My Take: An Update on Iran
Iran continues to pose a threat to the United States and our allies. As Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am committed to keeping Americans safe and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
This week, Iran’s nuclear program is back in the news. I wanted to share some thoughts with you about why preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is in the vital interests of the United States, and how the deal reached with Iran by the Obama Administration was fatally flawed.
After many years of sanctions, Iran was forced to come to the negotiating table. This was an opportunity for the United States and the world to ensure that Iran never developed nuclear capabilities. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration was so focused on getting any deal they could that they did not focus on getting a good deal. In 2015, an agreement was reached that reduced economic sanctions on Iran and unfroze billions of dollars of assets in return for a temporary freeze in their nuclear program. It was clear through Iran’s rhetoric and subsequent actions that they never truly intended to abide by the deal. They simply wanted to help their crippled economy and have access to billions of dollars that they could use to fund terrorist groups and actions.
At the time, I expressed strong opposition to this agreement because it did not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons; it simply delayed it, while also giving them access to conventional weapons. As part of the deal, the Obama Administration also released more than $100 billion in previously frozen assets that Iran has since used to finance terrorist activities in the Middle East and rebuild its conventional weapons arsenal. Additionally, the deal failed to achieve “anytime, anywhere” inspections and relinquished the deterrence provided by surprise inspections. It will begin to lift key nuclear restrictions after eight years, and will grant Iran virtually instant breakout time after 15 years. In short: the agreement legitimized Iran’s nuclear program and set it on a path to become a nuclear state.
After taking office in January, President Trump tasked his national security team with conducting an Iran policy review, with the aim of developing a comprehensive strategy to address and counter all the threats Iran poses to the international community. Part of the Iran deal requires that every 90 days, the president must certify that Iran is in compliance with the agreement. Today, President Trump announced that his administration was unable to certify that the benefits Iran receives under the deal are “appropriate and proportionate to the measures Iran has taken with respect to terminating its nuclear program.” This decision means that it will be up to Congress to explore options to address the serious flaws in the Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement.
As Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I receive frequent briefings on the developments regarding the effort by Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. There is no higher responsibility I have than to keep Americans safe. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to do everything possible to ensure that Iran never has the ability to use nuclear weapons against the U.S., Israel or our allies.
Member of Congress