.  

In an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Graham called the deal "the most dangerous, irresponsible step I have ever seen in the history of watching the Mideast."

In a brief press conference on Capitol Hill, Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic nomination, called the deal "an important step."

"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 said.

"This agreement will have to be enforced vigorously, relentlessly," she added.

Jeb Bush derided the agreement as a "dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted deal."

"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."

Iran says its nuclear activities are totally peaceful, denying the charge it may be seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons.

  Position of Weakness

Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement that the deal "undermines our national security" and criticized US President Barack 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."

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 (alleged) destructive influence across the Middle East," Walker said.

Carly Fiorina also voiced concern during 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."

  Catastrophic Capitulation

Rick Santorum slammed the deal on CNN Tuesday morning as "a catastrophic capitulation" by the president.

"I would have ratcheted up those sanctions," Santorum said. "I would have continued to put pressure on (the Iranian government) to capitulate. What we have here is not a capitulation."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement that Obama is "playing a dangerous game with our national security, claiming that the deal "will lead to a nuclear Iran."

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."

  Victory for Diplomacy

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.

Sen. Ted Cruz attacked the deal, arguing that the agreement will "legitimize" and "perpetuate" Iran's nuclear program. He called on Americans to voice their concerns 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."

"This is not a good deal, but a recipe for disaster," Carson said.

Rick Perry called the deal "one of the most destructive foreign policy decisions in my lifetime." He also said one of his first acts as president would be to rescind the agreement.