US Senator Tom Cotton, known for his close ties to a neoconservative group, says the Obama administration’s efforts in nuclear negotiations with Iran could lead to a nuclear confrontation.
“If we agreed to the kind of proposal the Obama administration has made, then military confrontation may be further off, but it might also be nuclear,” the freshman Republican from Arkansas said in an interview with The Atlantic, published on Monday.
A landmark framework nuclear agreement was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – in Switzerland on April 2. The two sides will work to draw up a final accord by the end of June.
Sen. Cotton, who has emerged as a key opponent of the nuclear talks with Iran, said a final nuclear agreement would put the Islamic Republic “on the path to being a nuclear-arms state.”
“And I think once Iran becomes a nuclear-arms state, this will lead inevitably to some kind of military confrontation,” he said. “It may not be initially with the United States, but I think that’s virtually inevitable.”
Last month, Cotton convinced 46 Senate Republicans to sign an open letter to Iran’s leaders in an attempt to undermine the nuclear negotiations, which had entered a crucial stage.
In the letter, Cotton warned Iran that a nuclear deal would stand only while President Barack Obama was in the White House.
The Kansas Republican told The Atlantic he wrote the letter because “Iran’s leaders needed to hear the message loud and clear.”
Cotton has repeatedly vowed to block the framework agreement which he described as “a list of dangerous US concessions that will put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons.”
Last week, he called on the Obama administration not to take the military option off the table while the P5+1 group is negotiating with Iran.
Cotton suggested on Tuesday that a military action against Iran would go much smoother than the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“Even if military action were required — and we certainly should have kept the credible threat of military force on the table throughout, which always improves diplomacy — the president is trying to make you think it would be 150,000 heavy mechanized troops on the ground in the Middle East again as we saw in Iraq, and that’s simply not the case,” he said.
The freshman Republican received huge sums from pro-Israel donors in the 2014 election cycle.
The Emergency Committee for Israel, led by William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, contributed $960,000 to Cotton’s campaign, while a firm associated with Paul Singer, a leading pro-Israel donor from New York, spent $250,000 to support him, according to the New York Times.