Former Vice President Dick Cheney denounced the U.S.’ nuclear deal with Iran Tuesday, calling for a “credible threat of military force” to stop Iran’s ambitions.
Addressing a friendly audience at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Cheney insisted he was speaking not as a former public official but “as a citizen” with “deep concerns” about the agreement. The speech was given in light of an upcoming congressional vote, in which opponents of the deal hope to reach a two-thirds majority rejecting the agreement. (RELATED: Unlike Obama, Iran’s Ayatollah Encourages A Vote On Nuke Deal)
Cheney argued that rather than preventing the Iranian regime from developing a nuclear regime, President Barack Obama had consistently allowed Iran to define the terms of the negotiations, going all the way back to secret two-way talks held in Oman in 2012. “So much for negotiation without preconditions,” Cheney said. The principles that have framed U.S. talks with Iran for years “were in fact preconditions, they just weren’t ours.”
The former vice president listed several reassurances that the Obama administration had provided to the American people before dismissing them in a final agreement. Those included the timeline and mechanism of sanctions relief on Iran, as well as the process by which inspectors will verify that Iranian research sites are not pursuing nuclear enrichment.
Instead of the “snap-back” sanctions that Obama had promised, for example, Cheney said that under the current deal, “discoveries of violations by the Iranians would be followed by long international debates on every detail.” And unfrozen Iranian assets under a final arrangement would total more than Iran’s entire government budget, giving the country ample resources to fund terrorism abroad and pursue its anti-American agenda. (RELATED: Chief Of Iran’s Elite Guard Corps Says Hostility With US ‘Has Increased’)
Against the White House’s claims that the only alternative to a deal is war, “arming and funding Iran while simultaneously providing them with a pathway to a nuclear arsenal is not an act of peace,” Cheney said. “It is madness.”
Cheney compared the situation to the U.S. and Israel confronting nuclear enrichment by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1981, Moammar Gadhafi’s Libya in 2003 and Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea in 2007. In each case, a real or threatened attack on the facilities in question dissuaded the country from going further.
But under Obama, Cheney said, that threat is nonexistent. And besides, “the state of the Defense Department budget is seriously depressed” under sequestration policies.
The event was briefly disrupted by a protester from activist organization Code Pink, a young woman who unfurled a banner and shouted, “Dick Cheney is a war criminal!” The AEI audience repeatedly booed and shouted down the demonstrator before staff escorted her out of the room.
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