A Democratic congressman who co-chaired President Obama’s election campaign in Georgia blasted the Iran nuclear deal as a pact that “allows for Iran to get a nuclear bomb.”
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and the Congressional Black Caucus, told Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE this week that “unfortunately” the deal falls flat.
Asked what’s missing, Scott replied: “The prevention of Iran getting a nuclear bomb.”
“In essence it sort of permits it too, within the agreement, without Iran even having to cheat at all,” he said. “…When we started out, there was no ifs, ands or buts about it, under no circumstance, all of the nations agreed, the United Nations, NATO, the United States, all agreed that under no circumstance would Iran acquire a nuclear weapons or the capacity to build a nuclear weapon. But this agreement allows them to do that within 9 or 10 years.”
“It would do that by not requiring them to dismantle their nuclear weapons program. It does that by allowing them to continue to build the centrifuges and do their uranium production. It does that by having off-limits the underground plant where they’re doing their military component where we know that they are developing a warhead for the delivery on a missile system… They’re not allowed to go into Fordow. Nor are they allowed to go in and do any inspections, in any area of Iran, where Iran objects. It then goes to a committee — a committee on which Iran sits.”
Scott stressed that “there’s no question: Iran wants the nuclear bomb… we know full well what Iran is after.”
He said that Iran may live up to the terms of the agreement, and would even have the incentive to do so as it doesn’t matter — because the deal is essentially “permission” to get their weapon “legitimately.”
Scott added that the world had been negotiating with Iran from a “position of strength; we no longer have that.”
“Once we had taken the military option off the table, you have no leverage. Once the president showed his over-eagerness, desperation, his desire to get some sort of deal before he leaves office — I understand that he has his job to do, but I have mine to do, as well. That’s why you have a Congress. We can keep the sanctions on. That’s the leverage. There’s no enforcement in this. It’s just their word. There’s no verification.”
The congressman said only changes in the agreement would sway him from his opposition, but he stressed that as it stands now the deal would leave the world with needing the military option to stop Iran.
“We in Congress will finally stand up and be the Congress that is the equal branch of government,” he declared. “It’s not just President Obama here. We’ve all got to get on the train.”
Scott added that Congress has “too eagerly” ceded too much of its power to the executive branch.
“Congress must stand up for the American people. We’ll get a much better deal.” He said Obama came to the table “weak,” and “this is what you got.”
“It’s about time that we understand that there are people around this world who are taking our kindness, our decency, for weakness” instead of the needed “strength and resolve,” Scott said. “We’ve got to be that shining light on the hill.”
As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, appointed by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Scott has prepared reports on the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.