Washington, D.C. – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) wrote in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he opposes the Obama Administration’s Iran nuclear deal because it abandons longstanding U.S. and international non-proliferation goals, fails to block a path for Iran to pursue a nuclear weapons program in the long term, contains inadequate enforcement and verification measures to ensure compliance, and provides Iran with greater resources to pursue its violent and destabilizing regional agenda.  

“We should not approve an agreement that fails to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and does nothing to address Iranian behavior that threatens our allies and our interests,” said Portman. “We should reject this agreement and tighten the sanctions on a bipartisan basis. The president should then use the leverage that only America possesses to negotiate an agreement that meets the longstanding goals of Congress and the president himself.”

Excerpts are below and the full op-ed can be found here.

Why I oppose the Iran nuclear deal

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sen. Rob Portman

Sunday, September 6, 2015

There are few votes I take in the Senate that have such a profound effect on our national security as the upcoming vote on the Iran nuclear deal. That's why I reviewed it so thoroughly.

I read the agreement carefully, attended classified briefings and listened to the debate in Senate committees, and on the Senate floor. I talked to experts on both sides of the issue and listened to Ohioans. I measured the agreement according to the criteria our government and members of the international community had announced.

The broad goal, laid out by Congress, the Obama administration, and the U.N. Security Council, was that Iran would suspend all enrichment-related activities and not be permitted a path to ever pursue a nuclear weapons program. We also consistently maintained that any agreement must contain verifiable and enforceable mechanisms to ensure compliance.

I hoped that, with U.S. leadership, a strong agreement would meet the longstanding U.S. and internationally accepted criteria.

Unfortunately, after reviewing the terms of the agreement, I have concluded that these criteria were not met. The deal should be rejected.

Under the deal, the Iranians can continue research and development on more advanced centrifuges and resume full enrichment in 15 years. Inspections are not "anytime, anywhere," as administration officials suggested. Iran could delay the inspection of suspected nuclear sites for up to 24 days.

If the Iranians cheat, we would have to employ a convoluted process to restore sanctions. The inspections regime is subject to side deals involving the U.N., the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran that none of us is allowed to see.

Most troubling is that this agreement ends Iran's international isolation without ending the behavior that caused Iran to be isolated in the first place.

The nuclear program is part of a broader Iranian strategy that is dangerous and destabilizing. According to some estimates, Iran could receive up to $150 billion in sanctions relief early in the agreement, with or without sustained compliance, which will encourage the Iranians to cause trouble, not discourage them from bad behavior.

I have been involved in international negotiations, and I understand that both sides must make concessions. But we must have the courage to stand behind our legitimate public pronouncements, the red lines; whether it's against the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the violation of cease-fire agreements by the Russians and their proxies in Ukraine, or our commitment that Iran stop and dismantle its march toward nuclear weapons.

We should not approve an agreement that fails to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and does nothing to address Iranian behavior that threatens our allies and our interests. We should reject this agreement and tighten the sanctions on a bipartisan basis. The president should then use the leverage that only America possesses to negotiate an agreement that meets the longstanding goals of Congress and the president himself.

 

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