It’s not news that Marco Rubio is opposed to the deal with Iran, but he made a truly laughable assertion as part of his response:
A third-rate autocracy has now been given equality with a world power, the United States of America.
This is obviously not true. Iran has agreed to accept stricter limitations on its nuclear program than the NPT requires it to accept, and it has done this under significant international pressure. If Iran were being treated as an equal to the U.S., none of this would have happened. Over the next ten to fifteen years, Iran isn’t even being permitted the same treatment that is afforded to all other members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Rubio’s assertion is a lie, but it is such a baseless one that it seems a foolish thing to say for someone who wants to be taken seriously as presidential candidate. So why say it?
Presumably he wants to create the false impression that a deal that constrains Iran is instead empowering it. This is similar to the rhetorical maneuver that Iran hawks use when they falsely say that the deal “paves” the way for an Iranian nuclear weapon. The only sense in which Iran has been granted anything like “equality” with the U.S. is that it has been party to the negotiations that produced the deal. Instead of having terms dictated to it by the major powers, Iran was allowed to retain something of its nuclear program and was not made to give up everything. There was a mutually satisfactory compromise. It is that compromise that really irks the hawks.
Steve Chapman observes that this is a recurring theme in hawkish attacks on arms control agreements and diplomatic engagement in general:
The particulars of any deal are not the problem. Arms control and diplomacy are the problem because they require us to bargain with our adversaries to achieve compromises that serve the interests of each side. They obligate us to behave as though hostile governments have a right to exist.
This hostility to diplomacy is part of the hawkish all-or-nothing mentality that I’ve mentioned before. The details of any deal are almost irrelevant, since any deal that could be negotiated in the real world would always be too much of a compromise to be acceptable to them.