Tags: Homeland Security | Iran | War on Terrorism | iran | nuclear deal | tom cotton | war

Sen. Cotton: Iran Deal May Put US on Path to Nuclear War

By    |   Monday, 13 April 2015 02:24 PM

Sen. Tom Cotton warns in a new interview that President Barack Obama's negotiations with Iran have failed to yield meaningful concessions from the Islamist regime and may have put the United States on a path to nuclear war.

The Arkansas Republican, who has made a case for a limited campaign of airstrikes targeting Iran's nuclear facilities, was asked by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg whether that approach might lead to Iranian retaliation against U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf or U.S. military facilities in Bahrain and Qatar.

"I think the president is his own worst witness against this proposed course of action," Cotton answered. Obama, he recounted, recently said in "almost mocking terms" that the Iranian military — which spends $30 billion annually on defense, a fraction of the $600 billion a year spent by the United States — realizes that it lacks the military capability to challenge the United States.

Obama's point "is correct," Cotton said. "Not only do we have the ability to substantially degrade their nuclear facilities, but we have the capability, along with our Gulf allies, who have increased their military spending by over 50 percent, to largely protect them from any kind of retaliatory air or naval strikes."

No workable nuclear deal is attainable within the nuclear framework recently negotiated by Washington and Tehran, according to Cotton.

"There's no deal within the framework, in my opinion. There's a long list of concessions that Iran's leaders continue to dispute they actually made," Cotton said. U.S. negotiators, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, "were focused on getting any kind of deal they could. Now we're to the point where it is considered unrealistic to expect the United States to demand that Iran not engage in terrorism."

Cotton said the Iranians responded to "incentives" from the United States because, at present, they lack nuclear weapons and "are susceptible to [the threat of attack] from the U.S. military," much as Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was when he agreed to relinquish his weapons of mass destruction more than a decade ago.

"But I think you can't count on that kind of attitude if they were to get nuclear weapons," Cotton said.

Cotton sharply disputed Goldberg's suggestion that Iran had "made tremendous concessions" in the recent nuclear talks. For one thing, the Arkansas Republican expressed doubt that anything Tehran has agreed to amounts to much of a concession "when, by the terms of their own proposal, President Obama has conceded that Iran will build and develop a nuclear weapon 11 years from today."

Cotton noted that Obama said in 2013 "that Iran does not need an underground fortified bunker at Fordow."

Now, however, the administration has "conceded that they will have centrifuge cascades in that bunker," Cotton said.

He expressed skepticism that blocking the Iran deal would result in an arms race and a more unstable region.

"If they accept the terms of the deal, they could be in the same position regardless in one year. They could just cheat on the deal anyway. There is a long and ignominious history of rogue regimes like Iran accepting these deals and immediately starting to cheat, as happened in North Korea, as happened in Iraq," Cotton said.

He expressed doubt that the United Nations would be able to act in a timely or meaningful way if Iran cheated on a deal.

"The idea that a one-year breakout time — even if you thought that was technically correct — the idea that all of a sudden you're going to have inspectors catch this in a country the size of Iran, who immediately are able to report back, and then you’re going to develop a consensus in the civilized world, at the [International Atomic Energy Agency] or the U.N. Security Council, and then you're going to impose sanctions" is "just fanciful, completely fanciful," he said.

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Sen. Tom Cotton warns in a new interview that President Barack Obama's negotiations with Iran have failed to yield meaningful concessions from the Islamist regime and may have put the United States on a path to nuclear war.
iran, nuclear deal, tom cotton, war
Monday, 13 April 2015 02:24 PM
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