Kaine, Pence Spar Over Israel, Iran Deal in Vice Presidential Debate
JNS.org – Vice presidential nominees Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) both invoked Israel during a lively discussion over the merits of the Iranian nuclear deal in the first and only vice presidential debate at Virginia’s Longwood University Tuesday night.
Kaine, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s running mate, repeatedly praised the Iran nuclear deal throughout the debate as having “stopped” the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program “without firing a shot.”
However, Pence, billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate, shot back at one point, saying, “You didn’t stop the nuclear weapons program. You essentially guaranteed that Iran will someday become a nuclear power because there’s no limitations once the period time of the treaty comes off.”
Invoking Israel, Kaine said that “even the Israeli military says it stopped.”
Later in the debate, when the issue of the Iran nuclear program came up again, Pence criticized Kaine for “boycotting” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress in March 2015 over the dangers of the nuclear deal.
Pence also again disputed Kaine’s claim that the deal prevented Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, saying, “Well, that’s not what Israel thinks.”
“Gadi Eisenkot, you can go check it,” Kaine responded naming the IDF’s chief of staff.
Earlier this year, Eisenkot said in a speech that the deal was a “historic turning point” and that it marked “a big change in terms of the direction that Iran was headed, and in the way that we saw things.” However, the IDF chief stopped short of endorsing the deal.