Many questions about Iran deal
Earlier this summer, President Obama announced a deal had been struck between Iran and the United States and other countries that purports to curtail, but not end Iran’s nuclear program. Kentuckians have the right to know whether this deal will actually make America and her allies safer. I want to assure those in the Commonwealth that America’s safety will be my foremost concern when the U.S. Senate takes up this issue and gives the proposed deal a thorough and fair review in the coming weeks.
The agreement inked by the White House seems to be the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than one that might actually end Iran’s nuclear program. Ending Iran’s nuclear program was supposed to be the point of these talks in the first place. But this agreement won’t even come close to achieving that original purpose.
Instead, the Iranians get to maintain thousands of centrifuges and entrench their threshold nuclear capability rather than end it. They reap a multi-billion dollar windfall. The president admits that a portion of this will be spent on terrorism and other nefarious activities that threaten stability in the Middle East as sanctions are lifted. And Iran remains a threat to our close partner in the region, Israel.
Along with others, I warned that the administration’s negotiating stance would lead to poor results, both for America and for allies such as Israel. In 2012, I said that the only way the Iranian regime could be expected to negotiate to preserve its own survival, rather than to simply delay as a means of pursuing nuclear weapons, was if the administration imposed the strictest sanctions while at the same time enforcing a firm policy that reflected a commitment to the use of force.
But the administration never did that, and now we find ourselves with the deal we have today. It appears we’ve lost the chance to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that they never gain access to a nuclear bomb. An Iran that pursues a nuclear weapon will be a challenge for President Obama’s successor to face, whether he or she is a Democrat or a Republican.
Congress fought to make sure we had a voice in approving this deal, despite the hopes of the administration to go it alone. We passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure Congress had the power to review this deal and give it an up or down vote. Some of the important questions I’ll be asking during that review include:
Why doesn’t the agreement contain “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s military installations and research and development facilities?
Will the administration submit to the Senate the secret deals made between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran? Recent—and troubling—reports about the IAEA’s secret side deals indicate the Iranians will be allowed to perform their own inspections of the Parchin nuclear site.
Will the agreement compel the Iranians to disclose the details of their nuclear program?
Will the agreement make any real impact on Iran’s ability to continue researching and developing advanced centrifuges, ultimately to be used for a nuclear weapons program?
Does the agreement ensure that the lifting of sanctions against Iran be tied to that country’s strict adherence to the terms of this deal, and will we have any real way to verify their compliance?
What challenges would this agreement pose to our key allies in the region, including Israel and our moderate Sunni Arab allies?
The answers to these questions will help us determine just what kind of a deal the Obama administration has secured with the Iranians. Rather than entering this agreement, the president could have worked with Congress to increase the economic sanctions against the Iranian government that have effectively depressed its economy and brought it to the negotiating table in the first place. The administration chose a different course.
Kentuckians should remember that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and has been determined to increase its ballistic missile and conventional military capabilities. The Iranian regime has been working to expand its sphere of influence in the Middle East region and undermine America’s security and standing. It has even said it would wipe Israel off the map. A bad deal with Iran won’t solve these problems or make us—or our allies—any safer.
By: Mitch McConnell
Related Issues: Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran, National Security