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Cruz: Iran Deal Likely To Force Next President To Take "Direct Military Action"

"I think it is likely the next president will be advised in January ’17, you have two and only two choices: either you acquiesce to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon or direct military action must be used to take it out."

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Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on Saturday that the deal to restrict Iran's nuclear program and lift economic sanctions on the country would likely force the next president to take "direct military action" to prevent a nuclear catastrophe that "could cost the lives of tens of millions of Americans."

The Texas senator said in an interview with the Trail Talk podcast over the weekend that it was "very likely that a new president" would be told, in January 2017, that Iran was "on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons." Cruz said the deal rendered economic sanctions "no longer an effective tool," and therefore the new president would be presented with two choices: "acquiesce" or attack.

He said that the "unacceptably high" odds of Iran using a nuclear weapon if it acquired one made it so that President Obama had essentially forced his successor into taking the military option.

"I think it is likely the next president will be advised in January '17, you have two and only two choices," Cruz said. "Either you acquiesce to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon or direct military action must be used to take it out. I think that's unfortunate but that's what President Obama is forcing."

Cruz added that Iran could launch a nuclear warhead from a ship off the Atlantic Coast, setting off an "electromagnetic pulse," which would "take down the electrical grid for the entire Eastern seaboard." Such a disaster, he said, could leave tens of millions of people "unable to get food and water."

"The projections are that tens of millions of Americans would die, as they were unable to get food and water and the basic foodstuffs of life," Cruz said. "That's the threat President Obama's nuclear deal provides and anyone who is remotely qualified to be commander in chief needs to be prepared to do whatever is necessary prevent a threat that could cost the lives of tens of millions of Americans."

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Here are Cruz's full comments:

CRUZ: "If Congress does not stop this deal, I think it will be the single greatest challenge a new president in January '17 will confront because it is very likely that a new president when he or she sits down in the Oval Office for the first security briefing, will be told that Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons and because President Obama unraveled the international consensus on sanctions, sanctions will no longer be an effective tool. Because even if you wanted to reimpose sanctions, it would take months, even years, if ever, to bring foreign countries back together in an effective sanctions regime, which means that tool, President Obama's effectively taken away from the next president. I think it is likely the next president will be advised in January '17, you have two and only two choices: either you acquiesce to Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon or direct military action must be used to take it out. I think that's unfortunate but that's what President Obama is forcing."

QUESTION: "And President Cruz would entertain a direct military?"

CRUZ: "Under no circumstances would I allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. And I believe any responsible commander in chief should be prepared to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons because if they acquired those weapons, the odds are unacceptably high that they would use them in the skies of Tel Aviv or New York or Los Angeles. That getting this decision wrong could result in the deaths of millions of Americans and in fact it's even worse than that. One of the greatest threats of an Iranian nuke is if they had one nuclear warhead and they put it on a ship anywhere off the Atlantic seaboard and they fired it on a missile straight up in the air into the atmosphere and detonated a nuclear weapon, it would set off what's known as an electromagnetic pulse—an EMP, which would take down the electrical grid for the entire Eastern seaboard. The projections are that tens of millions of Americans would die, as they were unable to get food and water and the basic foodstuffs of life. That's the threat President Obama's nuclear deal provides and anyone who is remotely qualified to be Commander in Chief needs to be prepared to do whatever is necessary prevent a threat that could cost the lives of tens of millions of Americans."

Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.

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