Ted Cruz: US negotiators lack understanding of Iran

Texas senator joins Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel in drawing parallels between talks with Tehran and rise of Nazi Germany

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC (Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit September 26, 2014 in Washington, DC (Photo credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Monday slammed negotiators with Iran for “fundamentally” lacking understanding of their Iranian counterparts and warned that the Obama administration was leading the way to a nuclear armed Iran.

Cruz joined Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel on a forum in a Senate hearing room for a debate chaired by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and titled “The Meaning of Never Again: Guarding Against a Nuclear Iran.”

“Those who are leading this negotiation fundamentally don’t understand who it is they are negotiating with,” Cruz said, according to Bloomberg, and charged the administration of not being wholehearted in its efforts to prevent a nuclear Iran.

“I think their view is it’s perfectly acceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons, and they will be part of the rational community of nations,” Cruz said.

He also compared the talks to a 1938 deal signed with Adolf Hitler in Munich that allowed Germany to annex portions of Czechoslovakia but ultimately failed to appease the German leader.

The appearance was originally intended to be a bipartisan panel, but Democratic congressman Brad Sherman withdrew from the forum, saying an ad by organizer Boteach days earlier was “vulgar.”

In the full-page New York Times advertisement, Boteach accused National Security Adviser Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide and juxtaposed a photo of her face next to skulls.

“Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide,” the ad said.

Wiesel compared Iran’s aspirations to those of Nazi Germany and warned against being complacent.

“We have to take them [Iran] seriously,” he said of Iran. “I need proof that Iran has changed its policy. If the evil begins its work, don’t give it another chance.”

Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Cruz, a Texan lawmaker said to be holding aspirations to run for president on the GOP ticket in 2016, has in the past year met twice with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was due to give a speech to Congress on Tuesday imploring lawmakers to not back an emerging deal with Iran that the Israeli leader believes will not prevent Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu addressed a meeting of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday and defended his intention to go ahead with the speech to Congress despite open opposition from the White House.

According to a report from Politico, House Foreign Relations Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) met with the prime minister at the AIPAC conference where he warned against repeating the events in 1994 when negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program did not prevent it from producing atomic bombs.

“It turns out that things did not pan out as advertised by the administration at the time, and that’s the concern that many of us have,” Royce said.

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