08.17.15

Iran Deal Lacks in Transparency, Accountability

If Iran’s ultimate goal is to obtain a nuclear weapon, the deal reached by the Obama administration sets Iran on a course to do so.
 
From the time this deal is agreed to, Iran has ten years to fill their coffers with tens of billions of dollars from newly unsanctioned oil sales and pursue the research and development of nuclear capabilities.
 
As the world’s leader of state-sponsored terrorism, it will only be a matter of time before Iran achieves its ultimate goal: obtaining a nuclear weapon.
 
These are bipartisan concerns.
 
Top Democrat leaders from both the House and Senate oppose this deal, including incoming Senate Democrat Leader and former chairman of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
 
He said: “If Iran’s true intent is to get a nuclear weapon, under this agreement, it must simply exercise patience.  To me, after ten years, if Iran is the same nation as it is today, we will be worse off with this agreement than without it.”
 
Though I disagree with Senator Schumer on many issues, I am in agreement with his conclusion regarding the Iran deal -- this deal will not prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and the American people deserve a better deal.
 
This deal is stacked against transparency and accountability.
 
It provides up to a 24-day delay before Iran is forced to comply with inspections of nuclear sites on their military bases – far from “anywhere, anytime” that the American people were promised. Contrast this to the START treaties negotiated by Presidents Carter and Reagan with the Soviet Union, which provided a 24-hour delay.
 
If the EPA or the FDA came knocking at a Montana farmer or business owner’s door, they can’t waive off inspections and tell them “why don’t you come back in 24 days.”
 
Through this deal, the American people are being asked to enter into a binding trust agreement with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism – even though President Obama himself admits that sanctions relief could lead to an influx of cash for Iran that might be used to fund “terrorist organizations.”
 
This is the same country whose deputy foreign minister and senior nuclear negotiator made clear that Iran will not comply with arms embargo and missile sanctions, stating: “Whenever it’s needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so. We are not ashamed of it.” This is the same country whose members of parliament have chanted “Death to America” in their chamber.
 
Under this deal, Iran will not have to dismantle any of its nuclear facilities, but it will gain access to ballistic missile technology and receive tens of billions of dollars from newly unsanctioned oil sales.
 
Should Iran violate the terms of agreement, this deal makes enforcing snapback sanctions extremely difficult, particularly once European, Russian, and Chinese companies rush to Iran to start doing business again. 
 
Secretary Kerry recently admitted that the snapback sanctions would not apply to violations of the UN arms embargo on Iran, which astonishingly only remains in place for five years under the terms of this deal.
 
And even if this hostile country were to comply with the terms of the deal, Iran will be well positioned in the future to continue its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
 
It is not a mistake to push for tougher sanctions. The same crippling sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place can force them into a better deal.
 
The American people deserve a better option.
 
Even President Obama’s own top General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, recently testified that the United States has a “range of options” to disarm a nuclear Iran and this deal is not the only option.  
 
There is no bipartisan support for this deal in Congress.  However, there is bipartisan opposition to the deal. 
 
It is a mistake to not push for better deal that can be supported by more than just one segment of one political party.
 
When the leaders from Syria, Russia and Hezbollah hail this deal as a “nuclear victory for Iran” and a “great victory,” it should be clear that we should reject this deal and negotiate a better deal. 
 
Congress should vote down the deal and uphold our commitment to our national security and send a clear message that we cannot consider a deal that is so lacking in transparency and accountability. 
 
 
Steve Daines serves Montana in the U.S. Senate.