WASHINGTON-Given Iran's long history of state-sponsored terrorism and belligerence toward our nation and its allies, we must approach any deal with that country with the utmost caution. After careful consideration, reviewing the nuclear agreement and receiving briefings from the administration, I oppose the deal with Iran because it will not make our nation safer and does not prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the first and foremost requirement of any agreement.
We have a choice-and it isn't between this deal and war. The choice is between keeping in place sanctions that are working or a deal that paves the path to a nuclear Iran. I choose strong sanctions and a safer America.
Congress imposed strict economic sanctions with the goal of completely dismantling Iran's nuclear program. Those sanctions have forced Iran to the bargaining table.
However, the nuclear agreement reached by the administration does not help us achieve our goal of ending Iran's nuclear program. Instead, the agreement lifts sanctions but keeps Iran's nuclear program and infrastructure intact.
Iran would receive immediate sanctions relief, retain its centrifuges and nuclear facilities and be free of restrictions on its nuclear program in a matter of years. Further, with the sanctions lifted under the agreement, Iran can buy conventional weapons in five years and missile technology in eight years, providing it with the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States.
Iran will have a stronger economy and a ready-made nuclear program when the agreement expires.
We also face an unprecedented challenge in proving that Iran is not continuing nuclear work while the agreement is in force. The agreement prevents "anywhere, anytime" inspections, allowing Iran to stonewall international nuclear inspectors and providing weak consequences if Iran cheats.
And given Iran's history, it is likely that Iran will cheat on the deal. The United Nations could then try to reimpose sanctions in response to Iranian violations, but those sanctions would be toothless after Iran receives billions of dollars in up-front sanctions relief.
Rather than ending Iran's nuclear program, the deal provides the financial resources to underwrite a future Iranian bomb. A nuclear Iran will set off an arms race in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey vying for power.
For these reasons, I will oppose the agreement and support immediate additional sanctions that would pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear program as Congress and the American people originally intended.