Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American servicemembers, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens. The Iranian regime has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people. No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them.
In 2015, the previous administration joined with other nations in a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. This agreement was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. In theory, the so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime.
In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and, over time, reach the brink of a nuclear breakout. The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on our end in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity and no limits at all on its other maligned behavior, including sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world. In other words, at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime—and it’s a regime of great terror—many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash. A great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.
A constructive deal could easily have been struck at the time, but it wasn’t. At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear-energy program. Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents, long-concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons.
The fact is, this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40 percent, while its economy is doing very badly. After the sanctions were lifted, the dictatorship used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond.
The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime could still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time. The deal’s sunset provisions are totally unacceptable. If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear-arms race in the Middle East. Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs.
Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating—and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities. Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads.