There is no greater responsibility of Congress than to ensure for the safety and security of the American people. With that in mind, last week I voted against the Iran nuclear agreement, which I believe puts the American people at greater risk.
I’ve been opposed to the Iran nuclear talks from the start because I see no reason to believe Iran will keep its word. Iran’s supreme leader has been known to lead crowds in cheers of “death to America” and just last week their leader said Israel will no longer exist in 25 years.
As the top state-sponsor of terrorism in the world, Iran has a track record of supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Reports indicate that Iran is directly responsible for the death of at least 1,000 American military members in the Middle East. These deaths come in the form of Iranian-backed fighters and Iranian bombs known as “explosively formed penetrators.”
Iran clearly wants to bring harm to the American people, and this agreement will make it easier for them to do just that. Iran will be able to acquire new military technologies and weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Iran does not need ICBMs to hit targets in the Middle East, but they need ICBMs to hit long distance targets like the United States.
I also opposed the deal because the American people have made clear they do not support it. In fact, a recent public poll by the Pew Research Center found that only 21% of Americans support the Iran deal. Even worse, just two percent of Americans have a “great deal of confidence” that Iran’s leaders will hold up their end of the agreement.
Personally, I have heard from constituents about this issue everywhere I go. At every one of my 16 town hall meetings in August, someone asked me what Congress was going to do to stop the Iran deal. I even had a woman come up to me in the grocery store, with tears in her eyes, asking me to oppose the deal. It is clear my constituents in Southwest Alabama and people all across the country do not want to see this deal move forward.
So last week the House used a three step strategy to try and stop the Iran nuclear agreement. First, we passed a “Sense of Congress” that President Obama broke the law by not sharing all the relevant materials related to the Iran deal. There are multiple reports that Iran agreed to a number of “side deals” that have not been made public. One of these deals outlines the process by which inspectors will be given access to Iran’s military bases.
Second, the House passed a bill to prevent President Obama from lifting any of the sanctions on Iran. It is clear the economic sanctions were working because the Iranian economy was in shambles, and it would be a mistake to lift the sanctions and give Iran access to billions of dollars.
Third, the House rejected the Iran nuclear deal on a straight up or down vote. The vote total was 162 in support of the deal to 269 opposed. There was bipartisan opposition to the agreement with 25 Democrats joining all Republicans to reject the deal.
While the Senate has not been able to block the Iran deal yet, I remain committed to doing everything I can in the House to halt this flawed deal. If the deal does go into effect, I will join my colleagues in providing diligent oversight of the Obama administration to ensure Iran does not gain nuclear weapons.
Bradley Byrne is a member of the U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.