United States must stand with Israel

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2015

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

“Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also to the peace of the entire world.” Those were the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he addressed a joint session of Congress last week.

I was proud to attend the Prime Minister’s address as he laid out a clear vision about the safety of Israel and the problems posed by a potential deal between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. This was not my first experience visiting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, as we had met previously during my visit to the Middle East last fall.

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Israel is our strongest and most consistent ally in the Middle East. Our nations have always shared a unique bond over common values and the desire to see peace in a very volatile region of the world. In addition to a strong military partnership, our two nations also have major economic ties and share common scientific research projects.

That’s why all Americans should be concerned about the deal being negotiated behind closed doors between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran. Iran is no friend to the United States. Iran remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, and they continue to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missile technology. The only legitimate purpose of such technology is to deliver a nuclear payload.
Don’t just take my word for it. Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently wrote in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee that “the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to threaten US strategic interest in the Middle East. Tehran views the United States as its most capable adversary and has fashioned its military strategy and doctrine accordingly.”

General Stewart went on to say, “we continue to assess that Iran’s goal is to develop capabilities that would allow it to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, should a decision be made to do so.” Most concerning of all, the general concludes by saying that the Iranian “regime faces no insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu also could not have been clearer about the “bad deal” being worked out between the United States and Iran. In his remarks, he stated that the deal “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.” Perhaps he summed it up best by saying that “this deal won’t be [a] farewell to arms. It will be a farewell to arms control.”

The nuclear talks first started back in 2009, and they have been marked by missed deadline after missed deadline. It seems like each time details of the deal are leaked to the press, the United States is giving up more, whether it be the number of allowed centrifuges or the length of the deal.

I think President Obama and many of his allies in Congress were so opposed to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech because they were afraid he would tell the truth. They knew he would make clear the real issues around a nuclear deal with Iran and explain why these ongoing talks threaten not only Israel, but the entire world.

Preventing a nuclear-capable Iran is one of the most important national security priorities of our time. I implore President Obama and Secretary Kerry to abandon these dangerous nuclear talks with Iran. Instead, the United States should move forward with new sanctions on the Iranian regime that force them to abandon their nuclear program altogether.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded his speech by drawing attention to Mr. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and award-winning author. He said, “I wish I could promise, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned.”

Let’s show Prime Minister Netanyahu that the United States has learned from the past and stand strong with Israel against a nuclear-capable Iran.