Reply from Sen. Gardner re Iran Deal
Thank you for contacting me regarding Iran. I appreciate you taking the time to write. It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate and I hope you will continue to write with your thoughts and ideas on moving our country forward.
Concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities has been growing for over a decade. In 2002, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first discovered that Iran was engaging in a variety of nuclear activities, which violated its obligations as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The international community has since pressured Iran to discontinue these activities through both diplomacy and sanctions. After twenty months of negotiations, a deal was reached between Iran and the six P5+1 countries, which include the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The parameters of this agreement are outlined in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA).
The more details we learn about the deal, the worse it seems. Reports indicate that this deal accomplishes none of the goals it should, nor the goals the negotiations began with. It would make Iran a globally approved nuclear threshold state. It would endanger our closest ally in the region, Israel. The sanctions relief in the deal would give Iran billions to pour into continued international terror operations. Full access to all of Iran’s undeclared nuclear facilities or military facilities where nuclear work may be conducted is the only way to ensure Iran’s compliance with the JCPA. In this agreement, however, inspectors must wait at least 24 days before they can set foot on these sites, which is far from the Administration’s promise of “anytime, anywhere” inspections. Iran remains the largest state sponsor of terror in the world and continues to provide weapons and supplies to terrorist groups that have killed Americans, such as Hezbollah or Iran-backed militants in Iraq. Furthermore, despite the advice our military leaders, such as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, this deal lifts the current conventional arms embargo against Iran in five years and lifts sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program after eight years, allowing Iran to become an even bigger threat to the region.
There is no doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize an already volatile region and directly threaten our U.S. national security and that of our close allies, such as Israel. Ever since its statehood, Israel has been a shining light for democracy in a politically unstable region. Iran’s regime, however, refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and has repeatedly said that it plans to “wipe Israel off the map”. It is imperative that we do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and from becoming nuclear-capable. That means doubling down on the sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place and working to enact a deal like the President originally promised: one that prevents Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon rather than putting them on the glide path to a bomb in a few short years. We must also continue to provide all the support we can toward Israel. Standing by Israel is one of my top priorities in Congress. The American people and the world deserve a better deal. Congress should reject this deal and deliver on the promises made at the outset of these negotiations.
Again, thank you for contacting me, and do not hesitate to do so again when an issue is important to you.
United States Senator