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Why Congress needs to crack down on Iran’s nuclear weapons program

Last week, it was reported that President Donald Trump intends to “decertify” the executive agreement former President Barack Obama signed with Iran regarding nuclear weapons. This means that the deal will go before Congress to determine whether or not we should remain in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Furthermore, by taking the deal to Congress, Trump is allowing them to determine whether the U.S. will continue to allow for sanctions relief under the agreement. The JCPOA is an agreement between several countries that provides Iran with a framework to a peaceful nuclear program. The aim of this agreement, according to Obama, was to inhibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The nuclear deal, while well intentioned, was never a long-term solution. A couple of key points include:

  • Reducing Iran’s number of centrifuges to prevent enrichment for 15 years
  • Restrictions on Iran’s military research on fissile materials for 15 years
  • Allowing IAEA inspectors to view their nuclear sites
  • Sanctions relief in exchange for cooperation

While the deal might have prevented Iranian efforts to proliferate a nuclear weapon, the government of Iran still holds an anti-Israel, anti-Western view. Speaking with reporters, the Ayatollah referred to the government of the United States as “arrogant,” even though Iran remains on the list of nations that state-sponsor terrorism. Providing sanctions relief for a regime that actively supports multiple terrorist organizations and commits numerous human rights violations is not a good idea. It can simply embolden the Iranian government’s actions. While making a deal with Iran was a good attempt at trying to impede the state from getting a weapon, it gives us zero reassurances that Tehran will not clandestinely continue their nuclear program.
Iran is a nation abundant in natural resources, and the idea that it wants a peaceful nuclear program is ludicrous. Iran is in an area of the world that is extremely lucrative with both oil and natural gas, and as a result, can create electricity utilizing these resources. While some may argue that nuclear power would be more environmentally friendly, Iran’s government with a nuclear capability would present a risk to the stability of the Middle East.
As citizens of the United States, we should be especially concerned with the outcome of this deal. Iran’s government is determined to achieve a nuclear capability that would endanger the rest of the region and American security. The last thing this planet needs is any more powers with a nuclear capability, as demonstrated by the escalating tensions with North Korea. As the world moves away from conflicts between state actors, and non-state actors grow in their influence and scope, adding another nuclear power to the world’s stage would be extremely dangerous for non-proliferation efforts. It allows for nuclear weapons to fall into the wrong hands in a region which is currently unstable. For international security, we must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear warhead.

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