A group of 47 Republican senators has written an open letter to Iran's leaders warning them that any nuclear deal they sign with President Barack Obama's administration won't last after Obama leaves office.
Their action is a brazen, breathtaking attempt to sabotage U.S. foreign policy and stampede America into another war in the Middle East.
While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to negotiate the most critical elements of a deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and avoid war, the Republicans are actively trying to undermine his efforts to get a deal.
Can you imagine the reaction if members of Congress had sent a similar letter to the Soviets urging them not to sign an arms control agreement because the United States would not keep our end of the bargain?
If the Iranians are unwilling to sign a verifiable agreement with the international community to limit the application of their nuclear know-how to peaceful purposes, the U.S. will be left with two horrible options: a nuclear Iran or war.
Unbelievably, these GOP senators are actively discouraging Iran from signing such a deal by arguing that the United States cannot be trusted to keep up our end. That is shocking. It's like someone interfering with negotiations being conducted by a hostage negotiator by trying to convince a hostage taker not to surrender because he will shoot him anyway.
The fact is that if our international partners who have imposed sanctions on Iran believe that the United States has collapsed the talks, there will not be tougher sanctions; the international sanctions regime will collapse.
The fact is that if we tube the negotiations, it will empower the hard-line forces in Iran who have always argued that they can't trust the West and will rush the development of a bomb and dare us to try to stop them.
The fact is that if the international community agrees to a 10- or 15-year deal, it does not -- as critics say -- give them license to develop a bomb after the term of the deal expires. After the end of the agreement, we would have the same tools at hand that we have today.
Iran would still be a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which commits them to not developing a bomb. If at that point there were still an indication of Iran's hostile intentions, we could enter another round of negotiations to extend the deal or craft a new one. We would have the same power to invoke new sanctions and use military force that we have today. But we'd know a lot more about the Iranian nuclear program because of the intrusive inspections during the period of the agreement.
We lose nothing from doing such a deal.
Those who insist that Iran simply agree to abandon all nuclear technology can demand their capitulation until they are blue in the face. Simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan to get them to do so.
As Secretary Kerry has said:
No one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan. And nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position.
But in 10 or 15 years some important things may have changed in Iran. A deal with the West would empower the progressives in Iran's political life, not the hard-liners. Their position could very well be fundamentally strengthened.
By overwhelming numbers, Americans support diplomacy and do not want another war in the Middle East.
The GOP letter to Iran is an attempt to undermine the negotiating position of our own government -- and to back our own government into a corner that forces it into an unpopular war. That is nothing short of shameful.
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