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Whoa - Wait a Minute

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Washington, April 15, 2015 | Tiffany Haverly (202-226-8072) | comments

What Part of “Death to America” Does the President Not Understand? 

On April 2, the Obama administration announced it had agreed to the framework for a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. Sadly, this was no late April Fools’ joke. These negotiations have been extended for more than a year now, and one key question needs to be answered immediately: How does allowing Iran access to nuclear technology make the world safer? The answer is simple—it doesn’t. The president’s responsibility is to protect American interests, not look after Iranian interests. While I have concerns about the deal itself, I am just as concerned with comments made by  Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after the Obama administration’s announcement. Not only did Khamenei deny an agreement had been fully reached, he further demanded any deal include immediate relief from Congressional sanctions on Iran.

A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to our friends in Israel; it’s a serious danger to the rest of the world. This is not a new issue. I remember one of the first questions I was asked in a debate was about the impact a nuclear Iran could have on the rest of the world. I strongly believe that this issue is more important—and a nuclear Iran more dangerous—than ever before. I also fear it would be very destabilizing to the world if this agreement moves forward. How do we know this is a bad idea?

Iran is the largest exporter and sponsor of terrorism in the world. We know without a doubt it has funded organizations whose main goal is to cause the United States and the rest of the Western world harm. Why in the world would you continue to negotiate with the Iranians? It is especially disturbing, and, quite frankly, embarrassing, when you have the leaders of one country announcing an agreeable framework has been reached and a week later the leader of the other country denies the negotiations have advanced to that point. Are we supposed to ignore the fact there are crowds in the streets of Iran chanting “death to America” and continue this cat-and-mouse approach? This is not how the most powerful country in the world should do business, and I believe the Obama administration is making a huge mistake.

My friend and colleague Senator Bob Corker has shown thoughtful leadership throughout this process. Earlier this year he introduced a bipartisan bill that is spot-on in its approach. The bill, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, would require President Obama to submit to Congress the text of any agreement with Iran within five days. The submission must include verification that Iran will comply and certify that the agreement does not jeopardize national security. The bill also prohibits the president from suspending Congressional sanctions for up to 52 days and requires the president to assess Iran’s compliance every 90 days.

With an issue this serious, this is not too much to ask from the administration, and I am proud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed this legislation unanimously on April 14th. Once it became clear that Congress would overwhelmingly vote to assert itself in reviewing any potential agreement, the president indicated he would support the legislation and give Congress an opportunity to weigh in on any proposed agreement.

I have supported increased sanctions on Iran and strongly believe Congress must review any agreement with Iran. This issue is too important to our national security and to global stability to get wrong, and you can rest assured I will continue to push for Congress to have a voice in these important negotiations.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. 
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