By Randal Hill (D-Cand., FL-24)
Congress should reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1 countries and the Republic of Iran. I would vote NO because the JCPOA does not remove the possibility that Iran could eventually create and produce nuclear weapons. As a former special agent for the Department of Homeland Security, my experience with counter-terror investigations leads me to the conclusion that if a known supporter of terrorism says that they will continue to fund terrorist operations, we should believe them.
Indeed, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, who has Iran’s final decision on the JCPOA, stated that Iran would continue to consider the United States and Israel as hostile enemies, even though he endorsed the deal. The JCPOA would quickly allow more than 100 billion dollars to be unfrozen from accounts around the world and made available to them. Iran’s government has stated that some of this money would go to its terror proxies such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthi group in Yemen. Additionally, Iran would continue its support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Instead of increasing the security for the United States’ strongest ally in the region, Israel, the terms of the JCPOA would permit Iran to accelerate its anti-Israel efforts.
Several prominent Democrats have examined this legislation and have come to the same conclusion. Just the other day, Congressman Alcee Hastings (D, FL-20) announced he could not support the JCPOA. Iran would obtain too much under the JCPOA while the greater international community would not receive such a bounty. Iran would only be limited in its nuclear program for 10-15 years, after which, it could quickly upgrade its systems and head towards nuclear armaments.
Similarly, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) identified a key problem with the JCPOA – that Iran must receive 24 days notice before an inspection can occur. This is an absurd length of time within which to conduct an inspection. Consider that law enforcement obtains warrants to search a property and then seeks to serve that warrant and conduct the search as quickly as possible because of the possibility that the suspect could remove, destroy, alter, or otherwise prevent law enforcement from finding the objects called for in the warrant. The JCPOA raises the stakes even higher because if Iran is enriching uranium to weapons-grade or if it is constructing materials to build a long- range missile, 24 days is nearly an eternity before the inspection could be conducted.
As many have said, the JCPOA is an effort of historic significance. President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and the rest of the negotiations team should be commended for bringing Iran to the negotiating table. The President has continually pushed the international community to put strong sanctions in place against Iran. If the sanctions brought us this far, we should continue to enforce the sanctions to further bend Iran towards a better agreement than the JCPOA. Negotiations and diplomacy have started to bring results, the United States should continue to lead the diplomatic effort to remove Iran from its status as a nuclear threshold state. The President and Secretary of
State Kerry should go back to the negotiating table and work towards a better deal that would better protect Israel and lengthen the potential window before which Iran could develop its own nuclear weapons. Accordingly, I would vote no on the JCPOA.
Randal Hill is a democratic candidate for Congress for Florida’s 24th District.
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