A Conservative Appeal to Democrats to Oppose the Iran Deal

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

I know you are under tremendous pressure to support the agreement with Iran that President Barack Obama has presented to the nation.

I know that the president has said the Iran deal is critical to his legacy. I know he has said it is as important to him as Obamacare. So I know how hard it is for you to oppose it.

I know virtually every Republican opposes it, which in this age of hyper-partisanship is enough to suggest you should support it.

Regardless, I must ask you to oppose it–to look beyond politics. Look to the deal, to the Constitution, and to history.

Did you know that the deal is not even a deal? It is not being sent to the Senate as a treaty–and Republicans have been willing to pass those, contrary to what Secretary of State John Kerry has said. The New START treaty and Trade Promotion Authority are proof of that.

No, this is an executive agreement, we are told. But it is not even that. There was no signing ceremony. There are no enforceable commitments. There is just a series of pledges, blessed by the UN Security Council but not actually binding anyone to do anything–much less the Iranian regime.

The president says that the Iran deal shuts off all four pathways to a nuclear weapon. How does he know? He says we will know because the deal has “unprecedented” inspections? But unlike other deals, it excludes Americans from participating in those inspections, so that cannot be true.

The president says the deal “permanently” prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. That depends on trusting Iran to live up to a paper promise and an imaginary fatwa against nuclear weapons that no one, least of all the president himself, seems able to produce.

So the president says that the Iran deal is not based on trust, but verification. That verification depends on being able to know what Iran has done so far, so that we may measure its progress. It also depends on having access to sites that may be unknown at present–since Iran has hid its nuclear program in the past–and to Iran’s military sites.

That is up to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has a confidential, secret side deal with Iran. The president has not seen it. He even signed a law requiring it to be sent to Congress. But he refuses.

This is worse than passing a law to find out what’s in it, as Nancy Pelosi famously said about Obamacare. That was enough, back then, for most Democrats to support Obamacare. But when people found out what was in it, many of those Democrats lost those seats, and President Obama had to start changing the law (without authority) and apologizing for broken promises.

Can we afford to make the same mistake–a worse mistake, in fact, since according to the White House we won’t even know what it in the full Iran deal after it has passed Congress?

The Constitution is clear. It does not allow the president to make this deal.

A bipartisan group of legislators, in an attempt to assert at least some vestige of their constitutional powers, passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. The president threatened to veto it, then signed it–but went around Congress anyway, straight to the UN.

If Congress rejects the deal–as it surely will–but fails to override Obama’s veto–as it might–we will see the president act unilaterally–personally–to commit this nation to very risky policy. That is wrong, and dangerous.

The president says that there is no alternative to the Iran deal, except war. (He used to say no deal was better than a bad deal, but never mind.) That is not true. There are better deals that could be struck, if the president were willing to lead the free world in a united front against Iran.

What he refuses to see is that Iran has been at war with the United States for 35 years. Iran killed hundreds of our soldiers in Iraq. It had links to Al Qaeda and tried to carry out a terror attack in Washington. The regime is still holding four Americans as virtual hostages today.

President Obama often tells us that when we oppose him, we are on “the wrong side of history.” But there is no side of history more wrong than those who opposed President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he urged his fellow Americans to take the threats of Nazi Germany very seriously.

The Iranian regime shouts “Death to America!” and the Obama administration says it is just rhetoric. That shows, at the very least, a lack of respect for history.

If you want to be on the right side of history, you cannot repeat that mistake. “Never again” means voting no.


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