Back in 2015, the majority of Americans opposed President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and doubted that Iran could be trusted. Iran, for its part, has spent the past few years proving, simultaneously, how correct Americans’ instincts were and how naïve President Obama was in his push for the deal.
The latest proof of Iran’s untrustworthiness came over the past weekend, when the Iranian regime showed off at a military parade that it has created new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles - a clear violation of the Iran nuclear deal, the prologue to the which states: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons.” That language seems rather straightforward, as does Iran’s violation of it with its development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
Mr. Obama, in his cheerleading for the Iran deal, said that it would build on a “tradition of strong, principled diplomacy,” and would “permanently [prohibit] Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Furthermore, Mr. Obama declared that the deal would cut off “all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb.” But perhaps his most laughable assertion was that the deal included the “most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program.” Well.
Now, two-and-a-half years after the deal was put into place, it is time to see how well it has performed.
Despite Mr. Obama’s tough rhetoric, Tehran has continued to pursue its nuclear program, unabated. In fact, since the start of the nuclear deal, Iran has fired 23 ballistic missiles and at least four or five of those missiles were “nuclear capable.” And German intelligence officials have reported that Iran has continued its illegal pursuit of nuclear technology over the last two years.
Mr. Obama’s toothless nuclear deal has had zero ability to curb Iran’s nuclear program. As Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, David Perdue, and Marco Rubio explained in a letter last year to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, “Iran is currently operating more advanced nuclear centrifuges than it is permitted under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] … and has announced the capability to initiate mass production of more advanced centrifuges.”
Although the Obama administration had heralded the nuclear deal as the dawn of a new age in diplomatic relations with Iran, it is safe to say that Iran had other ideas. Thumbing its nose at the United States just months after the deal was put into place, the Iranian government seized U.S. sailors and then paraded them before television cameras - a complete rejection of the Geneva Convention standards on the treatment of detainees.
And as for those “most comprehensive inspection” requirements Mr. Obama promised, Iran has repeatedly refused to grant international inspectors access to its nuclear-research and military facilities. So much for oversight and inspections.
The American people may be tempted, understandably, to say, “We told you so.”
In 2015, as Mr. Obama was unveiling aspects of the nuclear deal, the organization that I lead, Tea Party Patriots, heard from tens of thousands of Americans who asked us to weigh in on this issue. As a grassroots-driven organization, our direction always comes from our grassroots supporters, and this issue was no exception. In response, we organized meetings on Capitol Hill, delivered letters, sent petitions to Congress, protested outside of key Senators’ offices, and organized a rally on Capitol Hill, where then-candidate Donald Trump spoke about how ill-advised the deal was.
The deal has proven every bit as bad as - and, in fact, worse than - the American people predicted and feared. In many way, it has simply emboldened the oppressive Iranian regime to continue its nuclear program, and perversely, to use even more oppressive tactics against its own citizens. As President Trump correctly noted, Mr. Obama’s lifting of sanctions has only resulted in a flow of cash to the totalitarian regime, which the Iranian government has used for weapons and further oppression of its own people.
Mr. Trump is clearly listening to Americans’ objections about the Iran deal. In mid-January, Mr. Trump imposed a 120-day deadline for rewriting the current deal, and told European allies that the deal must be strengthened, with more rigorous inspection capabilities, or the United States would back out of the deal and re-impose sanctions. Mr. Trump set the stage for the rewrite of the deal: “This is a last chance. Either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.”
Meanwhile, Iran continues to ignore the plain text of the nuclear deal. The nuclear-capable missiles the government brandished during the military parade this past weekend are capable of striking Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East. A sobering thought as we approach the May deadline.