U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has issued a public challenge to President Obama to debate the merits or substance of the Iran nuke deal on national TV.
Given that Iran stands to bank as much as $150 billion as soon as the U.S. and the international community lifts economic sanctions if the deal goes through,”the Obama administration will become quite literally the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz, an announced 2016 GOP presidential candidate, claimed.
Iran is officially designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department.
Virtually all Republicans and many Democrats oppose the Iran nuke deal reached in Vienna on the grounds that its provisions are too weak to prevent the regime from developing an A-bomb, but it remains to be seen if there are enough votes among Democrats joining with Republicans in Congress to kill it. It also emerged this past week that there are secret side agreements in the nuclear pact that have not been shared with Congress.
Under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, international treaties require the approval of at least 67 U.S. Senators. Under compromise legislation agreed to between the administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, however, the Iran deal will go into effect as an executive agreement unless at least two-thirds of the both houses of Congress, i.e., a veto-proof majority, turn it down, which seems unlikely given the partisan politics in Washington. The agreement has already been approved by the United Nations Security Council, however.
During a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, lawmakers accused Kerry and his team of being “bamboozled” and “fleeced” by the Iranian government during the negotiations.
Deeming the negotiations “wretched” given all the concessions made by the U.S. and its allies, Middle East Forum President and Iran deal foe Daniel Pipes argues that “The agreement signed [on July 14] ends the economic-sanctions regime, permits the Iranians to hide much of their nuclear activities, lacks enforcement in case of Iranian deceit, and expires in slightly more than a decade. Two problems particularly stand out: The Iranian path to nuclear weapons has been eased and legitimated; Tehran will receive a ‘signing bonus’ of some $150 billion that greatly increases its abilities to aggress in the Middle East and beyond.”
In an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show last night in which he pushed back against Obama’s criticism of the agreement’s opponents, the Texas senator invited the president to debate him one on one.
“Since he’s not willing to discuss the substance, I’ll make an invitation right here tonight, which is I will invite President Obama, at any time and place of his choosing, to debate the substance of the Iran deal. Let’s do it in front of the American people anytime in the next 60 days that Congress has to review this deal. If he’s so convinced he’s right on the substance, I will welcome him anytime and if he’s unwilling to show up, he can send as a proxy John Kerry. Let’s debate the substance of how much this endangers the United States of America, Israel, and the world—it’s the single greatest national security threat facing America.”
In the Fox interview, Cruz also addressed his dispute with Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, and other what he considers business-as-usual lawmakers of both parties over the vote to reauthorize the U.S. Import-Export Bank.
This week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, himself a presidential hopeful, ignited a controversy by claiming that the Iran deal would march Israel to “the door of the oven” given that the Iranian government has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the map. Huckabee has refused to apologize for using a Holocaust reference.
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News]