Among the most pressing issues facing Congress as we reconvene is a resolution to reject President Obama’s proposed agreement over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. I’ve discussed my thoughts about the deal as I’ve travelled throughout Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District the last few weeks and I’ve listened to the concerns expressed by those I represent.
Many remain puzzled as to why are we negotiating in the first place with a regime that has a stated intent to destroy the United States and Israel. Remember that just days after this deal was reached, Iran’s Supreme Leader applauded and encouraged a large crowd gathered in Tehran as it chanted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Also puzzling is, even if we are going to negotiate, why be so unwilling to walk away when our stated objectives fall one after the other?
I share my constituents’ frustration at a flawed, weak deal that seems to serve Iran’s interests at the expense of our own.
How is that? First, inspections are not “anywhere, anytime” like negotiators originally said would be a deal-breaking must. In fact, at certain sites the Iranians could have up to 24 days’ notice before inspectors are allowed in. That’s a joke. And, even then, Americans are prohibited from making unilateral inspections.
Second, the “snap back” provisions the Administration points to as accountability mechanisms are weak by their own admission. Secretary Kerry and President Obama have repeatedly said that our unilateral economic sanctions don’t work and put the United States at a disadvantage. Yet, the threat of those very sanctions “snapping back” into place is supposed to be the way we make sure Iran lives up to the agreement. They can’t have it both ways. If our sanctions aren’t strong enough on their own now, why would we rely on them as a way to hold Iran accountable in the future?
Third, under this deal, at least $50 billion would flow into Iran’s coffers. Let’s not kid ourselves to think that the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism won’t turn around and fund those who want to harm Americans and our allies. So, not only will we have paved the way for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon and potentially initiated a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but we will have strengthened the hand of this adversarial state while weakening our own.
Reports say President Obama now has the votes in the Senate to sustain a veto of our resolution rejecting the deal. That won’t stop me from working with my colleagues to point out these weaknesses and make those Senators defending this deal explain why to their constituents.
One silver lining is, because this is an executive agreement and not a treaty, it is subject for review in the next administration. Let’s pray our next president doesn’t adhere to a foreign policy doctrine of “leading from behind.”
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She is currently serving her third term.