The prospect of Iran attaining the capability to produce a nuclear weapon is one of the most grave threats we face as a nation, and it must be our policy to do everything within our power to prevent this from happening. The terms of Iran’s preliminary nuclear understanding with the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom is a cause for concern due to Iran’s longstanding commitment to see the demise of the United States and Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.
Last month, the American people had the opportunity to receive Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s invaluable perspective on the danger of Iran gaining nuclear capability. After details of the preliminary understanding emerged, Netanyahu called it, “a dream deal for Iran and a nightmare deal for the world.” Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reaction provides another stark reminder of the hatred and evil that the Iranian regime represents, and I am grateful for his continued leadership in the effort to prevent a nuclear Iran.
I believe that Congress must conduct rigorous oversight over any agreement and must continue its efforts to impose a regime of sanctions that maintains pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear aspirations. I will continue to closely monitor the negotiations as we wait for more specific details.
Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions and history, I am skeptical that Iran will act in good faith and adhere to any of the terms of a deal. Last Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrogantly asserted that Iran was negotiating with world powers and not the United States Congress. So I was encouraged to see that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved legislation to allow Congress 30 days to review any nuclear agreement with Iran.
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act would prohibit the President from suspending or waiving congressional sanctions on Iran until the congressional review period is complete and would also require the President to certify to Congress every 90 days that Iran is complying with terms of any final agreement. It is my hope that the Senate will pass this legislation expeditiously so the House can consider it in a timely fashion. I was also pleased that the President backed away from his initial opposition to such legislation, saying that he no longer intends to veto legislation that enables congressional oversight of the agreement.
The American people and their representatives in Congress must immediately be afforded the opportunity to meaningfully participate in this debate. We must ensure that negotiations of such great magnitude are as transparent as possible and remain focused on our ultimate goal of eliminating the threat of a nuclear Iran.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents Virginia’s Fifth District in Congress.