CHARLESTON – By decertifying the Iran deal, President Trump has taken an important step toward making the United States, and the world, a safer place.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it from the temper tantrums in the liberal media, but let’s put aside the hyper emotional reactions and consider the Iran agreement in the context of history. When it comes to foreign policy, we don’t have the luxury of wishful thinking and naiveté. We have to deal with the facts on the ground.
Fact #1: According to the U.S. State Department, Iran is the world’s “foremost” state sponsor of terrorism. Iran has propped up terrorist entities in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and it has long financed Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Fact #2: Iran has made no secret of its desire to destroy America and its allies. Only two months ago, the Iranian Parliament shouted “death to America” after it voted to expand its missile program. Iranian leaders have also long declared that Israel must be “wiped off the map.”
Fact #3: Iran is intent on developing a nuclear weapon one way or another. As an oil and gas rich country, the regime has no need for sophisticated uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing programs other than to build a weapon. Insisting that Iran is pursuing a peaceful nuclear energy program is nothing short of delusion.
Fact #4: President Obama implemented the Iran agreement under a cloud of deception, lying to the American people about a prisoner swap that released dangerous Iranian criminals and infuriated Department of Justice officials.
Fact #5: Iran has repeatedly flouted international law, lying about its nuclear program and committing multiple human rights violations. More recently, Iran continues to violate U.N. resolutions by testing long-range ballistic and surface-to-surface missiles. The Iran deal itself prohibits ballistic missile activity on the part of Iran.
With these facts in mind, let’s consider the situation at hand. Under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, President Trump is obligated to review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) every 90 days and certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement and that the agreement does not violate U.S. national security interests.
While there has been some debate about whether Iran has violated the deal itself or whether it has violated U.N. resolutions, the very nature of this debate demonstrates that the agreement was never in America’s national security interest to begin with.
At its heart, the Iran deal is based on a dangerous proposition that allows a regime dead set on developing a nuclear weapon to continue to enrich uranium at dangerous levels, while we pour billions of dollars into its coffers.
At the same time, the deal lacks meaningful verification and enforcement measures to ensure that Iranlives up to its end of the bargain. On the verification side, Iran refuses to allow full inspection of military and enrichment sites. Meanwhile, in the two years since the deal was struck, Iran has test-fired several missiles, leaving the U.S. with no recourse to punish the rogue actor.
What good is an agreement that technically allows Iran to expand its missile program, fund terrorism throughout the region, and enrich uranium without punishment? How does such an agreement make the world safer?
A meaningful deal must be based on the willing participation of both parties. But that is not the case here. The Iranian regime has been loud and clear about its intentions, and the United States should take its enemy at its word. To argue that the Iran deal is keeping America safe is not only naïve, it is blatantly dangerous.
On the contrary, JCPOA makes America and the world less safe, giving Iran our blessing to enrich high-grade uranium without the crippling threat of economic sanctions. At the same time, we have unleashed a fresh supply of cash that is being funneled to terrorist entities, sowing instability and violence throughout the Middle East.
President Trump’s primary responsibility is the security of our nation. He is obligated by law to make that determination based on the facts on the ground and the history surrounding Iran’s violent role in the Middle East. All the wishful thinking in the world doesn’t change the reality we must contend with.
Decertifying the Iran deal is the right move. Hopefully, Congress will follow suit.
Morrisey, a Republican, is West Virginia's attorney general and a candidate for U.S. Senate.