OP-ED: Nuclear deal helps Iranian terrorist machine
Over the last several years, I have warned of the dangers that America and her allies face when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is not a topic that is new to me.
I have long supported the strongest possible sanctions on Iran. I wish the sanctions that have been in place had been stronger and were begun sooner. Nonetheless, those sanctions were having a powerful impact on the Iranian economy. It's clear that they brought Iran to the negotiating table — a place that they desperately did not want to be.
However, I believed that if the president had succeeded in achieving his stated goals, then the product of these negotiations could well have been worth supporting. The president's very often stated goals, after all, were the complete elimination of Iran's nuclear program and an inspection and enforcement process that was robust enough to detect any Iranian cheating. Following the fulfillment of those terms, we would remove our economic sanctions and hopefully bring about a change in Iran's attitude towards the United States.
I have taken the time in the last 2 1/2 weeks since the deal was announced to carefully study it. I've read the language of the agreement, consulted experts, and had numerous briefings on its implications. I can unequivocally tell you, this deal comes nowhere close to achieving the president's stated goals. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
This is a very dangerous deal. It will make us, and the rest of the world, less safe. I will actively support and vote for the Resolution of Disapproval to strike down the agreement.
At the heart of the issue is whether Iran has truly given up in its 30-year quest for nuclear weapons. Negotiations require a meeting of the minds. Yet nothing in words or deed has shown evidence that this is the case, as Iran has not yet been convinced giving up their robust nuclear infrastructure is in their best interest.
Whether it is insisting upon keeping industrial scale enrichment capacity, keeping important underground facilities open, or furthering nuclear research and development, this deal only legitimizes Iran's nuclear program. Iran does not even have to disclose their past work or efforts on nuclear weaponization, but instead gets nearly $120 billion in cash from sanctions relief within months.
Past precedent has shown that not cooperating with inspectors is nothing new to Iran. Just as before, Iran has scoffed at inspections on military bases. Further, this agreement's inspections provisions are far from the "anywhere, anytime" mentioned by the president and Secretary of State John Kerry during negotiations.
While there are many concerns with the inspection process, any violations found will likely be ignored and the agreement will not be enforced. If Iran violates the terms of the deal, we should be able to try and enforce compliance by re-implementing limited nuclear sanctions proportional to the violation. However, the agreement permits Iran to completely withdraw from the deal if any such sanctions are re-imposed — meaning enforcement leads to termination. Since the president and others have declared the only path forward without a deal is war, the president is very unlikely to abandon the deal. So much for enforcement.
With a legitimized nuclear program, dubious inspections and no chance of enforcement — what is left? In spite of Iran's involvement in killing Americans with IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, supporting Hezbollah and supplying rockets to fire into Israel, overthrowing and destabilizing countries like Yemen, or holding Americans hostage — all that is left is to trust Iran despite its long history of hostile and aggressive behavior. Yet nothing in this agreement addresses or changes the character of the Iranian regime. Iran still chants "Death to America" and threatens to "Wipe Israel off the Map." Nothing has changed.
Senators are called upon to cast many important votes. This vote on Iran is among the most consequential votes I will cast in my five years in the Senate. Given the gravity of what I fear the future might hold, it could well be the single most important vote I ever cast. This deal would provide a massive present day cash infusion to the Iranian terrorist machine, causing untold destruction and misery in the near term. And in the medium term, it would legitimize and pave the way for the world's most dangerous regime to have the world's most dangerous weapon. This deal seriously jeopardizes Israel's security, which is something I care deeply about. But it also jeopardizes American security in a fundamental way.
Like all of the radical Islamic terror movements, if Iran is able to inflict harm on Americans, it will do so. This deal would give Iran the capacity to inflict harm in much more destructive ways. I will do everything I can to defeat this deal, and I encourage everyone to do the same.
— Pat Toomey is a Republican senator from Pennsylvania.