Weekly Columns

The Senate is set to return from our August in-state work period and we have a packed schedule waiting for our return. At the top of the list is the proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

This debate is vital. Despite President Obama’s initial objections to Congressional oversight, the American people deserve a say in this vital national security matter that has been negotiated behind closed doors.

When these discussions began, President Obama claimed we would be able to diplomatically dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. The final agreement suggests this is far from the case. It is apparent the President and his negotiating partners were willing—eager even—to give into every demand made by the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. The goalposts were moved from dismantling Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program to blindly hoping we can contain it.

For example, the Obama administration began the talks with the original position that Fordow—one of Iran’s most infamous nuclear sites—must be closed. This is no ordinary site. It is a fortified, underground military bunker built into the side of a mountain. It was constructed in secret and serves one purpose—to covertly produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium. Certainly any agreement aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons should force the regime to close Fordow. However, over the course of the negotiations, the President caved and is allowing the Iranians to maintain the capacity to continue enrichment activities at Fordow.

Now comes news that international inspectors won’t even be the ones handling inspections at the country’s military complex in Parchin. The Iranians themselves will be. How this is acceptable to anyone is astounding. There is absolutely no reason, given the regime's history, to believe that Iranian inspectors will be honest about what is going on in Parchin.

The President claims that verification will ensure Iran’s compliance, but verification appears to be exactly where this deal is lacking any punch. There are no anytime, anywhere inspections. There is nothing in this deal that lets us confidently say we know what truly is going on at any of the nuclear sites in Iran.

A lack of verification is far from the only troubling aspect of this agreement. The Iranian regime believes that the agreement gives them full, permanent relief from sanctions. It was hard enough to get the international community to commit to sanctions in the first place. With a reprieve of this nature, we will never be able to reestablish them should Iran not live up to its end of this agreement, which is a strong possibility given the Iranian regime’s duplicitous actions in the past.

We have a responsibility to ensure that Iran never achieves its goal of becoming a nuclear power. If Iran goes nuclear, Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region surely will follow. The deal gives us little confidence that we will be successful in this regard.

A nuclear Iran could be devastating for America and our allies. This is about saving our children and grandchildren from the prospects of nuclear war. I cannot confidently say this agreement will accomplish this goal. In fact, I fear it moves us in the wrong direction. For that reason, I oppose the deal and intend to support the resolution of disapproval.