Comments by Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican, in a hearing on the Iran nuclear agreement have sparked concern.
In a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on July 29 at which Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and others testified on the pending nuclear pact, Tillis spoke out against it.
The military news website, Military.com, quoted Tillis as saying that negotiating with Iran was futile because, “These people are evil people. They’re dangerous.”
Fair.org, a liberal-leaning media watchdog website, criticized Tillis for his comment – and the media for failing to report on it, claiming the American media rarely criticizes politicians who make “racist” statements about Iranians.
The record show Tillis’ remark was made while he was questioning Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, and was taken out of its wider context. Tillis had said the Iranian regime was the problem, not the Iranian people.
He asked Dempsey about responses to the activities of “the Iran terror network,” which Tillis said was expanding its cyber capabilities, weapons trafficking and ballistic missile program.
“These are evil people,” Tillis said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “And they’re going to continue to expand in the areas where they think they can. They’re people who have violated 27 international agreements or treaties. They have violated some of the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty...What looks measurably different to make us feel like we’re in a position to make it untenable to the Iranian leadership to move forward with a nuclear weapon?”
“Senator, first I want to highlight the fact that when we talk about Iran, it’s really the regime, and I know you know that,” Dempsey said.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Tillis responded. “It’s not about the Iranians.”