Republican Mike Huckabee compares Iran nuclear deal to Holocaust
Republican US presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has criticised the Iran nuclear deal as "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven," a reference to the Holocaust.
The former Arkansas governor tweeted the remark on Sunday, a day after first making the comparison when denouncing US President Barack Obama for his role in the agreement.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Huckabee's statement was "grossly irresponsible" and called on him to apologise.
But a spokeswoman for Mr Huckabee said his comments reflect a long-standing position that "the Iran deal is a bad deal, bad for America and bad for Israel". Huckabee's tweet called on Congress to reject the nuclear deal.
"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history," Mr Huckabee said in an interview with Breitbart News. "He's so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven."
When asked about the comments at a news conference in Addis Ababa, where he was meeting with Ethiopian officials, Mr Obama said they were part of a pattern of attacks by 2016 Republican presidential candidates that would be "considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad".
He said such issues as the Iran nuclear deal deserve serious debate, not outlandish statements.
"It doesn't help inform the American people," Mr Obama said.
Mr Huckabee responded, saying: "What's 'ridiculous and sad' is that president Obama does not take Iran's repeated threats seriously."
In his initial remarks, Mr Huckabee said "this Iran deal should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans".
"We forget Iranians have never kept a deal in 36 years under the ayatollah. There's no reason to think they will suddenly start doing it."
He said about the deal: "I read the entire thing. We gave away the whole farm. It's got to be stopped."
Mr Huckabee's comments come as the Republican presidential candidates struggle to break through with 16 presidential candidates already in the Republican field, and one of those, New York businessman Donald Trump, getting more attention than most.