The PJ Tatler

House Dems' Freshman Class President Tears Apart Iran Deal in 23-Page 'No' Vote Explanation

An antiwar California Dem didn’t just announce that he would oppose the Iran nuclear deal — he picked it apart in a 23-page analysis.

Rep. Ted Lieu, who filled the seat vacated by retired Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), is the freshman class president in the House Democratic Caucus.

“While I believe President Obama is a transformational president, I do not agree with every policy issue advanced by the administration,” Lieu said, adding that “given the significant number of failures of American foreign policy in the Middle East spanning decades — from diplomatic failures, to intelligence failures, to use of force failures, and everything in between — it is safe to say that American foreign policy has been decidedly not clairvoyant in a very complex and volatile region of the world.”

Voting against the deal, he said, “will not result in war, it will result in more diplomacy.”

“Ultimately I view this vote as a vote of conscience.”

Lieu came to the conclusion that the Iran deal “more likely than not… will turn out to be a bad deal.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I come to this conclusion because the JCPOA has significant strengths.” If the deal was a one-year breakout time in exchange for sanctions relief with snapback, the congressman said, he would vote yes. “Unfortunately, this is not the entirety of the deal. The rollback of Iran’s nuclear program under the JCPOA is temporary… As a direct result of following the JCPOA, Iran will likely be (1) far stronger than it is today in terms of both its military and economy, (2) at a very short breakout time not just for one nuclear weapon, but many nuclear weapons and (3) capable of delivering nuclear weapons long range, potentially onto our homeland.”

Lieu noted that he prides himself on “avoiding war,” including voting for an amendment by antiwar lawmakers Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Walt Jones (R-N.C.) to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq and Syria.

“After considerable thought and study, I have concluded the JCPOA increases the changes of more regional conflict and US entanglement in the Middle East in the short term, and a lengthy, difficult and more deadly war with Iran in the long term.”

Lieu stressed that he opposes the deal “based on my analysis of existential consequences to the US if Iran simply followed the JCPOA for fifteen years.”

“If Iran were to cheat, then the potential existential threat to America would occur sooner.”