It was a mistake for the United States to ease up on sanctions to begin talks with Iran, says Republican former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra.
"That's a very low price of entry for Iran, I mean it's a great price of entry. All we have to do is talk and you're going to ease economic sanctions. It's what Iran has always been about.
"It's always bargaining about time, it's always trying to get a little bit more time to develop its nuclear weapons program, to enhance its other terrorist capabilities, and right now to really enhance its capabilities in a very scary area, which is to enhance its cyberwarfare capabilities both defensively and, of more of a concern, its offensive capability," Hoekstra told Newsmax TV's John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Tuesday.
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Hoekstra's comments followed John Kerry's remarks to AIPAC on Monday night, when the secretary of state urged support for efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to get Iran to agree to abandon its nuclear program.
"The administration, Secretary Kerry, they're in a very, very weak position. They've moved the U.S. into an even weaker position. I'm surprised that he got any kind of a reception at AIPAC that was anything other than just getting booed out of the room. They jeopardized Israel's national security," he said.
Hoekstra, who represented Michigan's Second Congressional District, served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2007.
Asked whether he thought there was any truth to reports that the administration is asking Israel to be more restrained in its efforts to contain the Iranian program, Hoekstra replied:
"I would believe that there's some credibility to those reports. From my perspective, the United States, Israel, and others who are really committed to stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, as these talks are going on, we should continue to engage in whatever efforts we can to sidetrack, derail, whatever analogy you want to use, whatever phrase you want to use . . . we shouldn't stop our efforts to stop their nuclear program. But this administration, clearly, they're bowing to Iran and they're badgering our allies. It's really amazing."
Hoekstra said that what is going on in Iran is related to what is taking place in Ukraine, explaining, "The bottom line with what's happening in Ukraine is there's new fault lines between Russia, the U.K., France, the United States, and that fault line means that Russia is going to develop a closer relationship with Iran, which means that the P5+1 talks on an Iranian nuclear program, they're doomed to fail. Russia is not going to exert or use any pressure to get Iran to a negotiating table."
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