The Republican presidential field slammed the nuclear agreement that the United States and other world powers hammered out with Iran, warning that the deal will spark an arms race in the Middle East and leave Israel more vulnerable to an attack.
Several candidates also called on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, to denounce the deal.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who entered the race this week, described the agreement as “one of America’s worst diplomatic failures.”
“I call on all congressional leaders and presidential candidates, including Secretary Clinton, to repudiate this agreement,” he said in a statement. “Iran’s Supreme Leader should know that a future American president will not be bound by this diplomatic retreat. Undoing the damage caused by this deal won’t be easy. But when the United States leads, and has a president who isn’t eager to embrace Iran, the world will follow.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Mrs. Clinton “should be a voice of reason and oppose this deal.”
“While Secretary Clinton has been the architect of President Obama’s foreign policy, she can do the right thing and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and oppose this deal,” Mr. Jindal said.
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, celebrated the news that the P5+1 Group and Iran found common ground on Tehran’s nuclear program after more than two weeks of negotiations.
The historic deal aims to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Mr. Obama said the deal is a better alternative than going to war to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Mrs. Clinton said the agreement is a step in the right direction.
The deal, combined with the rise of Islamic militants in the Middle East, is likely to help ensure that foreign policy is front and center in the presidential contest.
A CNN/ORC poll released last month found that more than six in 10 Americans did not think the P5+1 negotiations would result in an agreement that prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Other polls have shown that a majority of Americans support an agreement that eases some of the economic sanctions in exchange for Iran’s acceptance of major restrictions on its nuclear program that do not end it completely.
They also show that a majority of Americans think the United States should take military action against Iran if it violates the agreement.
Most of the Republican presidential candidates are pledging to adopt a more muscular approach to foreign policy.
They say the United States has abandoned its global leadership role on President Obama’s watch — to the detriment of the world.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the deal with Iran will spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and he took aim at Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
“Hillary Clinton, if you think this is a good deal, you’re dangerously naive,” Mr. Graham said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think she could negotiate a better deal than this. I think everybody on our side could, except Rand Paul.”
Mr. Paul, who supported the negotiations with Iran, said he would vote against the deal. In a statement on Twitter, Mr. Paul said the deal is “bad because 1) sanctions relief precedes evidence of compliance 2) Iran is left with significant nuclear capacity 2/2.”
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said on the CBS program “This Morning” that the nation’s Arab allies and Israel have come out against the deal and that there is reason to be suspicious about the agreement.
“Iran has demonstrated bad behavior for 30 years,” Ms. Fiorina said. “We know they have been trying to cheat on this deal. We know they have been funding proxies with the strategic objective of destabilizing the region. We know that when sanctions are lifted they will have more money to fund those same proxies.”
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey also panned the deal.
“Iran joins the sad list of countries where America’s red lines have been crossed,” Mr. Christie said. “The president is playing a dangerous game with our national security, and the deal as structured will lead to a nuclear Iran and, then, a nuclearized Middle East.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the “evil Iranian regime” will now be empowered to “carry out its threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ and bring ‘death to America.’”
Mr. Huckabee, a presidential candidate who is a favorite of social conservatives and the religious right, said Secretary of State John F. Kerry should have “walked out of the sham talks and went straight to Jerusalem to stand next to [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and declared that America will stand with Israel and the other sane governments of the Middle East instead of with the terrorist government of Iran.”