Opinion

State Sponsorship Of Terror Disqualifies Iran From Good-Faith Agreements

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick Congressman, Pennsylvania 8th District

Hezbollah killed more than 200 American Marines in the Beirut bombing and hundreds of Israelis since. Hamas peppers rockets indiscriminately into Israeli neighborhoods. Houthi rebels’ slogan includes “Death to America, Death to Israel.”

Unsurprisingly, all these groups receive extensive financial support from Iran, the largest state sponsor of terror in the world – backers of ideological fanatics and despots who seek to disrupt and destroy civilized culture around the globe.

Unfortunately for the United States and peace-seeking peoples everywhere, the recently announced agreement with Iran may do little to curb their ambitions – nuclear or ideological.

From the beginning, I have had deep concerns about the direction the Obama administration has taken in reaching this agreement. While I support all diplomatic efforts to promote peace and cooperation, there is little reason to believe this deal will halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program or that the Iranian regime is truly committed to joining the international community as it professes. In fact, even during negotiations, Iranian leaders have spewed hateful language towards the United States, Israel and the Jewish people, and unapologetically continued their state sponsorship of terrorism.

Not only does this agreement fail to address the realities of the situation, it empowers Iran and its mullahs by infusing billions of dollars into its economy through lifting sanctions – sanctions that successfully brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.

As the chair of the bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing I’ve heard foreign policy experts and others testify about the danger of this new influx of cash finding its way to terrorist organizations threatening Iran’s neighboring states and those planning strikes in the United States. The Iranian regime has demonstrated a lack of concern about its own people, leaving little doubt the estimated $150 billion in funds currently held abroad will allow the Iranian economy to fully recover – not to the benefit of its oppressed citizens – but to the advantage of the next generation of terror syndicates.

That’s why, next week, I will lead our task force in a hearing specifically on Iran’s role in financing terrorist groups around the world. This information is vital to the administration, Congress, and American people when reviewing any nuclear agreement with Iran that includes sanctions relief.

Over the next 60 days members of both the House and Senate will review the fine points of this agreement before voting on it – the product of the bipartisan passage of H.R. 1191. It is my hope that the same coalition of Republicans and Democrats that voted to ensure Congressional oversight of this deal can once again work together to prevent a bad deal from becoming law.

This agreement will determine the future of our nation’s foreign policy and the global balance of power. It is far more significant than a presidential legacy or the political goals of one party. Therefore, this review cannot take place with an eye on the next election or ideological allegiance. Republicans, Democrats and Independents hold the power to turn back a bad deal.

A nation so deeply committed to promoting terror can never possess a nuclear weapons capability. I will only support this deal if it meets the simple benchmark of forever preventing a nuclear Iran.

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as chair of the bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing.