Jason Langsner

Iran Deal: Good, Bad, or Flawed?

Earlier this week The Pew Research Center, a well respected non-partisan think tank in Washington, released the results of its latest survey. The poll shows that “more Americans disapprove than approve of the deal struck last week by the U.S., Iran and five other nations to limit Iran’s nuclear program: Among the 79% of Americans who have heard about the agreement, just 38% approve, while 48% disapprove (14% do not offer an opinion).”

The findings also quantify what all of us in the American Jewish community already know – that a wide partisan divide is occurring between how we are interpreting the proposed Nuclear Deal with Iran.  The poll shows 75% of Republicans, who were surveyed, disapproving of it; but only 25% of Democrats that disapprove of it – as of the survey being in the field (July 14-20, 2015).

I wasn’t surveyed. But I am a part of the 25% of Americans who identify as Democratic who disapprove of the deal.

I’ve finished reading the 159 pages of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and have read a great deal of secondary source material about it. I though do not want to qualify it just a subjective binary “good deal” or “bad deal” bucket.  After reading the JCPOA, I would qualify it less so as a subjective “bad deal” and more so in an objective “flawed deal.”

Unfortunately as an American citizen and tax payer who decided to call Washington, DC, home – I do not have full representation in the U.S. Congress.  I therefore do not have a voice in the current 60 day legislative process.  I have requested a meeting with Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who is the delegate of DC.  Unfortunately she does not have voting rights in the House.  And I do not have two Members of the U.S. Senate who I can meet with to explain how and why I find this deal to be flawed.

435 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators will be voting on the JCPOA and whether the U.S. Congressional levied sanctions on Iran can or should be lifted.  With President Obama’s expected veto and the bi-partisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act being law – both houses in our bicameral legislature must come up with ¾ of the chamber’s members voting against the JCPOA to keep the American, Congressional levied sanctions only, in place.

The Members of Congress will not be voting on the intentions of the negotiations.  They will be voting on how the JCPOA is written and whether how the compromise is framed will or will not restrict Iran’s abilities to get the bomb or cheat during the inspection process.
I will not go into detail about why and how I find the JCPOA to be a “flawed deal,” but if I were a Member of Congress on either side of the aisle – I would have significant concerns about the proposal’s lifting of the arms embargo to Iran.  That one stipulation alone makes this a “flawed deal” and that one stipulation alone should force Members of Congress to vote against this deal.

If Iran were purely interested in using its nuclear program for civilian energy purposes, and it is next to impossible for me to think that is the case with all of their parallel work on its ICBM program, why would Iran (or Russia/China?) draw the line in the sand and require the lifting of the arms embargo to be a part of this deal?  It wouldn’t.

That is the message that I will be taking into my meeting with DC’s non-voting Delegate to the U.S. Congress. Although she cannot vote, I as a citizen in a democracy, want to make my voice heard; and as an American citizen and proud supporter of the Jewish Democratic State of Israel – I find the JCPOA flawed (even if the majority of my own party currently thinks it is a “good deal” subjectively).

About the Author
Jason Langsner is an active member of the American young Jewish professional community. He is a published author about Israel and American-Israeli affairs and regularly blogs and speaks at conferences about the intersection of communication, culture, politics, and technology. He formerly ran the digital strategy for B'nai B'rith International, the Global Voice of the Jewish Community, and currently serves as a lay leader with various pro-Israel organizations. Mr. Langsner received a Masters at Georgetown University and studied International Business Management at the University of Oxford.
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