By reaching a historic deal that forces Iran to significantly scale back its nuclear program, President Obama has brought the world closer to nuclear war than it has been since World War II, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Cheney told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday that the deal will not only enable Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, but motivate its enemies in the Middle East to develop their own nukes, setting off a potentially catastrophic arms race.
“That will, in fact, put us closer to the actual use of nuclear weapons than we’ve been at any time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II,” Cheney said, apparently suggesting that the Iran deal constitutes a greater threat of atomic war than the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
President Obama has defended the deal Tuesday, saying it is “not built on trust. It is built on verification.” International inspectors will have “24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities,” Obama added. In exchange for curbing its nuclear program, Iran will receive relief from sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy.
Cheney argued that the inspection regime mandated in the deal is inadequate, allowing the Iranian state too much time to prepare their facilities for observation, while secretly continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Cheney added that even as President Obama is enabling Iran’s nuclear proliferation, the president has been reducing his own country’s nuclear capability.
“Obama keeps talking about getting rid of all nuclear weapons, he’s already significantly reduced our capabilities there,” the former vice president said.
As of September 2014, the U.S. had a stockpile of 4,717 nuclear warheads, according to the State Department.
Cheney argued that Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern powers will no longer be willing to rely on the United States’ nuclear arsenal for their protection.
“He’s not a man of his word. He’s not a man who can be trusted,” Cheney said of Obama. “And I think our allies who find their very survival at question here, there isn’t any way they’re going to rely upon Barack Obama for safety and security. They’re going to get their own.”
Toward the end of his interview with Hannity, Cheney said that he had tried to see the world through Obama’s eyes but found himself incapable.
“I try to understand what it is Barrack Obama thinks he’s achieving here, why he looks at the world in a different light than anybody else does,” Cheney said, referencing Obama’s decision to sign a deal supported by the leaders of China, France, Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom. “But he either does not understand or chooses to ignore reality.”