Valley Voices

David Valadao: Why I oppose Iran nuclear pact

Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, says that he will vote “no” on the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, says that he will vote “no” on the nuclear agreement with Iran. Vida en el Valle

Since negotiations regarding the Iranian nuclear agreement began, President Obama and his administration have repeatedly stated, “No deal is better than a bad deal.” I strongly agree with this statement and believe Congress must carefully consider the proposal to ensure it protects Americans, and the entire world, from the danger of a nuclear-powered Iran.

Most importantly, any deal must prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. An agreement that falls short of this fails to serve its inherent purpose. Unfortunately, in its current form, the Iranian nuclear agreement will not achieve this integral goal.

A primary flaw of the proposed deal is its temporary nature. Most provisions of the agreement expire over the next 10 to 15 years. Even if Iran is unable to develop a nuclear weapon today or tomorrow, they would be able to in just a decade. Implementing foreign policy that temporarily addresses an issue is fruitless and instead leaves our children and grandchildren to deal with the consequences of our inaction.

Not only does the Iran agreement fail to provide a long-term solution, but it fails to provide Congress with the transparency required. Certain components, such as secret side deals, will remain undisclosed making it impossible to ensure that this deal, in its entirety, will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Recently, concerning information has surfaced regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which will be responsible for monitoring Iran’s facilities and activities. Reports indicate that the IAEA will allow Iran to play a large role in monitoring Parchin, an Iranian military complex. If Iran can prevent the monitoring of specific locations, then the concept of “anytime, anywhere” inspections is absent. However, the details of this side detail and whether or not it addresses this significant shortcoming have not been released, making it impossible to determine the effectiveness of the IAEA in ensuring Iran doesn’t obtain nuclear capabilities, even within the given time period.

When discussing the Iran nuclear deal, “anytime, anywhere” inspections have been deemed a critical component to a successful agreement. Iran has repeatedly broken our trust and engaged in inexcusable activities that have put the entire world at risk, and as a result, any agreement must have uninhibited access whenever necessary.

However, there is no unbarred access to inspect Iran facilities within the proposed agreement. Instead, we have the ability to request an inspection at our discretion. Inspection requests will then undergo a 24-day review. Such a review period provides Iran more than enough time to hide its weaponization of nuclear materials, and other activities involved in developing a nuclear weapon. This review period completely evades the point of anytime, anywhere inspections and renders it impossible to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.

Beyond the deal’s glaring inspection and enforcement weaknesses, the nuclear agreement is posed to inject up to $100 billion into the Iranian economy, a nation which the U.S. State Department has designated as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Such financial resources will make the Middle East even less stable and increase the likelihood of war in the region.

Even if Iran abides by the terms of this agreement, after 10 or 15 years, the Islamic Republic will be an even more dangerous adversary than it is now. The agreement does not require Iran to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. Instead, the deal allows for conventional weapons sales to Iran after five years, ballistic missile imports after eight years, and continued nuclear research and development throughout the agreement’s duration.

The proposed nuclear agreement is unacceptable. While I appreciate the White House’s efforts, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry stepped away from the negotiating table far too soon. We need an agreement that actually prevents Iran from achieving nuclear weapon capabilities and provides much needed security to our important allies in the Middle East.

Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, represents California’s 21st District covering Kings County, western Fresno County, southwestern Tulare County and northwestern Kern County.