Congress should reject bad nuke deal with Iran

Last week, the U.S. Senate reconvened to enter one of the most consequential foreign policy debates of our time: the president's Iran deal. Here's why it is imperative that Congress block the president's dangerous deal with Iran, which threatens our interests, our national security and the safety of our allies in the region.

The administration began negotiations with the goal of preventing a nuclear Iran. The end product, however, not only fails to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, it provides Iran with a patient pathway to a nuclear bomb. The deal grants an international blessing to a full-scale Iranian nuclear program in 15 years or less, while allowing Iran to keep its most prized nuclear assets, including advanced centrifuges.

One of the troubling aspects of the president's deal is the lack of verification that Iran will comply with it. The "anytime, anyplace" access to Iran's nuclear facilities the administration initially promised became "managed access" in the final agreement. This means international inspectors must request permission from Tehran to inspect military facilities 24 days in advance.

Furthermore, in August, we learned of a secret side deal between Iran and the IAEA that will reportedly allow Iran to conduct "self-inspections" at certain facilities. The administration and the IAEA have refused to provide the text of this critical side agreement to Congress.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, supported by 98 Senators and 400 House members, specifically requires the administration to submit "all related materials and annexes" relating to the agreement to Congress. We are now faced with voting on a deal that Congress hasn't had the chance to review in its totality.

Perhaps the most egregious concession to Iran is that the arms embargo will be lifted in five short years and the ballistic missile embargo in just eight years. According to the new U.N. Security Council resolution, which the administration pushed through after the negotiations concluded, Iran is simply "called upon" not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.

We already have evidence that Iran can't be trusted to uphold its end of the deal. Last month, Iranian media reported that Iran already plans to conduct a ballistic missile test "later this year." That would be a direct violation of the terms of the deal.

Lastly, a vote against the deal was a vote against infusing billions of dollars into the economy of the world's largest state-sponsor of terrorism. Lifting economic sanctions on Iran will provide the regime with $100 billion to $150 billion, allowing Iran to double down on its terrorism activities, including its support for Hezbollah, Hamas and the murderous Assad regime in Syria.

This economic boon to Iran also includes lifting sanctions on entities such as EIKO, a vast conglomerate of companies controlled by Ayatollah Khamenei, estimated at nearly $100 billion. Now, these companies with direct ties to the leader of this rogue regime will be allowed to conduct business as usual. Also, sanctions will be lifted on international nonproliferation violators, including Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, known as the "father" of the Iranian nuclear program.

It's important to remember who is on the other side of the bargaining table. This is the same regime that held 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days. The same regime that killed at least 700 American soldiers. The same regime that continues to hold three Americans captive. This is the same regime whose leader stated America remains the "Great Satan" and said that Israel will cease to exist in 25 years last week.

This deal has bipartisan opposition in Congress, including the two highest-ranking Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It fails to meet its objective, it allows Iran to gain arms and ballistic missiles within the decade, and it hinges on the foundation of trust with a murderous regime that can't be trusted.

I urge my colleagues to reject the president's bad deal with Iran and encourage the administration to go back to the negotiating table. It is in the best interest of our friends in the region and Americans at home and abroad.

Sen. Cory Gardner is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

By:  Senator Cory Gardner
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette