Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress should expect the Iranians to cheat under the nuclear agreement.
“I think the Congress has a critical role to play in the oversight of the implementation of this deal. As I’ve said both at the University of Delaware and the Carnegie Endowment, after coming to a decision to support the deal, it’s with some real concerns. I think there are some real challenges in the short term, the middle term and the long term in how this deal plays out if in fact it’s fully implemented. We can expect the Iranians to cheat,” said Coons at the Washington Ideas Forum.
“They have a long history of cheating both in flagrant ways and marginal ways. We can expect them to use some of the proceeds of sanctions relief to try and fund terrorist organizations in the region and to promote destabilizing activities. We can foresee in 10-15 years their having industrial-scale enrichment capability that is significantly threatening to the stability of the region and the world,” he added.
Coons stressed that Congress must remain engaged in the situation with Iran over a long period of time to restrain or deter harmful actions.
“I still think having 12 tons of enriched uranium going out of their hands and having real time 24/7 surveillance of their known and declared nuclear facilities is better than the alternative,” he said.
Appeared on the stage with Coons, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the deal does the opposite of controlling Iran’s behavior.
“They’re going to get up to $150 billion in sanctions relief and they give groups like Hezbollah $1 billion, maybe $2 billion, just think about what that will mean after they spend all their money on hospitals and swimming pools as some in the [Obama] administration said they would,” Cotton quipped. “We are rewarding their behavior.”
Citing President Reagan’s treatment of the Soviet Union, Coons said it is possible to view a regime as “evil,” oppose their values and their actions but come to a diplomatic resolution that improves America’s security.
In response, Cotton said, “I would agree but Ronald Reagan did many other things like deploying medium-range missiles to Europe or confronting Soviet expansionism in places like Afghanistan and only sitting down at the very end of a long period of time.”
Cotton said the situation with the Iran nuclear deal is different.
“The Soviet Union already had thousands of warheads. We’re on rough parity with them. Therefore those agreements were going to be a roughly equal outcome,” he said.