Opinions and Speeches

Friday, September 4, 2015

A bad deal for the United States

As published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In April, I celebrated the 67th anniversary of the independence of the state of Israel at a synagogue in Atlanta. That night, I made a promise that I would not be part of any agreement that allows the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon that could harm the United States of America, the state of Israel or any other peace-loving country in the world.

I will not break that promise. I cannot support the negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran.

As a businessman I have been a part of many negotiations. To arrive at a positive agreement, both sides have to sit at the table and come away feeling they got a good deal. And one of the surest ways to get a good deal is to be willing and ready to walk away from a bad one.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration went into these negotiations with Iran so determined to get a deal that they quickly agreed to Iran’s demands, rather than walk away from the table.

Immediately after the agreement was announced, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began gloating about his victory. Among the first to join the Iranian president in praising the deal were Russia and Syria – further proof this is a bad deal for the United States.

The U.S. Congress passed the Congressional Review Act with bipartisan support earlier this year to get around the fact that the president never wanted approval from Congress in the first place. Part of the review is a requirement to submit all of the documents associated with this Iran agreement. Unfortunately, there are two appendixes to the agreement that the Senate has not been allowed to see. To vote for something that I am not allowed to read would be an injustice to the people I represent.

We have also learned that Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate if it is accused of trying to develop nuclear arms, and those Iranian investigators will be allowed to operate under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work.

I have told my fellow senators repeatedly that the vote on this Iran deal is the single most important vote any member of the Senate is going to take in very long time.

A nuclear-armed Iran is a danger not just to the Middle East, but to the peace and security of the entire world. I fear that if this agreement is adopted, it will allow the Iranian regime to industrialize its nuclear enrichment program. This agreement will merely delay Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon rather than eliminating Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.

This agreement allows for phased nuclear enrichment as well as a continuation of nuclear research and development by Iran.

Second, I am worried that this agreement will further Iran’s arms shipping business in the Middle East by lifting the conventional arms embargo after five years.

Third, the deal gives up our leverage up-front by relieving sanctions without clarity on how Iran will be held accountable for violations of the deal, especially for small infractions. Furthermore, Iran has stated that any imposition of sanctions will be considered a breach of the agreement, making it difficult for human rights violations and terrorism.

I choose the strength of America over the appeasement of Iran. For the security of my country and my grandchildren, we should say ‘no’ to this Iran deal.