Friday, May 11, 2018
By: Former Sen. Norm Coleman, The Hill
Years from now 110,000 pages of documents, videos and photographs presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proving Iran lied its way into an agreement guaranteeing them a nuclear weapon by 2025 will be seen as a turning point in making the world safer.
So, too, will the decision by President Trump ending American participation in one of the most dangerous agreements with dictators since Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain walked off a plane and onto a tarmac in 1938 and assured the world of “Peace for our Time” with Adolf Hitler and his Nazi government.
President Obama insisted the world could trust the Iranian government.
His “Peace for our Time” moment gave Iran a clear path to a nuclear weapon in 2025; no inspection of military sites and free rein for its nefarious deeds in the region — with over $100 billion to pay for it all!
Like Chamberlain before him, Obama fell for the same duplicitous and deceitful behavior by ruthless despots that demands we not allow history to repeat itself.
A continued military buildup, with massive investments in ballistic missile technology capable of carrying nuclear weapons by Iran should have been enough to jettison the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)” negotiated by Obama.
That Iran has violated both the spirit and intent of the JCPOA is ignored by those gnashing their teeth that Trump wisely walked away from the “horrible” agreement.
It’s easy to see why Obama and JCPOA advocates are criticizing Trump for his decision.
It helps them hide from the fact that not a single promise of peace for our time has materialized from the agreement.
The nuclear ambitions of Iran have not been curtailed, checked or ended.
Seven years from now Iran would have emerged from the JCPOA with greater weapons capability to inflict carnage and destruction on its neighbors and the world than ever before.
And, with the immediate capacity to build a nuclear bomb.
The documents provided by Prime Minister Netanyahu prove Iranian leaders have been simply buying time for their nuclear ambitions.
The world was told that this agreement was essential for moderate elements of Iran to gain the upper hand against the extremists by giving economic incentives to the government to invest in its people and its economy.
And, that by doing so, the Iranian people would be the true beneficiaries.
In the same New York Times newspaper, whose editors have been unflinching advocates for this proposition, we know that this representation was as much of a lie as the idea that the tyrannical government of Iran would live up to any agreement.
This lead paragraph from a story in the May 8 edition of the Times reads:
The sense of crisis in Iran runs deep and wide. The economy is in free fall. The currency is plummeting. Rising prices are squeezing city dwellers. A five-year drought is devastating the countryside. The pitched battle between political moderates and hard-liners is so perilous that there is even talk of a military takeover.
While the people of Iran are out of work, out of money and out of hope, the Iranian leadership used billions of dollars to invest in more missiles, more weapons and more terrorism.
The Iranian Regime continues to pour billions of dollars into Hezbollah and its terrorist acts around the world.
Iranian leaders continue to call for the destruction of Israel.
It remains active in undermining peace and stability in the region and plays a central role in the chaos and war in Syria that has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.
Those who know the Iranian leadership the best, Israel, Saudi Arabia and a host of other governments in the region, are applauding Trump’s decision.
After all, they never believed this agreement would make their citizens safer or more secure.
So, where does the end of U.S. participation in the JCPOA leave us?
Right where we should be, back in the driver’s seat, in a position where we can engage with Iran and other world leaders to do what we should have done the first time: End Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Tough economic sanctions and isolation from the international community has played a central role in bringing North Korea to the bargaining table.
It worked before with Iran until President Obama blinked in the face of a desire to create a political legacy resulted in the JCPOA.
While I predict there will be a new, and better, version of the JCPOA negotiated as a result of the actions of Trump, this much should be clear: JCPOA or no JCPOA the United States will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
President Trump should be applauded for finally declaring the JCPOA what it should have been called in the first place: DOA.
Norm Coleman served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican from 2003-2009 and as mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota from 1993-1998. He is currently chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and of counsel at the law firm of Hogan Lovells.
©2018 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp. The article originally appeared on TheHill.com website on May 11, 2018.