Former vice president Dick Cheney delivered a speech against the president’s nuclear deal at the American Enterprise Institute on Monday, calling it "madness" that will empower an anti-American and anti-Semitic regime.
Cheney fielded a question from Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), a veteran of the Iraq War and strong critic of the deal.
"The last question is from Sen. Tom Cotton," former Bush administration speechwriter Marc Thiessen said. "The president has said he will confront Iran's regional aggression after this deal is implemented. What steps should this confrontation include to stop Iran's aggression and reassure Israel and our Sunni partners?"
"I’ll believe it when I see it," Cheney said.
Cheney said it is disingenuous to say the U.S. will stop Iranian aggression when the nuclear deal gives Iran the means to act aggressively, as Obama administration officials have admitted.
"I think you've given them an enormous shot in the arm in terms of their support for illicit regimes, and then you're going to turn around and mount military operations somehow to take 'em down?" Cheney said. "It doesn't fit. It doesn't calculate in my mind."
Under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran will pause its nuclear program for a decade in exchange for roughly $100 billion in previously frozen assets. Iran will also receive sanctions relief on its arms trade, intercontinental ballistic program, and Quds Force, the military group responsible for assisting Iran’s proxies and exporting the Islamic revolution abroad.
The Iran deal has already prevented Obama from taking action against a violent Iranian proxy, Cheney said. He speculated that the president backed down on his "red line" against Syrian chemical weapons use in 2013 to protect the delicate negotiations that were ongoing with Iran at the time.
"He was in that phase of the process where he did not want to offend the Iranians who were closely tied to Syrians," Cheney said. "So I think the deal had a direct result of limiting the administration's actions with respect to the Syrian case."