BREAKING: Rep. Ted Deutch Announces Opposition to Iran Deal in South Florida Sun Sentinel
In an op-ed that will run tomorrow in his hometown paper, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) writes about his ten years in public office and his decision to oppose the recently announced P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran. The piece by Deutch, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Democrat on the influential Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, is included below:
By Ted Deutch
Ten years ago this month, I decided to run for public office. And from the Florida Senate to the U.S. Congress, I’ve applied the same process to every issue: study it, consult experts, speak with constituents, and then do what I believe is best for our country. That’s why I’ve spent so much time fighting to strengthen Social Security, get big money out of politics, pass gun laws that put saving lives above gun industry profits, and protect the constitutional rights of women to control their own bodies.
I have also devoted myself to strengthening our national security. I believe we’re stronger when we speak loudly and unapologetically for human rights; when we stand with our allies against common threats like terrorism, radicalization, and poverty; and when we unite to prevent the world’s most dangerous regimes from acquiring the world’s deadliest weapons.
While I was serving in the Florida Senate, American soldiers were being killed in Iraq, a war we should have never started, and often by Iranian proxies and their improvised explosive devices. An emboldened Iran was evading weapons inspectors, using the Islamic Revolutionary Guard to launch attacks, and funneling money and missiles to Hamas and Hezbollah. That’s why I proudly passed the law making Florida first in the nation to prevent taxpayer dollars from financing Iranian nuclear weapons – divesting $1.5 billion as a result.
My election to Congress in April 2010 gave me the opportunity to take Florida’s example nationwide. Working across the aisle, I helped pass laws exposing business dealings in Iran, cracking down on Iranian human rights abusers, and applying crippling sanctions to Iran’s oil and gas industries.
Today, a nuclear agreement with Iran awaits a vote in Congress. Assessing it is not a responsibility I take lightly, especially with four Americans, including my constituent Bob Levinson, currently held in Iran. I applaud Secretary Kerry and his team for their commitment to diplomacy, and thank President Obama for his commitment to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
Many of my colleagues are trying to turn this vote into a partisan fight. They should stop. People of good faith can disagree honestly. I have spent weeks reviewing this agreement in classified intelligence briefings, meetings with Administration officials and ambassadors from Europe and the Middle East, and discussions with security and nuclear experts. I’ve also heard from many, many constituents about this deal’s implications for the security of the U.S. and our allies, including Israel, whose very existence is threatened by Iran.
Too many issues I have long raised as essential to any nuclear deal with Iran are not adequately addressed in this agreement. I will vote against it when Congress reconvenes in September.
No one denies Iran’s support for the world’s most notorious terrorist groups. No one disputes Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East or role in killing Americans. And because no one trusts Iran not to cheat in anyway it can, the fact that this deal makes it nearly impossible to reinstate sanctions of today’s intensity is beyond alarming.
The unwarranted giveaways for Iran tucked inside this deal are also concerning. Lifting the arms embargo in five years lets Iran procure the sophisticated missile defense systems they need to guard the nuclear weapons they want. And suspending the ballistic weapons ban after eight years allows Iran to develop the technology to deliver a weapon anywhere in the world.
This deal may temporarily slow Iran’s nuclear enrichment, but it speeds up the enrichment of the Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian terror proxies that endanger security and stability in the Middle East.
There are different predictions about what will happen if Congress rejects this deal. But the consequences of approving it aren’t up for debate. Opening Iran up to foreign investment, increasing its oil exports, and unfreezing over $100 billion in assets means more money for Hamas for building terror tunnels in Gaza, more weapons for Hezbollah in Lebanon, more slaughter in Syria, and more violence worldwide.
After a decade in public life working to stop Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons, I cannot support a deal giving Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief – in return for letting it maintain an advanced nuclear program and the infrastructure of a threshold nuclear state.
Ted Deutch is a Democratic U.S. Representative from West Boca.
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