Note to Congress: Vote down this deal

150 billion dollars is a lot of money. Just think what you could do with it. I know what Iran thinks it can do with it. Because they are constantly telling us.

I am very happy to see that a lot of people are coming around to the view that the deal Iran made with the US and its negotiating partners is so bad that it should be opposed. I am not talking about Israel’s prime minister here. Nor am I taking about the Speaker of the House and his Republican colleagues. I am talking about a variety of people and organizations that span the right to left politically. Starting with a prominent Democrat — the next Senate Minority leader, Charles Schumer, a normally reliable Obama supporter.

And now an organization that represents the diversity of Chicago Jewry (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox) has come around to this view too. The Chicago Jewish Federation has just announced their opposition based on a majority vote of their board. From the Jerusalem Post:

The board expressed gratitude for the Obama administration’s focus on the Iranian nuclear threat, but went on to say that the Iran deal should be strengthened, war is not the only alternative to the deal (Obama has claimed it is) and Israel is being singled out.

The reason should for the opposition should be obvious. This deal actually permits Iran to produce nuclear weapons in the near future (10 years). It permits Iran to produce and purchase the most sophisticated weaponry available on the market. It allows them to maintain their nuclear infrastructure, so that in 10 years they can pick up right where they left off. Iran is acknowledged by the entire civilized world to be the biggest state sponsor of terror in the world. Iranian leaders are ‘true believers’ that will stop at nothing to advance their religious agenda. Including sacrificing innocent lives of their own coreligionists. Like encouraging suicide attacks with promises of instant paradise for the attackers.

The truth is that there is only one person that rules Iran. It is Ayatollah Khameni. He has promised countless times his hatred of the US. And Israel with a promise to annihilate it. He sees it as a religious imperative. As did his predecessor. As will his successor no doubt. The current President of Iran and the rest of his government operate at the pleasure of the Ayatollah. Saying that Iran has moderate leadership compared to the recent past is the height of naïveté.

And yet this is exactly what the US negotiating team is banking on. They hope this new more ‘moderate’ regime will surely improve relations over the next 10 years to the point of being accepted into the community of nations. Surely that is what Iran seeks. But that will not cause them to change their goals. Which are based on their interpretation of Islam.  They see America and Israel’s ultimate destruction as the will of God and their religious imperative!  How anyone can cut a deal with people that are out to destroy you? How can any rational person believe that a bit of supposed good will — will change their fundamental religious beliefs?

Iran is a dangerous nation with blood on their hands. A nation that continues to spread terror all over the Middle East. Just as it has been for the past 35 years. A nation that given the opportunity will spread it even further in pursuit of their Islamist goals. In this, they have common cause with Islamic State (IS). The only reason they oppose IS (as we do) is because they are Sunni Muslims. Iran is Shia. Each considers the other as a distortion of Islam requiring defeat or death. Their opposition to IS should therefore not be seen as a plus. They are not our ally. Not to mention the American hostages they now hold — with the likelihood that their numbers will increase.

The Obama administration even acknowledges all this about Iran. But their claim is that this deal was about one thing only: stopping them from producing a nuclear bomb. This deal was not about all these other issues. Well, it should have been!

This deal does not even do what the Obama administration says it does. It actually does the opposite. To use Prime Minister Netayahu’s expression, it paves the way for a nuclear arsenal in a very short 10 years. Yes, it may delay it, if they don’t cheat (something the international community acknowledges they do all the time with international agreements). But even if they keep every jot and tittle of the agreement — in 10 years, it’s full speed ahead with the permission of the US and its allies.

I would go even further. Even if Nuclear weapons could be permanently eliminated from Iran, they remain the single biggest danger to the Middle East. There are other ways for Iran to achieve their goals besides nuclear weapons. They will have the most advanced weaponry available to advance their cause and the money to do it with.

How in heaven’s name anyone sees this as a good deal is a mind blower. But they do. Ha’aretz and the Forward constantly feature articles of support for deal. In one recent story, it was reported that 35 Israeli generals parted with their Prime Minister and support this deal.

One argument in favor of the deal is that it’s too late. The deal was cut and if we don’t support it, the sanctions will be removed anyway, Iran will improve its economy and have no need to stop or even delay its nuclear program. So we have no choice. This deal is now better than nothing. That’s some reason to support a bad deal: ‘We made a bad one, but once it’s on the table we have no choice.’ ‘Without it, the sanctions regime will fall apart’ ‘Iran will have nothing stopping them from building a bomb right now!’

The claim that the ‘sanctions regime’ will fall apart if Congress votes down the deal in a veto proof way…isn’t entirely accurate. It may be true that European sanctions will cease. But US sanctions will remain in place. I believe that the US is responsible for the lion’s share of those sanctions. But more importantly Iran will not get back its 150 billion dollars if we turn it down.

As I indicated — 150 billion dollars is not chump change. What is to prevent them from using it to pursue their nefarious religious goals? It’s their money?! So what?! There is no moral justification to give a terrorist nation access to their money. If nothing else, a US vote against that deal will deny them that instant windfall.

Once the US turns down the deal, the US sanctions will continue. This will hurt them. The US ought to tell them that they need to come back to the negotiating table so that a deal more acceptable to the American people can be negotiated. What about the possibility that they all just walk away and continue their nuclear program — endangering the entire world? Well, those sanctions brought them to the table the first time. It will bring them back.

If it doesn’t, we should once again restate our position that all options are on the table. Only this time we ought to say it like we mean it! It does not make you a war monger to make your enemies understand that leaving all options on the table is not an empty threat.

No one wants war. But sometimes there is no choice. Sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. We went to war with Germany during World War II. We should be prepared to do it now. That doesn’t mean we will. If Iran thinks the US means it, they can saber-rattle all they want. They can talk about American casualties or the chaos that a war with Iran will produce until they are blue in the face. They can say that the Iraq war will look like a walk in the park compared to a war with Iran. They know they can’t win a war with the US. At the end of the day, they want to stay in power.

Once they realize we are serious about that option, it should bring them back to the table. We then ought to be able to negotiate a deal that makes sense. One that dismantles their nuclear infrastructure completely; denies them from ever producing nuclear weapons; gets our hostages back; forces them to stop supporting terror; and forces them to give up all their all their military ambitions. Now that is a deal I could support.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.