Congressman Juan Vargas: Why I oppose the president’s nuclear deal with Iran

Congressman Juan Vargas opposes the Iran deal and says "this agreement is historic, but for all the wrong reasons."

Congressman Juan Vargas opposes the Iran deal and says “this agreement is historic, but for all the wrong reasons.”

By Juan Vargas

Congressman Juan Vargas, a San Diego Democrat, represents the 51st District of California in Congress, covering southern San Diego and all of Imperial County.

It’s stunning, really. Just four days after large crowds in Tehran and across Iran chanted “Death to America,” as they burned our flag in government-led demonstrations, President Obama announced an agreement with the Islamic Republic. The president is right; this agreement is historic, but for all the wrong reasons.

Earlier this month, I detailed the criteria necessary for any final agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. I strongly believe this deal does not meet that standard. The deal fails to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. It fails to guarantee intrusive enough inspections to ensure that Iran does not cheat, and it fails to keep Iran from achieving nuclear-threshold status.

This deal is predicated on Iran’s compliance. In exchange for phased and reversible sanctions relief – at approximately $150 billion – the administration promised to cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb. Instead, this agreement gives Iran a rapid payday while legitimizing its path to nuclear-threshold status. Iran has never fully addressed the concerns of international inspectors, and the regime has given us no reason to believe that will change.

By allowing Iran to become a nuclear-threshold state, this deal will spark an arms race in the Middle East, already one of the least stable regions in the world. Saudi Arabia has indicated it may purchase a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. Jordan and Egypt, also historically reliable allies for the United States, have both worked with Russia to build their own nuclear power plants this year. Likewise, this agreement does nothing to halt Iran’s aggressive imperialism in the Middle East. As the deal’s advocates took a victory lap after the announcement, Hezbollah’s leader agreed with them. Hasan Nasrallah said, “Iran will become `richer and wealthier and will also become more influential. This will also reinforce the position of its allies.” Let us not forget that, thanks to Iranian generosity, this terrorist group has 100,000 rockets trained on Israeli cities and towns. Read more at The San Diego Union Tribune.

Washington Post Op-Ed: Jews stood up to the U.S. government 40 years ago, and should again on Iran

Natan S.By Natan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, is chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

These days, like many Israelis and American Jews, I find myself in a precarious and painful situation. Those of us who believe that the nuclear agreement just signed between world powers and Iran is dangerously misguided are now compelled to criticize Israel’s best friend and ally, the government of the United States. In standing up for what we think is right, for both our people and the world, we find ourselves at odds with the power best able to protect us and promote stability. And instead of joining the hopeful chorus of those who believe peace is on the horizon, we must risk giving the impression that we somehow prefer war.

As difficult as this situation is, however, it is not unprecedented. Jews have been here before, 40 years ago, at a historic juncture no less frightening or fateful than today’s.

In the early 1970s, Republican President Richard Nixon inaugurated his policy of detente with the Soviet Union with an extremely ambitious aim: to end the Cold War by normalizing relations between the two superpowers.

Among the obstacles Nixon faced was the USSR’s refusal to allow on-site inspections of its weapons facilities. Moscow did not want to give up its main advantage, a closed political system that prevented information and people from escaping and prevented prying eyes from looking in.

Yet the Soviet Union, with its very rigid and atrophied economy, badly needed cooperation with the free world, which Nixon was prepared to offer. The problem was that he was not prepared to demand nearly enough from Moscow in return. And so as Nixon moved to grant the Soviet Union most-favored-nation status, and with it the same trade benefits as U.S. allies, Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson of Washington proposed what became a historic amendment, conditioning the removal of sanctions on the Soviet Union’s allowing free emigration for its citizens. Read more at Washington Post.

State-of-the-art warning system to address Gaza-area mortar threat

Four-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed when a mortar shell hit his home.

Four-year-old Daniel Tregerman was killed when a mortar shell hit his home.

After mortar shells claimed both soldiers and civilian casualties, new radar system will increase warning time from 3-5 seconds to 15 seconds.

The IDF is in the process of installing a new radar system that would significantly increase the warning time given to Israelis to take cover when a mortar shell is fired from the Gaza Strip, a senior Southern Command official said Thursday.

One year after Operation Protective Edge, the Southern Command is working to eliminate points of weakness discovered during the war last summer. One such point of weakness was the short warning time given to residents of communities adjacent to the border fence to run for cover – 3-5 seconds.

Over the past few years, the IDF and defense companies have been working to find a technical solution to increase the warning time to the allowed minimum – 15 seconds.


The Historically Bad Iran Deal

talking pointsOn Tuesday morning, the day that over 5,000 CUFI members from all 50 states were headed to Capitol Hill, the President announced that America and the other P5+1 nations reached a nuclear deal with Iran.

Let us be clear- this deal is dangerous for Israel, the United States and the entire world.

Armed with information about this historically bad deal our CUFI members headed to Capitol Hill demanding that their Members of Congress vote against the agreement because it failed to meet even the following most basic requirements:

  1. Sanctions Relief.  Any sanctions relief should be gradual and phased in only as Iran complies with its obligations under an agreement. Providing Iran with tens of billions of dollars upon signing a piece of paper, would give them a tremendous windfall in exchange for something that is worth next to nothing: their word.
  2. Anytime, Anywhere Inspections.  Iran lies and cheats.  Iran has a long record of hiding its nuclear program from inspectors.  Iran has built and hidden entire nuclear facilities.  Any deal that does not allow for anywhere, anytime inspections will simply be a license for Iran to continue cheating.
  3. Past Nuclear Activity.  Iran must reveal all of its previous nuclear and related weaponization work.  In the absence of this disclosure, there is no baseline and therefore no possible way for inspectors to ensure Iran is complying with its new obligations.
  4. Non-Nuclear Sanctions.  Any sanctions relief under this deal should be limited to those sanctions imposed in response to Iran’s nuclear program.  Iran has never agreed to end its support for international terror (in fact, in these negations, the Obama Administration never even asked them to do so).  There is therefore no reason to end sanctions imposed upon Iran because of its support for terror.
  5. Arms Embargo. The arms embargo was imposed because of Iran’s support for international terrorism – it has nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program.  The arms embargo must remain in place until Iran stops supporting terror.
  6. Term.  The deal would enable Iran to become a nuclear power with the full blessing of the international community in as little as ten years.  If a nuclear Iran is an unacceptable threat today, then it will continue to be an unacceptable threat a decade from now.  An agreement must deny Iran the bomb, not merely postpone the day of reckoning.

Congress will have 60 days to review this deal. Over the next 60 days we will be calling upon you to share with your Members of Congress the dangers of this historically bad deal.

We need your help over the next 60 days help protect Israel and America from a nuclear Iran. When called upon please be ready to email, call and meet with your Members of Congress. We were created for such a time a this. Together we can make a difference for our children and grandchildren.