East End Congressman Lee Zeldin wasted little time after the nuclear inspection deal with Iran was finalized Tuesday morning in announcing he plans to work to nix the deal.
Mr. Zeldin, an Iraq War veteran who is currently the sole Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, is the co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus and serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa, and on terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade.
The U.S. Congress has 60 days to review and vote on the deal once they receive the details, and they will need to reject the deal by a two-thirds majority in order to override President Barack Obama’s pledged veto.
“Today, with the announcement of a bad deal with Iran, the president has taken a road that was less travelled for good reason,” he said in a press release early Tuesday morning. “The road was less travelled because so much wasn’t even part of the negotiations: Iran’s efforts to overthrow foreign governments, sponsor terror, develop ICBMs, blow up mock U.S. warships, pledge to wipe Israel off the map, and chant Death to America in their streets while unjustly imprisoning American citizens, including a U.S. Marine.”
The deal, nearly two years in the making, is expected to cut the number of Iranian centrifuges to one-third of their current number. It bans uranium enrichment at all but one of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran will also be required to ship its spent fuel out of the country forever and allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors full access to its nuclear program forever, in exchange for phased-in relief from American and international sanctions.
President Obama said Tuesday morning that he believes the deal is a strong one.
“This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring. Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off,” he said in a speech at The White House, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side. “And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place. Because of this deal, Iran will not produce the highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium that form the raw materials necessary for a nuclear bomb.”
President Obama said the deal will reduce Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material from enough for 10 nuclear weapons to less than enough material to build one weapon. That stockpile limitation will last 15 years.
Mr. Zeldin said he finds the temporary nature of the stockpile restriction unconvincing.
“The United States will be making permanent concessions in exchange for temporary concessions on the part of the Iranians,” he said. “There is so much doubt as to whether this was even a deal. Will the Iranians publicly agree to the English version of the deal and the Obama administration’s interpretation of it? If not, there really is no deal.”
“The President just stated that there will be a 24/7, anytime, anywhere inspections. That’s simply and completely untrue,” he said. “The Iranians cannot be trusted and were not negotiating in good faith. If weapons inspectors don’t have unfettered access to observe Iran’s nuclear program, compliance will never be met.”
President Obama pointed out in his remarks that he’s not a trusting friend of the Iranian regime.
“I will remind Congress that you don’t make deals like this with your friends. We negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union when that nation was committed to our destruction. And those agreements ultimately made us safer,” he said. “Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region.”
Mr. Zeldin called on Congress to fight the deal.
“The Senate and the People’s House must act and affirmatively reject this “deal,” he said. “That is the critically important and most noble path forward for the rest of us very concerned about life, not just now, but also after the Obama Presidency.”
President Obama said Tuesday morning that he plans to veto any attempt by Congress to derail the deal.
“We do not have to accept an inevitable spiral into conflict. And we certainly shouldn’t seek it,” he said. “And precisely because the stakes are so high, this is not the time for politics or posturing. Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems. Hard-nosed diplomacy and leadership that has united the world’s major powers offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.”