Jul 17, 2015

Everyone Has Concerns About the Iran Nuke Deal

Only days after the Obama Administration announced a nuclear deal with Iran, the reviews aren’t good. Concerns are popping up on all corners—from Democrats, Republicans, newspapers, and more—expressing deep misgivings about this historically bad deal.

Congress still intends to take as much time as needed to thoroughly review this deal, find all the facts, and make the best decision for the American people. But while we do that, the early signs are troubling:

  • The Wall Street Journal editorial board said the deal “guarantees that Tehran will eventually become a nuclear power, while limiting the ability of a future President to prevent it.”
  • The Washington Post editorial board said that the deal’s “most immediate effect will be to provide Tehran with up to $150 billion in fresh assets from sanctions relief over the next year, funds that its leaders will probably use to revive the domestic economy but also to finance wars and terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, the Gaza Strip, Yemen and elsewhere.”
  • The Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote, “Even if Iran complies scrupulously, it will not solve all the issues that have divided the U.S. and Iran for 35 years. It will not make Iran end its support for terrorist groups elsewhere or stop its meddling in Lebanon and Iraq. It’s even possible that the lifting of economic sanctions will underwrite further mischief.”
  • The National Review editorial board wrote that in this deal, “we give money to an unreconstructed Iranian regime in return for its promise to limit its nuclear program. But if it doesn’t limit its nuclear work, we can’t take the money back. The U.S. and other countries will be handing Iran more than $100 billion in freed-up assets and eliminating all sanctions long before we have much evidence of compliance.”
  • Senator Bob Menendez (D, NJ) said that “we’re basically legitimizing Iran’s nuclear program.” He added, “”At the end of the day, the challenge here is that 10 to 12 years from now, does Iran have a pathway towards a full industrial-sized nuclear program and the possibility of breaking out to a weapon? And if so, all you’ve done is delayed the question of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
  • Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) spoke about how the deal would relax the arms embargo on Iran, saying, “I want to find out why it came back in. It was not part of the original talks. What did we get for that?”
  • Democratic Representative Steve Israel (NY-03) said, “there are some concerns that actually have escalated after my first reading. One, the issue of the lifting of sanctions, and the embargo on conventional arms and missiles, I don’t know why we are doing that and I don’t want to empower Iran, make it easier for Iran to equip Hamas, Hezbollah and other bad actors. Two, the verification process… It seems as if Iran actually has three weeks or more to determine whether they will allow IAEA inspectors onto specific sites. That is a far cry from what I understood to be ‘anywhere any time.’”
  • Democratic Representative Eliot Engel (NY-16) said, “There are too many unanswered questions. Iran needs to be far more forthcoming before we are comfortable with this deal.”
  • Democratic Representative Nita Lowey said, “Far too many details remain undetermined to ensure Congress and the American people that we are on track to permanently and verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
  • Democratic Representative Brad Sherman (CA-30) said he was “disappointed” in the terms of the deal and said, “the arms embargo was not a nuclear sanction, yet it is being waived. The Iran Sanctions Act will be waived even though there are basically nine reasons recited in the act as to why we imposed them. Only one of them is nuclear. This is sanctions relief so complete that we’re even going to import things from Iran. Not oil, but only the things that we don’t need and they can’t sell anybody else.” He added that with the extra money “they’re going to kill a lot of Sunnis” and then “they’ll have a few billion at least left over to kill Americans, Israelis, and work other mischief.”
  • Democratic Presidential Candidate Jim Webb said, “We have Iran having their sanctions lifted, having a number of these other issues with respect to their activities not addressed and having the rest of the region receiving a signal that we, the United States, are accepting the eventuality that they will acquire a nuclear weapon.”
  • Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) said, “The other key area that I’m going to be looking at very closely is one of the inspections regime. That particular portion of this agreement is so critical to any kind of enforcement of it. If you don’t have access anywhere anytime in Iran then enforcement becomes something that’s really impossible to do.” The deal does not have anywhere, anytime inspections.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deal “ is not only a threat to us. We think this is a threat to you as well.” He added that Iran is “going to get hundreds of billions of dollars to fuel their terror and military machine.”
  • Charles Krauthammer wrote that the Iran Deal is “the worst international agreement in U.S. diplomatic history.” He later said that Administration “gave in on the idea of [Iran] having to dismantle their enrichment.”
  • Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that “it’s hard to imagine a scenario—at least in the short term—in which Hezbollah and other terror organizations on the Iranian payrool don’t see a windfall from the agreement.”
  • Bill Kristol wrote that “it’s a deal worse than even we imagined possible. It’s a deal that gives the Iranian regime $140b for…effectively nothing: no dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program, no anytime/anywhere inspections, no curbs on Iran’s ballistic missile program, no maintenance of the arms embargo, no halt to Iran’s sponsorship of terror.”

However, not all the responses to the deal are negative. One proponent of the nuclear deal is the murderous Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, who called the agreement a “great victory” and congratulated Iran on their achievement.

As Congress continues to review the deal, one thing is certain: this deal is not what the President said it would be. Ultimately, the deal allows Iran to get a nuclear weapon and keep significant nuclear infrastructure, eventually lifts the arms and missile embargo on Iran, nullifies snap-back sanctions, and does not provide for sufficient inspections. There is much to be concerned about.