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Op-Ed: Iran nuclear agreement is a bad deal

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Washington, DC, September 11, 2015 | comments

This article was published by the Santa Clarita Signal on September 11. It can be viewed on their website

Recently, I was fortunate enough to travel to Israel with several members of Congress. The purpose of the trip was to meet with leaders from the Israeli government and military to learn about strategic and security concerns in the region as they relate to U.S. foreign policy.

The week was jam-packed with meetings, briefings, and bus rides to border cities and military sites.

I penned this piece over the last several weeks since my trip to the Middle East as a recounting of the tremendous experience of visiting this historical and culturally significant corner of the world.

It has, however, taken on incredible importance to me in solidifying my unanimity with Israel and strengthened my staunch opposition to the president’s proposed deal with Iran that we are considering this week in Congress.

During the trip, I saw a lot and spoke with many people to get a first-hand account of life in Israel.

We traveled to the Golan Heights, where the borders of Israel, Syria, and Lebanon meet, and spoke with UN soldiers as we looked across the landscape and listened to the distant explosions of artillery in Syria.

We also visited a Kibbutz located one mile from the Gaza Strip, which is a Palestinian territory governed by the hostile terrorist organization Hamas.

Because Hamas is constantly firing rockets from Gaza into Israel, there are bomb shelters throughout the area. The children’s bus stop was a bomb shelter, the soccer field has bomb shelters on the sidelines, and every apartment has its own shelter.

A story that will stay with me forever: having lunch with a young IDF soldier who told me about his experience in the Gaza war of 2014 and that his parents drove him to the war the first day.

I was stunned, but quickly it hit me that this is their life, living with constant threats from all around. And when they go to war, it is not in some distant land; it is on their own border not far from where they live.

This was the underlying impression that my trip left me with; on any given day, the Israeli people could be bombed or invaded. I understand that the last thing the U.S. should do is further embolden or empower the people who seek to do our ally harm.

This trip was very timely because Congress is currently debating a “deal” that would allow Iran to move forward with its nuclear program in the near future.

Having seen what I saw and heard what I heard, I firmly believe this is a bad deal that will pose an existential threat to the nation of Israel and will further destabilize the Middle East due to Iran’s support of numerous terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.

The agreement is problematic because it does nothing for the U.S. and our allies but set half-hearted, short-term benchmarks on Iran’s nuclear program that only embolden Iran’s leaders and put our interests in the region in direct danger.

My biggest concern is that the deal does not have a generational time frame that looks to the future, but instead allows Iran to build upon its nuclear program within a decade from now.

Additionally, the agreement does not have any real mechanisms to ensure Iran will uphold its end of the bargain — and quite frankly, based on past actions, we have little reason to trust the nation.

Finally, the deal will give Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which will be used to fund groups hostile to Israel.

I have always read or heard about the troubles that Israel faces, but now I have seen it.

I walked away from that trip to Israel with a better understanding of the consequences of a bad nuclear deal.

I firmly believe this is a deal that will have dramatic impacts in the near future if the administration gets its way.

I oppose the Iran Nuclear Agreement because it means we put the interests of a terrorist regime before those of our ally.

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