Iran’s dangerous nuclear program

The “deal” struck in Geneva will strengthen Iran’s economy, take it one step closer to becoming a nuclear power.

Zarif and Kerry at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Carolyn Kaster/Pool)
Zarif and Kerry at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Carolyn Kaster/Pool)
The six-month deal struck this Sunday in Geneva between the West and Iran does little to curtail Iran’s dangerous nuclear program and cripples the international sanctions that we have spent decades fighting for. Iran gets another slap on the wrist and we give up the best tool we have to stop them. This “deal” will not make the world safer. What it will do is strengthen Iran’s economy and take it one step closer to becoming a nuclear power. Make no mistake, a nuclear Iran will make the world a more dangerous place. 
In this lopsided agreement, the Us and its fellow P5+1 countries (Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China) agreed to ease existing sanctions and not implement any more new ones in exchange for too little. Easing existing sanctions will inject $20 billion into Iran’s economy, according to Mark Dubowitz from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. This is money that Iran can and likely will use to invest in its criminal activities- whether that helps to advance its nuclear program or funds and trains terrorists abroad.
The US – and the world- got the raw end of this deal. Iran gets to keep its uranium and its 19,000 centrifuges. With these tools in place, Iran could still develop a weapon in a matter of weeks. Ignoring that fact, we’re now allowing Iran to keep all of its building blocks for a nuclear weapon because it promised to suspend its nuclear program for 6 months. Why are we trusting the word of a country with a history of terrorist-financing and an agenda to destroy Israel? Are you kidding me?
WHILE THE Administration continues its media circus to gain support for this sham of a deal, Tehran moves forward towards a nuclear bomb. Tehran has dangerous 20-percent enriched uranium, but that’s not being destroyed. Kerry lauded that it will be converted, but it’s easily reversible. Tehran will also continue construction on a plutonium heavy water reactor at Arak. This will make plutonium that just like enriched uranium is the material necessary for a nuclear weapon. Kerry applauded that Iran cannot work on the reactor directly, but it can continue constructing it. This is a dangerous game of semantics.
None of this matters though if we cannot verify that any of it is actually taking place. And here, again, is where this agreement fails. Iran has repeatedly denied access to International Atomic Energy Association inspectors and hidden its nuclear sites. Sunday’s deal does little to help inspectors guarantee access or cooperation from Iran.
The only thing that Sunday’s agreement did disarm was our international credibility. Over the years, the US has led six United Nations Security Council resolutions that called on Iran to stop enriching uranium and to abandon its nuclear program.  That is all null and void now. Despite Israel, France, and others standing up to Iran, we showed them through this agreement that we were no longer willing to make the hard decisions and lead. This is worse than the Administration's favorite tactic of "leading from behind", this is not leading at all.
Three weeks ago, I met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Israel. We discussed what Iran’s nuclear program meant not only for the security of our countries, but for the safety of the entire world. When he called the agreement a "historic mistake” on Sunday, I couldn’t agree more. This is reminiscent of former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s mistake of appeasement with the Nazis by promising "peace in our time". Chamberlain ignored Nazi Germany’s aggression and called for peace. Less than a year later, Germany started World War II. We know from history what happens when warning signs are ignored and peace agreements are rushed. We cannot afford to let it happen again. The consequences are far too dangerous.
Just because we are tired of talks doesn’t mean that we can throw in the towel. The moves outlined in this agreement do not amount to actionable, verifiable steps to dismantle Iran’s growing nuclear arsenal. They merely allow the Administration to have good sound bites for the Sunday morning shows.
Now is not the time to ease our sanctions on Iran. I and many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have spoken up to protest this bad deal. In July, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation to further strengthen our sanctions against Iran. In a time of partisan divide, the fact that this bill passed 400-20 speaks volumes about the magnitude of the threat we are facing from Iran. It’s time for the Senate to pass this legislation and ignore the political pressure from the White House.
The United States must stand up and protect itself and its allies. Iran is already a threat to global world order and peace. It antagonizes Israel, trains terrorists, and wreaks havoc throughout the Middle East. An Iran emboldened by nuclear weapons will be a threat like which we have never seen before. We simply cannot allow that to happen. And that’s just the way it is.
The writer is a US Congressman and Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation & Trade.