Last month, I traveled to Israel to meet with key leaders in that country, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and learn firsthand what our closest ally in the Middle East thinks about the proposed Iran nuclear deal.
The consensus view from Israelis across the political spectrum is that the deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and championed by President Barack Obama is a dangerous and historic mistake.
This confirms what we've learned in briefings and hearings in Congress. This deal will not deliver the safety and security the American people deserve. Instead, it will transform Iran from the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism with an illicit nuclear program into the leading state sponsor of terrorism awash in billions of dollars in sanctions relief with an internationally sanctioned nuclear program on an industrial scale.
Since the seizure of the U.S. Embassy and the taking of American hostages during the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken a long view on its global ambitions, supporting terrorist proxies like Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthi.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the leader of its elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, is responsible for the killing of over 500 U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The Iranian regime has covered up and lied about its nuclear program for decades, deceiving international inspectors, agreeing to intrusive inspections, and then allowing those inspections to be implemented only "provisionally and selectively."
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei regularly chants "Death to America" and openly calls for the of the Jewish state.
The president's promise of "anytime, anywhere" inspections has been replaced with "managed access" to suspect nuclear sites in which international inspectors must appeal to Iran, Russia and China. This bureaucratic process would take at least 24 days during which Iran could remove anything covert or in violation of the agreement.
The Associated Press reports that one of at least two deals between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran — deals neither Congress nor the secretary of state is permitted to see — allows Iran to use its own inspectors at the military complex long suspected as the headquarters of Iran's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.
But even if Iran does not cheat, even if Iran actually complies with the deal, three bad outcomes are guaranteed.
First, Iran will be allowed an arsenal of nuclear weapons in as little as ten years. Under the agreement, Iran is not required to dismantle key bomb making technology, is permitted to retain vast enrichment capacity, may continue research and development on advanced centrifuges and will be allowed to acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Second, Iran gets a sanctions relief jackpot of at least $56 billion almost immediately, according to the Obama administration's own estimates. As a member of the Terrorism Financing Task Force, I have heard extensive testimony that when these funds are released, a significant percentage will go to Iran's terrorist proxies. Experts warn it will be impossible to snap back effective sanctions.
Third, because Iran's neighbors know this deal reverses a decades-long bipartisan U.S. policy blocking Iran's nuclear program, this agreement will spark a nuclear arms race in the broader Middle East. The people who know Iran the best, trust them the least.
The president says it's this deal or war. But that's a false choice. Rejecting this deal will keep most sanctions in place and allow Congress and our allies to turn up the pressure on Iran to get a better deal. In fact, I signed a letter with 366 colleagues outlining the conditions we would consider to be part of a good deal, none of which were included in the one before us.
On the Iran nuclear deal, a pivot in history which threatens the peace and security of America and the world, I proudly stand with our allies in Israel, not with the mullahs in Tehran.