GOP Presidential Candidates Blast Iran Deal in Primetime Debate

Ten Republican presidential candidates participated in Fox News’s primetime debate:

  • businessman Donald Trump,
  • former Florida Governor Jeb Bush,
  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker,
  • former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee,
  • neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson,
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz,
  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio,
  • Kentucky Senator Rand Paul,
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and
  • Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Walker said that if the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, negotiated by the Obama administration and pending congress review, is signed and he is elected president, he will cancel it immediately:

I still remember, as a kid, tying a yellow ribbon around a tree in front of my house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. Iran is not a place we should be doing business with.

To me, you terminate the deal on day one, you reinstate the sanctions authorized by Congress, you go to Congress and put in place even more crippling sanctions in place, and then you convince our allies to do the same.

This is not just bad with Iran, this is bad with ISIS. It is tied together, and, once and for all, we need a leader who’s gonna stand up and do something about it.

Paul criticized the agreement as well, mentioning former President Ronald Reagan as an example for a better approach:

I’m a Reagan conservative. Reagan did negotiate with the Soviets. But you have to negotiate from a position of strength, and I think President Obama gave away too much, too early.

If there’s going to be a negotiation, you’re going to have to believe somehow that the Iranians are going to comply. I asked this question to John Kerry, I said “do you believe they’re trustworthy?” and he said “No.”

And I said, “well, how are we gonna get them to comply?” I would have never released the sanctions before there was consistent evidence of compliance.

Huckabee mentioned Reagan as well:

Ronald Reagan said “trust, but verify.” President Obama is “trust, but vilify.” He trusts our enemies and vilifies everyone who disagrees with him. And the reason we disagree with him has nothing to do with party. It has to do with the incredibly dangerous place that this world is gonna be as a result of a deal in which we got nothing.

We didn’t even get four hostages out. We got nothing, and Iran gets everything they want. We said we would have anywhere, anytime negotiations and inspections, we gave that up. We said that we would make sure that they didn’t have any nuclear capacity, we gave that up.

The president can’t tell you what we got. I’ll tell you what the world got. The world has a burgeoning nuclear power that didn’t, as the Soviets, say “we might defend ourselves in a war.” What the Iranians have said is, “we will wipe Israel off the face of the map, and we will bring death to America.”

When someone points a gun at your head and loads it, by God, you ought to take them seriously, and we need to take that seriously.

Iran Lawmaker Admits: Sanctions Caused 45% Drop In Oil Revenue

Abadan Oil Refinery— by David Streeter

The AP reported that an Iranian lawmaker admitted that the international sanctions movement led by President Barack Obama has caused a devastating 45% drop in Iran’s oil revenue. According to the AP:

Iran’s revenues from vital oil and gas exports have dropped by 45 percent because of sanctions over its suspect nuclear program, a senior lawmaker said Monday, a clear admission that sanctions over Iran’s suspect nuclear program are having a severe impact. […]

Gholam Reza Kateb, head of the parliament’s budget committee, said oil exports have dropped 40 percent in the last nine months compared to the corresponding period last year. He said banking sanctions also contributed to the 45 percent reduction in revenues.

After the jump: Newly-Appointed Senate Comissioner Rand Paul Wants to See “Gradual” Cuts to Israel’s Aid‏.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions and Western oil, banking and trade restrictions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which is a potential pathway for nuclear weapons development. The U.S. and its allies believe Iran might be on a path toward producing nuclear bombs. […]

Crude oil exports account for nearly 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue.

Kateb said details of the steep revenue drop emerged Monday in a report by Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi to the parliament on the status of crude oil and liquid gas sales.

‘On the basis of the report, oil sales are down 40 percent and income has dropped 45 percent in the last nine months,’ Kateb was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying. […]

The government is already facing a cash crunch from the drop in oil revenues as a result of Western sanctions that Iran calls it an ‘economic war.’ […]

In another sign of the effectiveness of the sanctions, most flights operated by Iranian airlines to domestic and international destinations have been cancelled because of unpaid debts. […]

Iranian airlines nearly doubled prices of plane tickets in November because of higher fuel prices and the plunging value of the Iranian rial against foreign currencies.

Senator Rand Paul Wants to See “Gradual” Cuts to Israel’s Aid‏Rand Paul in Louisville
On his current trip to the Middle East, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) — who is among the newest members to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — said that he would like to see “gradual” cuts to Israel’s aid.

The Jerusalem Post reported (emphasis added):

[Senator Paul] said he favored a gradual reduction of US foreign aid, which he said stands at approximately $30 billion a year.

About $3b. goes to Israel annually in military aid, 74 percent of which must be spent in the US.

‘I’m all for gradualism,’ he said. ‘I would start a little more quickly with those who are enemies of Israel, and enemies of the US. I would like to see their aid end more quickly. With regards to Israel, it could be a gradual phenomenon.’

“As we’ve said many times before, Senator Paul’s misguided views on aid to Israel are plain wrong and do not reflect the myriad benefits that come from American assistance to Israel,” said NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris.

As we predicted on Friday, Paul’s appointment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would give him a bigger platform from which to spout his radical views. It appears that we were correct — and pro-Israel Republicans are utterly failing to intervene. Now is as good a time as any for them to take a stand against Paul’s dangerous vision for Israel’s aid — as many pro-Israel Democratic senators did when he first started pushing for cuts to Israel’s aid.