Column: Iran deal bad, even by President's own standards
By Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto
As details about the Iranian nuclear deal emerge, it is clear to me that Congress must prevent the deal from becoming policy.
I was highly skeptical about the President’s ability to negotiate a deal with Iran. Sadly, I was right. The President has strengthened one of our greatest enemies while allowing it to continue enhancing its nuclear capabilities.
The President traded the United States’ and Israel’s security for the sake of his legacy with this deal. Make no mistake: this deal is a colossal mistake, and it’s a failure based on the President’s own benchmarks.
This deal hinges mostly on one shaky premise: trust in the Iranian government, the largest state sponsor of terror in the world. Right out of the gate, that trust should have been questioned. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in February 2014 said the U.S. would insist that Iran come clean about its past efforts to weaponize its nuclear program. By the end of the negotiations, Sec. of State John Kerry told the Associated Press that “a full accounting of Iran’s possible past atomic weapons research is not necessarily critical” for him to make a deal.
Kerry at first said any deal would require Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. He told the American people in November 2013 that the nonproliferation treaty clearly stated that “there is no right to enrich. [The U.S.] does not recognize a right to enrich.” By 2015, Kerry had changed his mind and struck a deal that allows Iran the ability to enrich its own uranium.
At the beginning of negotiations, the Iranian deal was meant to bring stability to the Middle East. Sherman said in February 2014 that the need to shut down Iran’s ballistic missiles was “something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.” Instead, the President, Kerry and Sherman lifted the embargo on the import and export of conventional arms and ballistic missiles to and from Iran.
They also lifted sanctions that will result in Iran making an additional $150 billion. Iranians will use this money and to fund and arm terrorist groups like Hezbollah, which routinely launches rockets against Israel.
Really, none of those concessions should surprise me. There’s no red line the President has drawn that our enemies haven’t been allowed to cross. As if all of those negotiating failures weren’t bad enough, the administration has also confirmed U.S. inspectors won’t be on the teams inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities.
After looking at the facts, it is no wonder Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this deal an “historic mistake.” I wholeheartedly agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Every time I think about this deal, I’m baffled that the United States would turn its back on one of our strongest allies to cozy up to one of our most ardent enemies.
Sanctions were working. Sanctions brought the Iranians to the table in the first place. Rather than negotiate from a position of strength, Kerry and the President placated a dangerous enemy. Obviously, Iran could have felt more serious consequences from sanctions because they found enough money to fund terrorism around the world. With this deal, they now have even more money and weapons to further that cause, all the while enriching their nuclear program to a point that puts a weapon within their grasp.
I’ll do everything in my power to oppose this deal, and I know many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me. But we have an uphill battle as the Senate needs a two thirds vote to override a Presidential veto.
The national security of our country should be a bipartisan issue. People need to look at the facts of this deal, rather than split into their respective corners. Even by the administration’s standards, this deal is a failure, and Democrats should join Republicans in voting it down.