Republicans running for the White House in 2016 wasted no time Tuesday to denounce the nuclear deal with Iran that President Obama announced.
The long-term comprehensive deal, reached between Iran, the United States, Germany, China, Britain, France and Russia, gives Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. But Iran is still able to maintain thousands of centrifuges under the deal, has some control over when and where inspections take place, and will even see a lifting of the conventional arms embargo after five years.
Those details and others were being blasted by Republicans as major concessions that won't stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and will put countries like Israel in even more danger.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suggested he would reintroduce sanctions against Iran should he be elected president next year.
"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," said Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also urged a Republican-controlled Congress to reject the deal, even though President Obama can veto that rejection and win if even just one-third of the House or Senate sides with the White House.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his presidential bid on Monday, charged that the agreement will be remembered as one of the worst diplomatic failures in U.S. history.
"But when the United States leads, and has a president who isn't eager to embrace Iran, the world will follow. 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," he said in a statement.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the deal "dangerous, deeply flawed and shortsighted."
"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," he said in a statement. "This isn't diplomacy — it is appeasement."
Presidential hopeful and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee vowed to stand with Israel, saying he would not rule out military force against Iran.
"As president, I will stand with Israel and keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime," he said.
On CBS, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said it is evident Iran has 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," she said.
Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina and foreign policy hawk, called the deal terrible. It will "set in motion holy hell in the Mideast" he said on MSNBC Tuesday morning.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who ran for the Republican nomination unsuccessfully in 2012, said the Obama administration had capitulated to Iran.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another unsuccessful 2012 hopeful, called the deal "one of the most destructive foreign policy decisions" in his lifetime. Perry also took a shot at Democratic presidential frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for playing a "significant role in initiating" the Iran negotiations. He too urged Congress to oppose the deal.
"The president is playing a dangerous game with our national security, and the deal as structured will lead to a nuclear Iran, and then, a nuclearized Middle East. The deal threatens Israel, it threatens the Untied States, and it turns 70 years of nuclear policy on its head," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. Christie, who launched his campaign in late June, called on both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to "veto and disapprove this deal in numbers that will override the president's threatened veto."