Sep 28 2015

Senate Democrats prioritize politics over Americans' opposition to Iran Deal (Opinion)

Over the past two weeks, the United States Senate has debated the so-called Iran nuclear “deal” ahead of an anticipated vote that would put all Senators on the record either for or against this agreement. In a clear attempt to protect President Obama from pursuing a deal that the American people do not support, Senate Democrats have repeatedly blocked an up-or-down vote on the Iran nuclear agreement.

Once again, Senate Democrats are prioritizing partisan politics over allowing Americans to have their voices heard. And once again, President Obama is willing to negotiate with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, but refuses to negotiate with Congress.

From the outset, I have expressed deep skepticism regarding President Obama’s negotiations with Iran and feared that he was chasing a deal simply for the sake of reaching an agreement. That is the only way to explain why this Administration would enter into such a one-sided accord that is so detrimental to American interests and world peace. It is clear from the deal ultimately reached that this Administration was more committed to getting any deal than getting a good deal for the American people. And now, Senate Democrats are protecting the Administration’s ability to go forward with this bad deal by blocking a vote of Congressional disapproval.

While I recognize that the President would like to be able to claim that he negotiated away Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear bomb, I believe it is more important that we work to ensure that the Iranians never obtain a nuclear weapon – not now or fifteen years from now.

The question of Iran’s nuclear ambitions is far more important than the immediate legacy of a single president. Unfortunately, this deal threatens the safety, stability, and security of the United States and our allies – and is a far cry from what this Administration promised during the negotiations.

The Obama Administration originally promised to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, but the agreement fails altogether on this front. Under this deal, Iran will maintain its capability to enrich uranium.

Furthermore, Iran will not be required to destroy any of its centrifuges. Instead, five thousand centrifuges will continue spinning, and the remaining fourteen thousand will simply be mothballed, not destroyed. Iran will also be able to continue research and development on its advanced centrifuges that could eventually be used to build a nuclear weapon.

Moreover, this deal fails to provide for anytime, anywhere inspections, which would have allowed for the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the Iranians’ nuclear programs whenever inappropriate activity is suspected. Instead, the nuclear agreement allows the Iranians to stonewall international inspectors for up to, if not more than, twenty-four days. One could suggest that these inspections are indeed “anytime, anywhere” – they are anytime and anywhere the Iranians choose.

Unbelievably, in return for allowing the Iranians to self-inspect and dictate when and where inspections may take place, the international community has provided the Iranian regime with up-front sanctions relief between $100 and $150 billion. I have no doubt that the billions in sanctions relief will only further embolden Iran to sow instability in the Middle East through their funding of terrorist organizations and radical militias.

When we hear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning that the nuclear agreement is a “historic mistake for the world,” we should listen. When we hear Syrian President Bashar al-Assad praising the deal, calling it “a major turning point,” we should take notice.

In reality, the deal that the Administration negotiated is only a good “deal” for the hardline Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies. It is not a good deal for the security of the United States nor for that of our allies in the Middle East, and especially not for Israel.

While President Obama and his Administration continually bypass Congress, ignore the rule of law, and trample on the Constitution, he tells the American people to trust the deal he has cut with the Iranian regime. President Obama tells us that Congress has two options – we must either approve of this bad deal or go to war. I believe the American people are smarter than that, and I am disappointed that the Obama Administration continues to rely on this false choice.

While I fear that there is much we do not know about the Iran nuclear agreement due to the undisclosed side deals that Congress has not been allowed to review, there is one thing that we do know about Iran: it remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

This agreement ultimately legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state and will serve, at best, as no more than a diplomatic speed bump to defer, but not permanently discontinue, Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. While President Obama has prioritized his legacy during his last term and his Democratic allies have voted in lockstep with his agenda, I will continue to stand up and prioritize the best interest of our nation and the people of Alabama by fighting against this deal.