Iran nuclear agreement puts U.S. at risk

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

Over the past 20 months, the United States, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany all took part in talks with Iran over the future of their nuclear program. The talks were defined by missed deadline after missed deadline and lots of conflicting reports.

Despite the rocky road, it was announced last week that the two sides had come to an “agreement” over Iran’s nuclear program. From the start of these talks, I have warned that President Obama and his negotiating team were desperate for a foreign policy victory, and I fear the safety of Americans and our allies in the Middle East, like Israel, will be at great risk because of this agreement.

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Iran is no friend of the United States, and we simply cannot allow them to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently wrote that “the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to threaten U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East.”

On their nuclear program, the Director goes on to say that “the (Iranian) regime faces no insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon.”
After reviewing the agreement, I have no reason to believe that the “managed access” inspection requirements will adequately provide international inspectors with access to Iran’s nuclear arsenal. Iran could simply hold up the process by hiding nuclear programs on military bases and denying access to inspectors. Ultimately, anything short of an “anytime, anywhere” inspection requirement is a failure.

Iran will also not be required to dismantle bomb making technology and will be allowed to continue nuclear research and development. In other words, Iran won’t even have to cheat on the agreement to be just a few steps away from a nuclear bomb.

The nuclear agreement also ends the United Nations embargo on the import and export of arms with Iran. Russia has already made clear that they intend to sell Iran intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could certainly reach countries like Israel but could also reach the United States. Even Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has warned that Iran should not be given access to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

We also can’t forget that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Under the terms of the agreement, Iran will now have access to billions of dollars in new revenues which they will be able to easily funnel to terrorist organizations and sectarian militias across the Middle East. Iran is already supporting radical fighters in Yemen, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, and we have no reason to believe they will stop there.

This is the same country whose supreme leader chants “death to America” at political rallies. Just as bad, an Iranian general recently said that “Israel’s destruction is non-negotiable.” I simply can’t understand why the Obama administration thinks negotiating with Iran is a good idea.

The good news is Congress can stop this agreement from going into effect. Thanks to legislation signed into law earlier this year, Congress now has 60 days to review the agreement and pass a resolution of disapproval. While President Obama has already threatened to veto that resolution, it is possible that Congress has the votes to override his veto.

So I call on my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to look past the short-term rhetoric and instead focus on the long-term implications this agreement could have on our national security and the safety of our allies abroad. If they do that, I believe Congress can stand united and defeat this bad agreement.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.