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Marco Rubio Defends His ‘Poison Pill’ Iran Amendment

The Florida senator battles Obama by imagining an apocalyptic battle with Iran.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, exits after speaking during the Leadership Forum at the 144th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., on Friday, April 10, 2015.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, exits after speaking during the Leadership Forum at the 144th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., on Friday, April 10, 2015.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Democrats call it a "poison pill." South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham calls it a "message," functionally meaningless, except as a distraction from the Iran negotiations. But speaking Friday morning at National Review's semi-annual Ideas summit, Florida Senator Marco Rubio strongly defended his amendment that would require the Islamic republic to recognize Israel as part of any arms deal.

"The criticism of that is that there are a bunch of countries in the Middle East that don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist," Rubio said. "Which is true. But none of them are trying to build a nuclear weapon. And none of them have billions of dollars of sanctions, and if we lift those sanctions, we are handing over billions of dollars to the Iranian regime."