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NH GOP to NH Governor: Condemn Iran Nuke Deal

Maggie Hassan dodges calls to denounce deal while Ayotte slams Obama administration

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan
Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan / AP
• July 14, 2015 1:35 pm

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Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) slammed the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday morning and the state GOP is now calling on Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who may run against Ayotte for her Senate seat, to do the same.

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday it had struck a deal with Iran that would lift sanctions while allowing the regime to continue enriching uranium, develop ballistic missile technology within a decade, and limit inspections of military facilities. Hassan dodged questions about her reaction to the agreement, according to reporter John DiStaso.

The New Hampshire GOP pounced on Hassan’s reticence.

"Governor Hassan cannot credibly claim she supports Israel if she refuses to condemn President Obama’s reckless deal that will allow the Iranian regime to develop a nuclear weapon in the future. This irresponsible agreement will not only undermine our strong alliance with Israel, but also jeopardize our national security," state Republican Chairman Jennifer Horn said in a release.

A Hassan spokesman did not return a Washington Free Beacon request for comment.

Ayotte released a statement immediately criticizing the specifics of the deal, saying it represents a "historic capitulation" that threatens American national security and that of our allies in the region and across the world.

"Initial reports indicate the deal falls dangerously short of protecting our national security interests in several critical areas and ultimately fails to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program," she said in the statement. "The agreement appears to be an historic capitulation on Iran’s nuclear program and support for terrorism in that it fails to fully guarantee unfettered ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections at any suspect site—including military bases—necessary to confirm Iran’s compliance; lifts the UN arms embargo and missile sanctions based on arbitrary dates; and legitimizes Iran’s enrichment program—potentially spurring more nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East."

Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, said all Senate candidates should closely study the consequences of the deal.

"Anyone who studies this deal will see that it allows Iran to continue developing advanced centrifuges that have no civilian purpose, that Obama caved on inspections and caved on requiring Iran to disclose its past nuclear research," Pollak said. "The world's leading state sponsor of terrorism is about to receive billions of dollars that it will spend on spreading more death and destruction. Supporting this Iran deal is supporting a more dangerous world for America and our allies."

Hassan’s foreign policy views are coming under increasing scrutiny now that she is weighing a run against Ayotte, a popular first term senator. She publicly announced her support for Israel following a Washington Free Beacon story raising questions about her church’s endorsement of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement targeting Israel, which critics say is rooted in anti-Semitism.

Hassan failed to respond to Washington Free Beacon requests for comment that day, but tweeted within two hours of the story’s publication that she "believes the BDS effort is wrong & harmful."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the deal, emphasizing that it threatened the existence of Israel.

"The world is a much more dangerous place today that it was yesterday," Netanyahu said at a press conference. "They’ve gambled that in ten years’ time Iran’s terrorist regime will change while removing any incentive for it to do so. … This cash bonanaza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, it’s aggression in the region, and it’s efforts to destroy Israel which are ongoing."

Horn, the state GOP chairman, said Hassan should take a cue from Ayotte and clarify her stance on the deal.

"If Governor Hassan is going to continue to explore a campaign for United States Senate and claim to support Israel, she has a responsibility to speak out against the Obama Administration’s reckless Iran agenda," Horn said in the statement. "Granite Staters have a right to know if likely Senate candidate Hassan is willing to march in lock step with President Obama as he pushes disastrous foreign policies that will make our world a more dangerous place to live."

Ayotte has long been skeptical of the administration’s negotiations with Iran. When the framework for negotiations was announced in the spring, she raised doubts about Secretary of State John Kerry’s ability to leverage concessions from the Ayatollah to abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Given Iran's history of failing to comply with UN resolutions and continued deceit regarding its nuclear program, any final agreement must include unlimited, unannounced, and completely unfettered nuclear inspections throughout Iran," Ayotte said in April. "Given these serious concerns and in light of the enormous security implications of any final agreement, I believe it is imperative that the full details of any final agreement be released publicly and that the president first allow the people's elected representatives in Congress—rather than the UN—to review any final agreement before any sanctions are lifted by the administration."

Ayotte co-sponsored the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which gives congressional oversight to the final agreement. She touted that bill as a solution after Tuesday’s deal was announced.

"As a cosponsor of legislation that ensures Congress and the American people have a say on the final agreement, I believe there should be a robust debate about whether this agreement will fully protect America, our allies, and our national security interests," Ayotte said in Tuesday’s release.

Hassan, a popular governor, is being recruited by national Democrats to challenge Ayotte in 2016, but has yet to declare her candidacy.