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LETTER: Heitkamp should support nuclear deal with Iran

I urge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal in order to make the United States, Israel and our allies safer.

Through this deal, Iran has made the largest concessions to constraining its nuclear program ever.

Some opponents think our country can reject this agreement now, go back to the table and negotiate a "deal" that is good only for the United States. Who for a moment thinks Iran would agree to anything like that? The fact is, no deal is good if only one party thinks it is.

Others propose we just bomb Iran's nuclear sites and go have lunch. Experts say that might delay the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon, but it would not deter them by any means. It would only strengthen their resolve.

Sanctions worked to get Iran to the negotiating table; but, alone, they will not stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. If the U.S. Senate votes to reject this deal, then Iran will have no restraints whatsoever to accelerating nuclear bomb development.

Without this deal, Iran will have a bomb in a short time. The nations that signed this agreement will have lifted their own sanctions, and much of Iran's unfrozen funds will begin to flow to Iran no matter what.

In fact, with or without the deal, Iran likely will remain a sponsor of terrorism. However, through international inspections, we will have unprecedented access to Iran's nuclear sites. We will know if they cheat.

Does this deal remove all risks? No. But it removes a greater amount of risk than no deal at all—the only other option—because the constraints on Iran's nuclear activities are permanent.

That is progress.

Hal Gershman

Grand Forks

Gershman is a former president of the Grand Forks City Council.