Iran Deal Is Not Just a Bad Deal, It's A Dangerous Deal
At the U.S. Capitol last week I attended a classified, bipartisan briefing with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, Energy Secretary Moniz and national security officials involved in negotiating the recently-announced deal with Iran. An hour later there were two clear takeaways: additional questions are being raised without sufficient answers and the Obama Administration’s prior failures on foreign affairs are eroding any credibility and confidence in portraying Iran as an honest partner.
It was recently revealed that despite the media blitz surrounding the details released by the Obama Administration to Congress and the American people, additional side deals between Iran and non-US entities are being shielded from public scrutiny. Most alarming is the secret agreement negotiated by Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding the scope and depth of inspections including that of the Parchin military complex – a highly secretive facility long-suspected of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development restricted from access by nuclear inspectors.
The existence of such secret side deals was not discussed by President Obama or Secretary Kerry with Members of Congress, including those of us sitting on the intelligence committees. In fact, it was only uncovered by conversations with IAEA officials and my colleagues who traveled to Vienna, Austria. At this time the Obama Administration has yet to turn over the contents and legal framework for these and any other side agreements that were reached during the two years of negotiations. The absence of such undisclosed details not only fuels additional speculation and increased skepticism, but violates the letter and spirit of the law President Obama signed in May requiring Congressional approval for any deal with Iran.
Those details that have been made available are equally unnerving. During the past two years of negotiations, President Obama promised that any deal would end Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon – this deal merely delays that reality for a decade. He also promised that any deal would not include economic sanctions relief until specific standards are verified as being met – now up to $100 billion will be immediately available to the Iranian regime. Guarantees of immediate and on-demand inspections are now subjected to at least a 3-week delay. These are not the first promises - at home or abroad - that failed to live up to their sales pitch.
Previous assessments and proclamations by President Obama and his national security team have proven to be rose-colored and dangerously naïve. Once called “the Junior Varsity team,” ISIS is a global and growing threat. Trumpeted as “decimated” and “on the path to defeat,” Al Qaeda and its affiliates have regained footholds in the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Promise of swift U.S. action after Syria crossed the so-called “red line” in using chemical weapons against its people proved toothless. Russia’s continued aggression into Ukraine has neutered our ability to ease growing anxiety in our Eastern European allies.
From the onset I have been deeply skeptical of negotiating with Iran, whose leaders have time and again called for the destruction of the United States and declared ‘Israel must be wiped off the map.’ In fact Iran’s supreme leader has continued such public statements and demonstrations. Iran’s view of the U.S. or Israel has not changed nor will it in the foreseeable future. We must not turn our back on Israel and other allies in the region.
Contrary to what proponents of a deal with Iran would have the American people believe, the alternative to no deal is not war. It is simply no deal. Without a deal, international and U.S. economic sanctions would remain in place and could be strengthened. Iran would not get a windfall of billions of dollars to finance their terrorist supporters in Hezbollah or buy military arms from Russia - which President Obama acknowledged was likely to happen.
Now, we see other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, accelerating their own investments in military and nuclear technology in self-defense. We see Russian President Putin and Syrian President Assad cheering as Israel and Saudi Arabia issue grave warnings. We see this deal as negotiated further jeopardizing the security and stability of the Middle East.
Until the Congressional vote in mid-September, I will continue to participate in classified briefings and intelligence assessments. I welcome South Jersey residents and concerned groups to share their views. In my opinion, any deal with Iran must include no nuclear capabilities, returning American hostages, ending its support for terror groups, maintaining the ban on intercontinental missiles, and ensuring Israel is no longer threatened. From my seat on the House Intelligence Committee and feedback I have received already from my constituents, this deal falls far short from warranting my support.