Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, announcing her support for the Iran nuclear agreement, said as president she would not hesitate to take military action should Tehran attempt to build a nuclear weapon.
«The United States will never allow you to acquire a nuclear weapon,» she said, referring to Iran.
The former secretary of state spoke Wednesday at the Brookings Institution, defending the deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five other world powers.
Clinton’s speech Wednesday was part of dueling political events in Washington to discuss the merits of the Iran nuclear deal.
Businessman Donald Trump will team up with fellow Republican presidential hopeful, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and other major conservative figures at the U.S. Capitol for the «Stop the Iran Nuclear Deal Rally,» scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT (17 GMT).
The campaign events underscore the deep political divide over the Iran agreement, which is opposed by every Republican presidential candidate, but supported by most of the major Democratic presidential hopefuls.
In an opinion piece posted late Tuesday on the USA Today website, Trump offered a fresh critique of the deal, saying «it is hard to believe» the president would sign an agreement that was «so poorly constructed and so poorly negotiated.»
«It was amateur hour for those charged with striking this deal with Iran, demonstrating to the world, yet again, the total incompetence of our president and politicians,» said the blunt-speaking billionaire real estate mogul, who has attempted to portray himself as a master negotiator.
FILE – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign town hall, at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, Aug. 19, 2015.
Trump, who has a commanding early lead among Republican presidential candidates, is appearing at the Capitol rally at the invitation of his rival, Cruz. The Texas senator and Tea Party favorite has been reluctant to criticize Trump, instead hoping cooperation with Trump will improve his lagging poll numbers.
Clinton supports the Iran deal as the «best alternative» to another U.S. war in the region.
The deal appears to now be assured of Congressional approval. She said Wednesday, “We’ve got to start looking forward to what comes next – enforcing the deal.”
But she has also made clear that, if elected, she will take a tough stance against Tehran if it breaks the terms of the agreement, including making it official policy to take military action if Iran moves toward building a nuclear weapon.
That would appear to go a step further than President Barack Obama, who has repeatedly vowed that a military option remains on the table if Iran does not abide by the deal.
Congress debate continues
U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday will resume debate on the agreement, a day after Senate Democrats locked up the 41 votes necessary to block a congressional resolution opposing the pact.
Securing the votes means President Obama will not likely be forced to follow through on his threat to use a veto against any resolution of disapproval of the deal.
The agreement reached by Iran, the U.S. and five other major world powers in July aims to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in international sanctions relief.