Jeb Vows Stronger Relationship with Israel to Confront Iran
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday pledged to confront Iran’s military ambitions and redo the nuclear deal signed with the Iranian regime last July on Day One by reestablishing a strong diplomatic and military relationship with Israel, as well as imposing additional sanctions on Iran.
In an hour-long conversation with at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Bush argued that the Iran nuclear deal has emboldened Iran in a way that has allowed them to up their game on the non-nuclear front without indicating a change in behavior. “After the agreement was signed and we’ve patted ourselves on the back, we’ve seen Iran twice now test long- and medium-range missile capability against the sanctions that have been imposed ,” Bush pointed out. “We’ve seen more imprisonment, more executions. We’ve seen their leaders continue the “Death to Israel,” “Death to America” chants almost every week. We’ve seen a more aggressive Iran as it relates to support for the Shia militia in Iraq. The support for Hezbollah has become stronger. They’ve doubled down on it.”
He also contended that the deal “makes it harder for us to be able to mobilize the necessary support in the Sunni Arab world to be able to support a Sunni-led army in Syria that ultimately has to be the entity that takes out ISIS.”
So, if elected as president, what will Jeb Bush do on Day One?
“Going forward, we have to confront those ambitions, made harder by the $100 billion. We confront it by reestablishing sanctions wherever possible,” the Republican presidential hopeful said. “We confront it by reestablishing a stronger relationship with Israel. They may not think that we’re serious, although they will over time. They certainly think that Israel is serious. And so two substantive acts would be, one, symbolic: Move the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Two, if it’s not already done, reauthorize the technology agreement that gives Israel certainty that they will have technological advantage of any of the threats that they face in the Middle East.”
According to Bush, “The agreement itself cannot be complied with. The fallacy of saying, well, we’re just going to deal with the nuclear program and not deal with all the other elements that are as destabilizing as the nuclear agreement is just the wrong way to go.”
Jeb’s Republican rival, Marco Rubio, speaking on Fox n’ Friends Tuesday morning, offered a tougher approach to confront Iran by reiterating his pledge to rip up the nuclear deal and impose even harsher sanctions on the regime. “First of all, my first day in office we’re going to cancel the deal with Iran,” said Rubio. “We are not going to turn over billions of dollars in sanctions relief to a government that is developing long range missiles, sponsors Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, props up Assad, and by the way, has always had a nuclear program, and I believe will eventually use that money to either buy or build a nuclear warhead to hold the world hostage, including America.”
Rubio said he will also ask Congress not just to reauthorize the existing sanctions for a longer period of time “but to increase them – particularly on specific sectors of the Iranian economy to ensure they have less resources than they have now to continue what they’re doing: building up their military and their nuclear program.”
“Then I’m going to make very clear to the world that we are strongly on Israel’s side,” the Florida Senator proclaimed. ” That we’re going to do everything possible to provide strength and security to Israel in their face-off not just against Iran, but others in the region that threaten them, and fourth, we are going to build a missile defense shield to protect America and our allies from the prospects that Iran could one day acquire a long range missile capable of reaching the mainland of the United States.”