The Eagle: No deal is better than the bad Iran deal
By. U.S. Rep Bill Flores
The Obama Administration's proposed nuclear deal with Iran endangers the security of our nation and our allies. In mid-July, I read the text of the deal that was provided by the U.S. State Department along with the supporting documents that were available at the time. Subsequent to that review, I have also met with security and defense experts and with persons interested in the deal, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders.
The result of the foregoing due-diligence is that I believe the agreement should be scrapped and the P5+1 nations should start over and renegotiate the deal. In mid-September Congress will vote on this agreement and it is my hope that we will disapprove of it with a veto-proof majority.
Any deal with Iran must provide for "anytime/anywhere" access to suspect sites. This must apply to all of Iran's potential nuclear weapon work, such as triggers and delivery vehicles (e.g., missiles) for nuclear devices. Sanctions should remain in place until Iran has fully complied with its commitments. The duration of the agreement should be for decades, preferably permanent. It also should require that Iran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure so that it has no path to a nuclear weapon.
Earlier this year, 366 of my fellow House colleagues and I, comprising nearly 85 percent of the House of Representatives, sent President Barack Obama a letter outlining bipartisan congressional opinion regarding any agreement with Iran. The proposed agreement with Iran fails to meet fully any of these elements, even though these were also the previously stated goals of the Obama Administration.
In addition, any deal with Iran needs to be negotiated in light of Iran's behavior, its public statements regarding the U.S. and Israel, and cheating on past agreements.
In light of the fact that sanctions against Iran were working, our negotiators should feel confident in negotiating from a position of strength by keeping existing sanctions in place until a final, improved agreement is achieved.
For years, Iran has been working to position itself to dominate the entire Middle East and to impose its version of radical Islam on society. It actively is working to destabilize Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.
It has at least three, and possibly four, Americans held in captivity. It also is responsible for the deaths of at least 500 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. These actions reflect Iran's true international intentions and cannot be ignored.
Iran continues explicitly to threaten to destroy the state of Israel, America's most important ally in the region. At the same time, its leaders continue to shout "death to America." If Iran wants to be a part of the world community, it should renounce its prior statements and discontinue such rhetoric in the future. Negotiating with a regime of this nature only emboldens it.
Iran is a known violator of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Agreement and to numerous other agreements. Any agreement with Iran should have strong verification and enforcement safeguards to prevent future cheating.
The current deal provides permanent sanctions relief for Iran while only temporarily restraining its nuclear weapons program. This relief would provide the regime with an influx of cash enabling it to continue supporting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq. Additionally, it is incomprehensible that this deal provides sanctions relief to Qasem Soleimani, leader of the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a designated terrorist responsible for the deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Also, Americans just recently learned that the Obama Administration has failed to notify Congress about two secret side deals, negotiated between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, regarding the Iran's development of nuclear warhead detonators at its secret Parchin military base. As stated earlier, any agreement should have "anytime/anywhere" inspection access and enforcement provisions and should cover all aspects of a nuclear weapon development program.
The president argues that the only alternative to his proposed deal with Iran is "war." This patently is false. As a former CEO, I understand how to negotiate deals and I know that you never accept a bad deal just for the sake of getting something done. The American people know this to be true as polls show that a strong majority of Americans oppose this deal.
The alternative to the Iran deal is not war; it is a safer, more secure Middle East free of rogue regimes armed with nuclear weapons. The alternative to the Iran deal is a better deal.
A nuclear Iran would be the gravest threat to America and our allies in the Middle East; we cannot allow this to happen -- ever. The bottom line is that this deal with Iran is dangerous for America and its citizens. We must start over and get it right.
• Bill Flores of Bryan represents District 17 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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