On the second anniversary of President Barack Obama’s disastrous Iranian nuclear agreement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce released a statement renewing his opposition to the deal and highlighting the tremendous risks the West was taking by allowing it to stand as is.
“Two years after President Obama announced his ‘deal’ with Iran, the ayatollah is still working toward a nuclear bomb,” said Royce on Twitter. “The Iranian regime has accelerated its illicit ballistic missile program, and there have been multiple reports of Iran not living up to the agreement. Just this past week, we learned German intelligence caught Iran trying to buy illegal nuclear weapons technology.
“If Iran has not materially breached the agreement,” he concluded, “it’s only because the JCPOA is so deeply flawed.”
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to rip the nuclear agreement to shreds on day one, but his administration has tempered its enthusiasm for a complete repeal of the deal. The president is expected to announce Monday that Tehran has remained within the confines of the deal, even as Trump personally continues to have doubts about the effectiveness of the agreement.
At this point, it’s unclear whether there is a better path. While Royce is absolutely right that this is a deeply-flawed agreement, the major damage has already been done. It was done when Obama (secretly) flew a plane-load of cash to Tehran and allowed several Iranian bad hombres loose in exchange for American hostages and the final signatures on the deal. Now Iran has the cash and the freedom to continue sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East, to say nothing of their largely-successful plot to co-opt Iraq as a client state and gain control over vast swaths of Syrian territory. And in the meantime, they have taken no steps whatsoever to quell the violent, jihadist-esque talk of wiping Israel off the face of the map.
That said, the mere lack of “great” options should not compel President Trump to certify a truth that simply isn’t true. And the truth is that Iran is NOT in full compliance with the nuclear agreement. As has been pointed out by Sens. David Perdue, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Tom Cotton, Iran has violated the terms of the agreement in at least four ways: They’re keeping more centrifuges in play than the deal allows for, they’re exceeding the written limits on production and storage of heavy water, they are continuing to procure nuclear technology outside the JCPOA’s prescribed system (as alluded to by Rep. Royce), and they are refusing to give international inspectors full access to their military facilities. Any one of those would represent a breach of the agreement; together, they undermine the deal to the point of worthlessness.
It’s unclear if there is ANY deal worth pursuing with the hostile Iranian government, but if there is to be one, it should be one that actually works. This clearly isn’t it. If the Trump administration turns a blind eye to Iran’s misbehavior, they will have to accept partial responsibility for the consequences that currently belong to Obama and the rest of the countries who foolishly signed this deal.