Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, on Friday vowed to undo the nuclear deal with Iran if he is elected president.
Speaking to the Foreign Policy Initiative in New York and quoted by MSNBC, Rubio linked the White House’s diplomatic efforts in Iran to its warming of relations with Cuba, saying that President Barack Obama’s outreach to the two countries were examples of “weakness and concession.”
The deal in Iran and the normalized relations with Cuba “represent the convergence of nearly every flawed strategic, moral, and economic notion that has driven President Obama’s foreign policy,” Rubio said, according to MSNBC.
“The fact of the matter is Hillary Clinton will not overturn these deals as president,” he continued. “I will.”
Rubio argued that new unilateral sanctions against Iran would convince the regime on Tehran to not only dismantle their entire nuclear program, but also recognize Israel, drop their support for regional terrorist groups, and end human rights abuses against their people.
“Some will say there would … be no room for negotiations, but history proves otherwise,” he said. “Iran may not return to the table immediately, but it will return when its national interests require it to do so.”
"I will give the mullahs a choice: either you have an economy or you have a nuclear program, but you cannot have both," added Rubio.
He further said that his stance on Iran would be backed with a “credible threat of military force” aided by a new defense buildup in the Middle East.
"I will undertake a three-part plan to roll back President Obama's deal with Iran and repair the damage done to America's standing in the Middle East," he continued.
Regarding Cuba, Rubio said that by opening a U.S. embassy in Havana, which occurred on Friday, Obama had “ensured the regime will receive international legitimacy and a substantial economic boost.”
“He has made the argument that if the embargo hasn’t worked for 50 years, we should try something new,” Rubio said. “My question is: Why hasn’t he made a similar argument to the Castro regime? For over 50 years, they have tried tyranny and Communism and it hasn’t worked either.”
Rubio accused Obama of being “quick to deal with the oppressors, but slow to deal with the oppressed” by negotiating with repressive governments without demanding changes to how they treat their own citizens.
“I will make this pledge here and now: As president, as a symbol of solidarity between my administration and those who strive for freedom around the world, I will invite Cuban dissidents, Iranian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, and freedom fighters from around the world to be honored guests at my inauguration,” Rubio said, according to MSNBC.
Rubio’s speech comes as Congress continues the process of reviewing the deal with Iran. Lawmakers have until September 17 to accept or reject it.
Republicans have objected to the deal as not tough enough to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon in the long run, while several Democrats have expressed support.
Obama, for his part, has threatened to veto any legislation passed by Congress blocking the deal. Earlier this week, he argued that Republicans oppose the deal for political reasons more than anything else.
“Unfortunately, a large portion of the Republican Party, if not a near unanimous portion of Republican representatives, are going to be opposed to anything that I do, and I have not oftentimes based that on a judgment on the merits, but have based that on their politics,” he said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday expressed his confidence that the nuclear deal with Iran will not be approved by Congress.
“Knowing what I know about the agreement,” he said, “at the end of the day, it'll be disapproved.”
McCarthy rejected the argument that the lifting of sanctions on Iran is already a done deal because of the other countries involved. “If the agreement did not go through,” he argued, “you still have the American sanctions. Countries would be in a position then to have to make a decision, do they choose to deal with the Iranian economy or the size of the American economy? I would assume more would side on the American side of the economy.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)