Obama needs to walk away from an awful deal with Iran
McCarthy, a Republican from California, is the House majority leader.
former advisers to President Obama contribute to an
open, bipartisan letter outlining their collective concerns that the nuclear
deal the administration is negotiating with Iran would fall very short of its
own standard of a ďgoodĒ agreement, something is wrong. And they arenít
the only ones who are nervous. Now that the deadline for the negotiations has
passed, Obama should ignore the rhetoric that his legacy depends on an agreement
and be prepared to reject a bad deal.
ago, Ronald Reagan was faced with a similar dilemma in talks with the Soviet
Reykjavik, Iceland. Despite knowing that any agreement with the Russians
would earn broad praise, Reagan walked away, only to come back to the table
later and secure a better deal. Reagan understood that peace without freedom is
meaningless and that knowing when to walk away from the negotiation table is
just as important as knowing when to sit down.
reports on the status of nuclear negotiations, combined with statements from
senior Obama administration officials, give serious cause for three main areas
of concern. These include the administrationís apparent willingness to allow
Iran to keep its past military nuclear work secret, the potential lifting of
sanctions not tied to Iranís nuclear program and U.S. negotiatorsí apparent
lack of insistence on vigorous inspections as part of an eventual deal. All
three reflect this administrationís unbridled quest for an agreement. But all
three would guarantee a bad deal.
two months ago, Secretary of State John F. Kerry told
PBS that the Iranian regime would absolutely have to account for potential
previous nuclear weaponization activities if thereís going to be a deal.
Iranís suspected past work toward military-grade weapons undermines claims
that it is pursuing a peaceful, civilian nuclear program.
is no way to accurately gauge the status of Iranís nuclear capability without
knowing what it has been hiding all these years. Considering that the history of
Iranís nuclear program is replete with efforts to obfuscate and deceive, the
onus is on Iran to prove that it has nothing to hide. That hasnít happened ó
but we must insist on it.
U.S. negotiators arenít insisting. Kerry
said recently that ďweíre not fixated on Iran specifically accounting
for what they did at one point in time or another.Ē These wild vacillations
only spur congressional concern over the direction of the negotiations.
regards to the second concern, Obama remarked in April that U.S. sanctions on
Iran over its support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic
missile program will continue to be fully enforced under a final deal. Now,
according to the
Associated Press, the White House is attempting to redefine all sanctions as
nuclear-related so they can be lifted after a final deal is struck. Whatís
changed other than the administrationís increasing desperation to get a deal?
is gravely concerning to those of us in Congress who define these sanctions as
addressing a wide-range of Iranís nefarious acts. They should only be lifted
if the Iranians address all of these activities. Promising Iran relief from
sanctions that arenít related to its nuclear program would remove all leverage
to enforce Iranian compliance and punish the regime for abhorrent human rights
abuses and global acts of terrorism.
are what brought Iran to the table in the first place. Iranís crude oil
exports have nearly
halved in three years, Iranian banks have been barred from the international
financial system and extensive nuclear proliferation, missile and other
arms-related sanctions have hampered Iranís quest for regional hegemony. Any
deal that explicitly or implicitly gives the Iranians sanctions relief on
anything other than the countryís long-term and verifiable performance on its
obligations is a bad deal.
bad deal would also take the Iranian regime at its word that it isnít cheating
on its nuclear commitments. International inspectors must have ďanywhere,
anytimeĒ access to the Iranian sites they need to visit, including military
and other sensitive facilities. The United States should not grant Iran veto
power over international inspectors. The Iranian regimeís refusal to submit to
intrusive inspections would be a telling indicator that it intends to continue
words of Iranís Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei have done little to dispel
this notion. Khamenei has vowed to reject allowing international inspectors to
visit Iranís military sites or interviewing nuclear scientists. Iranís
Parliament agreed ó passing legislation that bans these types of inspections
as part of any eventual deal.
negotiations continue, Congress stands ready to stand up for core U.S. national
security interests ó and against a bad deal with Iran. Hopefully, President
Obama will see the wisdom in President Reaganís example.