July 25, 2015
Arizona Republic
Reps. Matt Salmon, Martha McSally, Trent Franks, David Schweikert

Lawmakers: None of Congress' elements of a good pact are included in Obama's deal.

President Obama has hailed the result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations a "good deal" for America. Optimists label it a gamble. Realists call it what it is, a dangerous mistake.

We’re realists, and the evidence for our position is clear.

In a March letter to President Obama, 367 members of Congress underscored components of a successful negotiation: the agreement should extend multiple decades, contain a dramatic reduction in centrifuge capacity, provide intrusive inspection and verification measures and include a full disclosure of Iran’s past efforts to build a nuclear weapon. This deal fails in all four areas.

This deal does not prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; it merely slows the process — and that’s assuming they don’t cheat. Iran will have absolute freedom to build a nuclear weapon in only 10 years, once the agreement sunsets.

Furthermore, Iran would not be required to dismantle key bomb-making technology. It would be permitted to retain vast enrichment capacity, and it is afforded the opportunity to continue nuclear research and development.

The administration once claimed “anytime, anywhere” inspections were necessary for any deal, but the agreed upon text does not require them.

Iran has already shown a pattern of non-compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. Earlier this year, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano declared that Iran has replied to just one of a dozen queries about its past nuclear activities and stated that “recently, the progress is very limited.”

This framework would provide monitors unfettered access to “declared” nuclear sites, but affords Iran 24 days to push back on a request to inspect “undeclared,” or military, sites. “Anytime, anywhere” inspections are the only way to ensure that Iran is held accountable.

Under this deal, Iran will begin to receive over $150 billion in sanctions relief. Assumptions that this money will go to support domestic programs are naive. While struggling under stiff international sanctions, Iran still diverted over $32 billion per year to support the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its terrorist proxies.

The deal removes the arms embargo on conventional weapons within five years, and annuls the embargo on ballistic missiles within eight. This move challenges what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said just days before the deal was finalized: “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities.”

With these arms embargoes lifted, Iran’s conventional military will strengthen, making any future military action higher risk for U.S. and allied forces. We can be sure that the Revolutionary Guard will exploit sanctions relief to fund a new generation of terrorism through its proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

The president’s promise that sanctions will “snap back into place” if there is a violation is patently false. Reinstating international sanctions would require a coordinated effort from multiple nations, including China and Russia, an unlikely scenario.

This is a disastrous foreign policy mistake. If ratified, U.S. security will be jeopardized, Israeli existence will be seriously threatened and the already volatile Middle East will devolve into an arms race.

It is our hope that our colleagues in Congress will stand strong against this plan, which strikes at the foundation of our nation’s security, and demand the administration return to the table as our Congress has done numerous times for various international agreements.

Last month, we were joined by three of our Democrat colleagues in Arizona to demand that key components be included in any deal. Now that it is clear these weren’t met, we look forward to this same group standing with us against this dangerous mistake.

Reps. Matt Salmon and David Schweikert represent portions of Phoenix and East Valley communities in Congress. Martha McSally represents portions of Tucson and southeast Arizona. Trent Franks represents the West Valley and northwest Arizona.

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