Analysis of the opposition to the Iran nuclear accord (JCPOA)
Senator Menendez (NJ-DEM), opposed the Iraq War
and supported President Obama 98% of Capitol Hill votes
MILITARY OR PEACEFUL NUCLEAR
1. “Why does Iran – which has the world’s 4th largest proven oil reserves and the world’s 2nd largest proven natural gas reserves – need nuclear power for domestic energy?…. if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it….
FROM “ROLL-BACK” TO “ROLL-ON”
2. “We thought the agreement would be rollback-for-rollback: you rollback your infrastructure and we’ll rollback our sanctions…. At the end of the day, what we appear to have is a rollback of sanctions and Iran only limiting its capability, not dismantling it or rolling it back…. We have now abandoned our long-held policy of preventing nuclear proliferation and are now embarked – not on preventing nuclear proliferation – but on managing or containing it…. This deal grants Iran permanent sanctions relief in exchange for only temporary limitations on its program, not a rolling-back, not dismantlement…. The stated purpose of our negotiations with Iran was to dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure… to ensure that it would not have nuclear weapons capability at any time. Not shrink its infrastructure. Not limit it, but fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons capability….
FROM ELIMINATION TO COMPLICITY
3. “This agreement leaves Iran with the core element of a robust nuclear infrastructure…. It failed to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. In fact, it authorizes and supports the very road map Iran will need to arrive at its target….
4. “This deal does not require Iran to destroy, or fully decommission, a single uranium enrichment centrifuge. In fact, over half of Iran’s currently operation centrifuges will continue to spin at its Natanz facility. The remainder, including more than 5,000 operating centrifuges and nearly 10,000 not yet functioning , will merely be disconnected and transferred to another hall at Natanz, where they could be quickly reinstalled to enrich uranium…. Iran will be allowed to continue R&D activity on a range of centrifuges, allowing them to improve their effectiveness over the course of the agreement….
5. “The Islamic Republic of Iran possesses two variants of ballistic missiles that, according to experts, are believed to be potentially capable of delivering nuclear weapons…. With so much at stake, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) — after waiting over ten years to inspect Parchin, speak to Iranian nuclear scientists, and review additional materials and documents — are now told they will not have direct access to Parchin…. How the inspections and soil and other samples are to be collected are outlined in two secret agreements that the U.S. Congress is not privy to….
6. “Maybe the reason is because it will be the Iranians and not the IAEA performing the tests and providing the samples to be analyzed, which would be the equivalent of having an athlete accused of using performance enhancing drugs submit an unsupervised urine sample to the appropriate authority…. What we are doing is sweeping this critical issue under the rug…. The Administration’s willingness to forgo a critical element of Iran’s weaponization — past and present — is inexplicable. Our willingness to accept this process on Parchin is only exacerbated by the inability to obtain anytime, anywhere inspections…. [The Ayatollahs’] violations of the NPT and the Security Council Resolutions created the necessity for a unique regime and for anytime, anywhere inspections….
7. “The deal commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment….
8. “[According to the agreement, the US] will have to refrain from reintroducing, or re-imposing, the Iran Sanctions Act – which expires next year – that acted significantly to bring Iran to the table…. If anything is a fantasy about this agreement, it is the belief that snapback will have any real effect….
9. “The U.S. track record in detecting and stopping countries from going nuclear should make Secretary Kerry more modest in his claims and assumptions. The U.S. missed the Soviet Union, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Washington underestimated Saddam’s program in 1990. Then it overestimated his program in 2003 and went to war to stop a nonexistent WMD program. It is precisely because of this track record that permitting Iran to have the size and scope of an industrialized nuclear program, permitted under the [deal with the Ayatollahs] is one of the great flaws of the agreement….
10. “It is difficult to believe that the world’s greatest powers, the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and the European Union, sitting on one side of the table, and Iran sitting alone on the other side, staggering from sanctions and rocked by plummeting oil prices, could not have achieved some level of critical dismantlement….
THE AYATOLLAHS’ TRACK RECORD (dramatic benefits to the Ayatollahs not preconditioned upon transformation of their policies)
11. “[The deal] fails to appreciate Iran’s history of deception in its nuclear program and its violations of the NPT…. Iran has violated various UN Security Council Resolutions, and by deception and delay advanced their program to the point of being a threshold nuclear state…. Iran was weaponizing its nuclear program at the Parchin Military Base, as well as developing a covert uranium enrichment facility in Fordow…. If Iran has nothing to hide they shouldn’t need to put it under a mountain…. If Iran can violate its obligations for more than a decade, it can’t then be allowed to avail themselves of the same provisions and protections they violated in the first place….
12. “As the largest State Sponsor of Terrorism, Iran – which has exported its revolution to Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and directed attacks against US troops in Iraq – will be flush with money to further pursue their destabilizing, hegemonic goals in the region. If Iran can afford to destabilize the region with an economy staggering under sanctions and rocked by falling oil prices, what will Iran and the Quds Force do when they have a cash infusion of more than 20% of their GDP, the equivalent of an infusion of $3.4 trillion into our economy?!….
13.”What the agreement does is to recommit Iran not to pursue a nuclear bomb, a promise they have already violated in the past. It recommits them to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), an agreement they have already violated in the past. It commits them to a new Security Council Resolution outlining their obligations, but they have violated those in the past as well….
THE BOTTOM LINE
14. “This deal is based on ‘hope’— hope that when the nuclear sunset clause expires Iran will have succumbed to the benefits of commerce and global integration. Hope that the hardliners will have lost their power and the revolution will end its hegemonic goals. And hope that the regime will allow the Iranian people to decide their fate. Hope is part of human nature, but unfortunately it is not a national security strategy….
15. “I know that the editorial pages that support the agreement would be far kinder, if I voted yes, but they largely also supported the agreement that brought us a nuclear North Korea…. if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it….”