Gov. Jeb Bush slammed the Obama administration’s framework nuclear agreement with Iran as “very naïve” during a private event on Thursday morning, saying it would “create instability for a long, long while” and make it more difficult for the United States or Israel to take military action.
“There’s some belief [in the Obama administration] that the Ayatollahs will just go quietly into the night,” said Bush during a closed-door question-and-answer session with high school students at the Ramaz School in Manhattan.
“It’s hard for me to imagine that, because while we were negotiating, [the Iranian regime] continued with the ‘Death to America’ rallies every weekend,” he said. “While we were negotiating it, the Supreme Leader sends out a five point power point presentation calling for the annihilation of Israel.”
The former Florida Republican governor and potential 2016 candidate was speaking at the Jewish day school to mark the celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
Bush said the nuclear framework agreement was troubling, based on details that have emerged so far, because it would legitimize the regime while allowing Tehran to bolster its missile launch technology and defense capabilities.
Recent reports indicate Russia might sell the advanced S-300 anti-missile system to Iran, which could help it to fend off an attack on its nuclear facilities.
“If you allow for the Russians to sell anti-missile capabilities that are the best in the world, that makes it harder for the one leverage that we should have, which is a military option,” said Bush.
He added that the agreement would eradicate the United States’ economic leverage through the lifting of sanctions and encourage nuclear proliferation in the region.
“There are a lot of reasons why this is a bad deal,” said Bush. “I don't know if it's going to be agreed on or not, but I think it would create instability for a long, long while without the kind of returns that the president expects. It’s very naïve.”
Bush also gave brief remarks about his experiences in Israel, which he has visited five times.
He praised the country for its “incredible diversity” and “shared values.”
“By having this ironclad friendship and commitment to Israel we’re also protecting our homeland as well,” said Bush.
The potential 2016 contender recently came under fire from the pro-Israel community for bringing on former Secretary of State James Baker, a long-time critic of Israel, as a foreign policy adviser. Baker gave the headline address at the annual conference for the left-leaning Middle East lobbying group J Street in March.
Bush visited the Ramaz School after meeting with donors in New York Thursday morning where he distanced himself from Baker, according to CNN. During the 30-minute discussion he also fielded questions from students on the 2016 election, Common Core, and immigration reform.