Scott Walker Challenges President Obama to Game of Cards on Iran

If elected, Walker says he'll pull back on any deal Obama reaches.

ByABC News
July 13, 2015, 6:49 PM

— -- As Secretary of State John Kerry closes in on a possible nuclear deal with Iran, Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is sharply critical of the deal being finalized and says he’d like to challenge President Obama to a game of cards on the issue.

“I'd love to play cards with the president on this issue,” Walker told ABC News’ David Muir in an exclusive interview ahead of his official presidential campaign launch today, “because it seems to me that every time he folds on the things that are important to us, the reality is that I'd be willing to negotiate with Iran if they were willing to do things like fully dismantle their illicit nuclear infrastructure.”

Though Walker says he is not opposed to negotiating with Iran under the right terms, which he said should include Iran first recognizing Israel as a legitimate state, he believes that the Obama's administration’s handling of the negotiations has given “new life” to Iran through the easing of some sanctions -- calling the negotiations one of the biggest failures of the “Obama-Clinton doctrine.”

“The reason Iran engaged in wanting to do this deal was because they had somebody who was willing to act with them and really, you look down the list, there's a number of things the president said, even within the last two years, he wasn't going to do that are a part of this deal,” he said.

If elected, Walker says he’d pull back from any agreement the Obama administration may agree to as part of the ongoing P5+1 negotiations and put “crippling sanctions” back in place against Iran. It’s a reversal of policy that Walker says is within reach for the next commander-in-chief to accomplish, since the current deal does not require Congressional approval.

“The only good thing about this deal,” he said, is that “the president didn't have the courage to take it before the United States Senate. So that means, as the next president of the United States, we can pull back on it on day one.”

In talking about the global struggle against radical Islamic terrorism, Walker says Iran is part of the problem.

“When we talk about radical Islamic terrorism, it's not just ISIS or al-Qaeda, there's connections to Iran,” he said. “You’ve got a country...that is an active supporter of terrorist activities, and certainly has not only got problems with the United States; they want to annihilate our ally in Israel. These are all major problems that they need to correct before any deal would go forward.”

Walker’s view on Iran is also painted by his friendship with a Wisconsin man, Kevin Hermening, who was one of the hostages held during the crisis in 1979 and 1980.

“He was the youngest hostage held for 444 days when Iran held hostages back in '79 and '80, up until the first day of Ronald Reagan's presidency,” Walker said. “And I don't see Iran having changed a whole lot from when Kevin and the other hostages were released. This is not a country we should be doing business with.”

Hermening was in the audience Monday evening when Walker took the stage to launch his presidential campaign in Waukesha, Wisconsin.