Sen. John Thune
This week, the U.S. Senate will consider the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran. I will be voting against this agreement, because this deeply flawed deal is not strong enough to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and will allow Iran to increase its support for terrorism.
A key step to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon would have been ending Iran’s nuclear program. Unfortunately, the agreement President Obama announced this summer not only fails to end Iran’s nuclear program, it actually allows Iran to increase its nuclear expertise and enrichment infrastructure.
Under this agreement, Iran is allowed to build more advanced centrifuges capable of producing a significant amount of nuclear material in a very short amount of time. While the deal forbids Iran from enriching weapons-grade uranium, that prohibition is only as good as Iran’s word given that it will be allowed to maintain and grow its nuclear infrastructure.
Another key part of a strong deal would have been “anytime, anywhere” inspections, especially given Iran’s history of violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by building enrichment facilities in secret. Unfortunately, the Obama administration abandoned its insistence on strong enforcement.
Under the terms of the Obama-negotiated agreement, “anytime, anywhere” inspections are limited to a small number of known nuclear sites. If inspectors believe that Iran is conducting activity at other locations, they have to apply for permission to visit these sites, a process that could take more than three weeks and give Iran plenty of time to hide evidence of illicit activities.
On top of all this, the agreement will greatly increase Iran’s ability to fund terror. Iran is already the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and the primary supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas. Now, under this agreement, sanctions will be lifted and Iran’s assets will be unfrozen, giving Iran access to tens of billions of dollars to spend on terrorism.
In addition to these problems, the Obama administration recently confirmed that the International Atomic Energy Agency – the agency in charge of nuclear inspections – has made secret side deals with Iran, but the details of those deals remain undisclosed. It is difficult to see how any of my colleagues in Congress can in good conscience approve the agreement without knowing the full details of how inspections will take place.
During negotiations over this agreement, President Obama and his administration emphasized that no deal was better than a bad deal. It’s unfortunate they didn’t stick to that policy.
The deal they agreed to this summer is a bad deal that will fuel instability in the Middle East and around the globe. That’s why I’ll be voting against this agreement this week, and why I will urge my colleagues to do the same.