As a member of Congress who has been deeply involved in combating Iranian sponsored terrorism and served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee during the debate and implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, I feel compelled to speak out in response to Vice President Joe Biden’s opinion piece entitled “There’s a Smarter Way to Be Tough on Iran.”
One of the biggest exaggerations in Biden’s column comes at the beginning when he falsely claims the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama/Biden administration negotiated has kept Americans safe. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was flawed in many ways. For starters, it failed to do anything about Iran’s terrorist activities, which is significant considering they are the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and a leading cyber threat. By releasing nearly $100 billion to Iran and omitting their nefarious activities from the agreement, not only was the Obama/Biden administration rewarding bad behavior, but they gave Iran more money to finance its destabilizing foreign policy which includes arms transfers to terrorists and missile tests. As someone who has spent time in the Middle East visiting with our armed forces, I know firsthand the constant threats they receive at the hands of Iran’s military, and they aren’t minor as the former vice president suggests. Iran is led by a revolutionary regime, and if the objective was to keep Americans safe, then any agreement reached with Iran should have included all the various ways they put American lives in danger.
Aside from the issues the JCPOA didn’t address, the agreement failed to achieve its stated objective of curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and instead helped provide Iran with what analysts have called a “patient pathway” to a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that they could not verify if Iran was living up to its agreements. From a lack of inspections at military sites, to exceeding its agreed upon stockpile of heavy water, the deal was filled with broken promises and unenforceable mandates. Biden claims that his new plan “would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” but that certainly wasn’t the case in the original agreement. Under the JCPOA, the most stringent requirements on Iran were to be lifted after five to 15 years. These requirements are diverse, and relate to arms exports and imports, ballistic missile tests, and most importantly advanced work on centrifuges related to testing and using them. After a little more than a decade of the deal being in place, the JCPOA would set the stage for Iran’s nuclear program to grow in scale and scope. For many of us serving in Congress at the time, the JCPOA felt more like a legacy project for the future Obama Presidential Library than an actual comprehensive deal that does not sacrifice nonproliferation norms for political principles.
It is important for people to remember that there was more bipartisan opposition to the JCPOA in Congress than perhaps any other Obama/Biden administration initiative during their time in office. There was concern about the process of the administration signing the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, despite public objections. If this deal was so good for the country, then President Obama and Vice President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion The Fed has a clear mandate to mitigate climate risks Biden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' MORE should have been able to secure bipartisan support in Congress before involving our allies in such a large undertaking. Additionally, a bipartisan agreement would have almost assuredly had the backing of our top Middle Eastern ally, Israel, who staunchly opposed the framework of the deal. Had Biden achieved a bipartisan consensus on Iran back then, it wouldn’t be coming up as a campaign issue now, and the country would be better for it. Failing to secure broad support for the agreement showed a lack of leadership on the part of Joe Biden and deviated strongly from our country’s tradition of largely conducting our foreign policy in a bipartisan fashion. Furthermore, blaming the Republican Trump administration for not wanting to follow through on an agreement that congressional Republicans never supported is like asking someone to pick up the tab for a happy hour they were never invited to. I don’t fault the Trump administration from walking away from the deal. In fact, I applaud them for doing so.
Looking at the situation concerning Iran today, and despite having the disadvantage of your predecessor giving your enemy $100 billion, the Trump administration has successfully forced Iran into a corner. Iran’s economy has taken a major hit, inflation is soaring, one of their most dangerous terror supporting generals has been killed, and some of the largest protests against their government are taking place. By securing historic peace deals between the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel, the Trump administration is further isolating Iran from her Middle Eastern neighbors. The difference in approach between President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' On student loans, Biden doesn't have an answer yet Grill company apologizes after sending meatloaf recipe on same day of rock star's death MORE and the Obama/Biden administration on issues with Iran are significant, and I am thankful for the bold change in direction.
Just simply compare the facts.
President Trump carefully crafted policies to enact a maximum pressure campaign on Iran that has crippled their economy, and in turn further isolated their country. This is peaceful policy rather than a prelude to war — a true peace through strength approach.
As part of the Obama administration, Joe Biden gave the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism a plane full of cash and did so despite the objections of high-level officials at the Justice Department.
President Trump ordered a military strike that resulted in the death of one of Iran’s top terrorist operatives.
The difference between President Trump and Vice President Biden couldn’t be clearer. When it comes to keeping Americans safe, securing peace through strength, and holding Iran accountable, I’ll take President Trump’s policies over Joe Biden’s plan every day of the week. Joe Biden isn’t particularly known for having a great track record when it comes to foreign policy, but when it comes to Iran, his resume is particularly atrocious.
Just recently, we learned that Iran had been considering an assassination plot against the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, proving that Iran is on track to retain its title as the world’s lead sponsor of terrorism. This isn’t a country that you treat with kid gloves.
The Trump administration’s actions against Iran are reflective of the serious threat they pose to our country, and I am thankful for his thoughtful and coordinated approach.
Congressman Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanConservatives push for boycott of GOP club over DC vaccine mandate Rep. Boebert does her version of Ocasio-Cortez's Met dress: 'Let's Go Brandon' Trump campaign sells 'Let's Go Brandon' T-shirts MORE represents the Third Congressional District of South Carolina and spent several years serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.