Congress is preparing for a monumental vote on the Obama Administration’s Iran nuclear weapons agreement. As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Defense, I will be working to inform my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I would suggest the best place for their education process to start is at its most basic level: the President’s approach to the Iran nuclear weapons negotiations is based on two high-stakes gambles:
Gamble #1: Iran will transform its behavior and become a “model citizen” in the community of nations.
From the rise to power of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic based on the principle of rule by Islamic jurists, Iran has developed a well-earned reputation as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Since holding American diplomats and Marines hostage for 444 days from 1979 to 1981, Iran has developed and supported a worldwide terror network which it has used to execute terror attacks in Asia, Europe, Africa and North and South America. These facts are not in dispute.
Now consider that Iran will be receiving a “signing bonus” of approximately $150 billion in soon-to-be unfrozen assets, in addition to new oil and other revenue. In a $400 billion economy that is quite a windfall! And how might we expect the regime in Teheran to use these new resources? Given the Iranian track record and its aspirations to become the most powerful nation in the Middle East, this funding will certainly stream to Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, their on-again, off-again partners, Hamas, in Gaza and other Iranian military proxies in the region, not to mention the murderous regime of Bashar Assad in Syria which they underwrite. With the Iranian conventional arms embargo being lifted in just a few short years, it will not take long before the regime has the best equipped set of proxy armies in the world!
The regime’s Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force is active across the globe. Eight years ago, the Quds Force was killing American soldiers in Iraq, possibly as many as one-thousand! Hundreds more were maimed and scarred for life by the armor-piercing “explosively formed penetrators” produced inside Iran. Now, the Obama Administration has negotiated a deal that will, in effect, provide Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani, already labeled “the most dangerous man on the planet,” more resources with which to attack American soldiers now and in the future. This deal may give him and hundreds of his associates the ability to move freely as travel restrictions are lifted under its provisions.
Gamble #2: Will the Administration be able to convince states in the region, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council states that Iran is changing its behavior so as to prevent a burst of nuclear proliferation and conventional militarization?
The fact of the matter is that Iran has made no secret of its goal to achieve Shiite domination of the greater Middle East. That is why they provide, again through the Quds Force, material support to the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, various Shiite militias in Iraq and Shiite blocs in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Who expects that to change?
Deep concern in the region about Iran’s rising power has already triggered a conventional arms race. But now that the nuclear “deal” is sealed, we can anticipate that at least some of these nations will give serious thought to acquiring their own nuclear weapons capability. The Middle East is already the most volatile, unstable region of the world. More arms, especially nuclear arms, will only magnify the danger!
From where I sit, the Obama Administration’s gambles are not worth the risks to the safety of the American people and our overall national security.
Will Iran change its stripes, earned after decades of global terrorist activities? Not likely.
Will Iran’s neighbors, including Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, sit idly by while Iran threatens their people and security. I suggest the answer to that question is “Never.”
Will this agreement jeopardize the lives of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who will inevitably be asked to answer Iranian aggression in the Middle East and across the globe? Sadly, that is a very solid bet.