Iran deal unacceptable; keep sanctions in place

Aug 5, 2015
Opinion Editorial
By Rep. Lou Barletta in Scranton Times-Tribune

Having lived through much of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, I can remember being taught to “duck and cover” under my desk in elementary school to practice for the feared nuclear attack. I am reminded of those days again as I have learned more about the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, and I fear we will one day soon have to teach children how to hide under classroom furniture in a futile attempt to avoid falling bombs.

There are many reasons to oppose the deal which purports to freeze Iran’s nuclear program, but the simplest one boils down to this: Iran cannot be trusted. The mullahs who run the Islamic dictatorship are the chief state sponsors of terrorism in the world today. They are known cheaters on a global scale when it comes to arms limitations, nuclear research and human rights. And they spew venom and hatred against the civilized world, proclaiming their dedication to the eradication of Israel and the demise of the United States.

Sweetheart deal

And for all of this, the Obama administration has rewarded Iran with a sweetheart deal that paves the way for economic recovery and the eventual achievement of nuclear weapons capability. The flaws in the Iranian deal are many, varied and easily enumerated.

The international sanctions against Iran clearly had been working, otherwise the mullahs would never have come to the negotiating table. Instead of continued economic pressure, the deal provides a relief jackpot of more than $100 billion for Iran to rebuild its failing financial foundation. Already known to pump money into terrorist groups such as Hamas, Iran can use the cash infusion to further project anti-American efforts around the world.

Defenders of the negotiations promised unfettered access to Iranian nuclear production sites, using phrases like “anytime, anyplace” and “24/7” to describe the open nature of proposed inspections. Upon further review, it has become obvious that this will only be “managed access,” with Iran doing the managing and locations will be available for scrutiny only after as much as 24 days — not hours. Worse, among those who will be doing the inspecting, there will be no Americans.

Key provisions of the nuclear restrictions begin to sunset after only eight years of the agreement. After 15 years, Iran will be permitted to run almost completely free into full-fledged nuclear development. Because the economic sanctions will already have been removed years before, Iran will emerge from the expired agreement economically revitalized and poised for easy entry into the nuclear weapons community. The time period of a decade and a-half is a mere blink of an eye in world history terms, so it is no wonder that Iran’s streets are reacting with glee at the news of the deal.

The Middle East has long been the world’s most volatile region, even without Iranian nuclear capability. Now that the path has been cleared for Iran to develop the bomb, other countries will naturally follow suit. Saudi Arabia has already indicated that it will do so, which begins to set the stage for heightened confrontation in an unstable environment.

Though the U.S. Congress is early in the 60-day period during which it must review and approve the arrangement, the Obama administration has already seen fit to present the deal to the United Nations Security Council for its blessing. Predictably, the member nations — many of which do not have American interests at heart — unanimously rubber-stamped it in advance of the American people’s voices being heard. This extraordinary preemptory strike against Congress is remarkable as a brazen act of defiance.

Protections left out

Having heard personally from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on the issue, I now have more questions than answers. How could the United States have arrived at such an agreement in such a poorly crafted and badly negotiated fashion? Why was our delegation so desperate for a deal — any deal — that it left numerous key protections out of the final document? The stakes are far too high for these questions to be left unanswered merely because of the pursuit of the next Nobel Peace Prize by the representatives of the United States government.

There are those who say that we must either go along with this agreement because the only other alternative is outright war with Iran. This is a false choice and a weak argument. The economic sanctions that have been in place were clearly working, otherwise, Iran would never have come to the negotiating table in the first place. We should leave the sanctions in place and encourage our world allies to stand with us.

In the end, the best we are left with in this deal is that we are supposed to trust the Iranians when they tell us they will not pursue nuclear weapons at this time. We are supposed to believe them when they say this, but not, it would seem, when they promise to wipe Israel off the map or chant “death to America” in the streets of Tehran. No, it is clear to me that this deal is fatally flawed and I cannot support it.


See the original op-ed online here.