Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) spoke of his opposition to the proposed deal with Iran at the Jewish Community Services Building in Center City Philadelphia on July 31.
Saying that he considered it a threat to national security as well as Israeli security and that the upcoming vote might well be the most important one he casts in his term, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey vowed Friday to do everything in his power to defeat President Obama’s recently proposed Iran deal. Speaking before a boisterous crowd that gave him standing ovations and applause on the second floor of the Jewish Community Services Building, Toomey (R-Pa.) made it clear he feels the agreement as presently constituted would pave the way for Iran to develop nuclear weapons by the time it expires in 10 years.
“I don’t think there’s any evidence they want to stop,” said Toomey, who spoke for nearly 30 minutes. “Quite the contrary, the very demands made in this agreement clearly show they intend to continue pursuing nuclear weapons.
“You’re dealing with a country that has been and continues to be hostile to the U.S. and our allies. We’ve got a lengthy and substantial history with Iran. Unfortunately, it’s not good. Nobody should kid themselves here. Like every other radical Islamic terror movement, if Iran is able to inflict harm on Americans, Iran will inflict harm on Americans.
“And the more harm the better, in the twisted mindset of this regime.”
Toomey insisted he would have seriously considered supporting the deal had it met the president’s pre-stated objectives. “If the president had succeeded in achieving the goals he had stated, then the product of the negotiation might well have been worth supporting,” said Toomey, who added he studied the matter in its entirety over a 17-day span — including classified material — before concluding otherwise.
“It’s hard to understand why the president has come to the conclusion he’s come to, and I’d rather not try to speculate. I’d rather focus on the merits of the deal and I think those merits are not at all convincing.”
Toomey delivered his address just hours after Democrat Joe Sestak, considered his likely opponent when he runs for reelection in 2016, told reporters that despite some reservations, he “cautiously” supported the deal. While Toomey denied that factored into the timing of his remarks, he said it was important to be heard in Philadelphia, which has a large Jewish and pro-Israel community.
Earlier, Toomey singled out six vital areas of concern in the agreement, which Iran signed with the U.S., France, Germany, Russia, England and China, as the reasons he opposed it.
First, he vehemently opposed the premature lifting of sanctions which would essentially release over $100 billion to the Iranian economy before Iran must comply with the terms of the agreement. Under those provisions, Toomey not only fears there would be no incentive for them to comply, but some of those released funds would go directly to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah that threaten Israel.
Second, he disputes the Iranian claim that it needs to continue some kind of uranium enrichment program for peaceful purposes. By allowing the Iranians to keep 6,500 of their 10,000 centrifuges operational, Toomey says they’ll still have the capability to develop a formidable nuclear arsenal by the time the deal expires.
The Senator’s third point was that there are obvious flaws in the inspection system. For one thing, the agreement stipulates the International Atomic Energy Agency give Iran at least 24 days’ notice prior to its arrival. “In the past, IAEA inspectors have not been allowed on certain sites,” said Toomey. “They’ve been misled and harassed. How much can be covered up in 24 days? I’d suggest quite a lot. The new agreement also calls for dispute resolution. It says after 35 days at the end of that dispute if any party — including Iran — finds the resolution unsatisfactory, it can treat it as grounds to cease participating in the agreement.
“In other words, Iran can walk away from the deal. And if economic sanctions are imposed for any reason — even if they’re caught in clear, documented violation of the agreement — Iran can walk away.”
Next is the length of the agreement — 10 years. According to Toomey, that could only delay the inevitable. “I feel [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu is right,’’ said Toomey “He believes this deal won’t block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons. It paves their path. In 10 years,
even if Iran complies with everything, they’ll still be within weeks of having a nuclear weapon. In 10 years, I’m pretty sure we’ll have all the same problems, but there’ll be some big differences. Iran will have nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. They’ll be heavily armed with conventional weapons, and the Iranian economy will have recovered and be flush with cash.”
Which leads directly to problem No. 5, as Toomey sees it. “It has the practical effect of making it very difficult for Israel to defend itself,” warned Toomey. “I don’t know what decision they’ll make. I don’t think the Prime Minister of Israel can put a lot of pressure on the American government. But let’s face it, no country in world would benefit more than Israel if we vote this down. Israel would be thrilled.”
Not only that, but according to Toomey, it would further delay his final concern: the threat of nuclear proliferations in the Middle East. “When you think about it, the world has actually done a reasonably decent job keeping nuclear weapons bottled up,” continued Toomey. “I think this deal makes the Middle East so, so dangerous. I can’t think of a region of the world I’d less like to see the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Not only will Iran have the ability to target Israel, I think we have to fear they might well pass on this capability to terrorist organizations to do their work for them.”
In Toomey’s mind, accepting a bad deal like this is far worse than no deal. What he’d prefer would be making the economic sanctions even tougher, so that the Iranian regime would reach the point it determines it would be better off abandoning its nuclear program to get them lifted.
For now, though, his focus is doing all he can to keep Congress from passing the agreement, potentially having to override a promised Presidential veto next month to do so. “Senators are often called on to cast important votes,” he concluded. “Some are more important than others. This vote on this deal strikes me as quite possibly the most important vote I’ll cast in my entire term in the Senate. This deal did not meet any of the negotiating goals is set out to make.
“This agreement does not make America safer. I think we need to pass a Congressional resolution of disapproval to stop this deal.
“This deal seriously jeopardizes Israel’s security, which is something I care deeply about and it also jeopardizes American security in a fundamental way.”
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0729.