What does Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, think of the just-concluded nuclear agreement with Iran?
“There is no trust when it comes to Iran,” he said in a statement on Monday. So the question that follows the agreement reached early Tuesday morning between Iran and six world powers is: Does the pact include a reliable mechanism to verify Iranian compliance? We hope Congress will be able to answer that during the 60 days it has to study the agreement before voting it up or down.
Iran’s lack of trustworthiness stems from its belligerence toward the United States, its threats against Israel, its affiliation with and support for international terrorist activity and its longstanding drive to acquire nuclear weapons capability for the sake of its national pride. What brought Iran
to the negotiating table were economic sanctions, which have crippled its economy.
But as critics have pointed out, once talks began, the eagerness for a deal by the United States and its negotiating partners led to a host of concessions to Iran. Over time, the international demand to eradicate Iran’s nuclear program softened to slowing it down for 10 to 15 years. Similarly, what were originally promised to be wide-ranging, unannounced and free inspections of compliance have now been watered down substantially. According to some analysts, it is reasonable to assume that at the expiration of the agreement, Iran will be closer to a bomb and a delivery system to send it to its targets than it
Iran also now demands that the U.N. arms embargo be lifted. Doing so, while at the same time ending economic sanctions, could leave Iran flush with cash and weapons that it can share with its terror proxies and clients, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Assad regime in Syria, leading to further destabilization in the region. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu berated the United States and its allies for being willing to sign an agreement “at any price.” His defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, likewise deplored the “historic mistake” and predicted it would lead Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt to develop their own nuclear capabilities.
The agreement with Iran has been described as historic. But what sort of history is being made, and at whose cost, remains unclear.