Friday, July 17, 2015
Billy Long: I will not accept a dangerous, bad deal with Iran
After more than 19 months of negotiations and many missed “deadlines,” the U.S., member nations of the United Nations Security Council and Iran struck a deal to lift international economic sanctions in return for Iran to reign in its nuclear program. Southwest Missourians have, for quite some time now, reached out and let me know of their concerns about a nuclear Iran. To guarantee accountability, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 was passedand signed into law in May to allow Congress up to 60 days to review any deal made with Iran regarding its nuclear program and aspirations to develop a nuclear weapon.
It is great that Congress now has the power to review and take a vote on this agreement. We have the power to make sure a bad deal with a state-sponsor of terrorism and enemy of the U.S., Israel and our allies does not become reality.
I am very skeptical of this agreement. I am most concerned that it would only delay Iran’s mission to build a nuclear weapon while permanently lifting sanctions that have greatly slowed that process down. Iran would be allowed to research modern nuclear centrifuges while the agreement is still in place. Much of this agreement relies on the ability to inspect the country’s nuclear infrastructure. Under this agreement, international inspectors would not have full, cover-to-cover access to Iranian facilities. In some instances, Iran would approve the ability to inspect with a process that could last for over three weeks. This gives Iran plenty of time to cover up any activity that would not comply with the agreement. Having true verification through timely inspections is absolutely necessary to make sure history does not repeat itself and allow Iran to continue its proliferation efforts.
Even if Iran plays by the rules, with sanctions lifted and billions of dollars at its disposal, I am concerned Iran would have more resources to put toward research and ready its nuclear capabilities once the agreement expires. Experts estimate Iran could currently develop a nuclear weapon within three months, while this deal may only extend the time to one year. President Obama said the “breakout time” may be zero before expiration. None of this solves the problem.
I find it very troubling that President Obama issued a veto threat on any legislation to stop the deal from occurring before the agreement text even made it to Congress. It defeats the purpose of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act he signed into law and has a chilling effect on real, collaborative congressional oversight and decision making.
I look forward to reviewing all the details of the deal between now and September before taking a vote. I will not accept a dangerous, bad deal that jeopardizes Americans over no deal at all. All alternatives, including strengthening sanctions, should be considered.