Why Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal Will Be Illegitimate

Much has been written recently about how the nuclear agreement being finalized with Iran goes against President Obama’s statements about the Iranian nuclear program, such as insisting that Iran does not need advanced centrifuges, the Fordow underground enrichment facility or a plutonium producing reactor.

We know from an April 2, 2015 State Department fact sheet on the nuclear talks that Iran will keep all of these things in a nuclear agreement. President Obama tried to reassure the American people about these and other U.S. concessions in an April 2 statement when he said, “Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.”

But we know from statements by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and legislation passed by the Iranian parliament that these inspections will be neither robust nor instructive since IAEA inspectors will be barred from visiting military and nondeclared military facilities.

It is obvious that many U.S. concessions in the nuclear talks are inconsistent with statements President Obama has made about various aspects of Iran’s nuclear program over the last two years. But I believe it is more important to judge a possible nuclear agreement against what the president promised the American people about his intentions for such a deal when he ran for re-election in 2012.

President Obama said during an Oct. 22, 2012, presidential debate with Mitt Romney: “our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” The president also said during the debate: “But the deal we’ll accept is – they end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.”

These promises were very clear. When Barack Obama asked the American people to return him to office, he said his bottom line on a nuclear agreement would be that Iran end its nuclear program and abide by all U.N. Security Council resolutions.

This is a far cry from the nuclear agreement currently being finalized in Vienna that will allow Iran to keep its nuclear infrastructure, develop advanced centrifuges while an agreement is in effect, keep a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor, and lift U.N. Security Council resolutions on Iran’s nuclear program.

If President Obama decided it was necessary to alter his position on a nuclear agreement with Iran, he could have worked with Congress to win its support. Instead, the president pursued a nuclear deal with Iran in secret and kept Congress in the dark.

Making this worse, the president refuses to submit this agreement to Congress as a treaty so it can be ratified by the Senate. (The Corker-Cardin bill, which was passed over Obama’s objections, gives Congress the right to pass a resolution of disapproval on the agreement, but it can be vetoed and it is an affront to the Constitution.)

The nuclear talks missed a deadline to produce an agreement by June 30. U.S. officials now hope for a deal by July 7.

As Congress considers how to respond to a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, it needs to recognize this will be a bad deal not only due to dangerous U.S. concessions but because it will be illegitimate since President Obama has no mandate from Congress or the American people to strike such an agreement.

In his nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Obama has broken his word with the American people and played members of Congress for fools. The nuclear agreement with Iran being pursued by the Obama administration is dangerous since it will not stop or slow Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and legitimizes a rogue state nuclear program.

In addition, the underhanded way this agreement was negotiated has undermined Americans’ faith in government and relations between the executive and legislative branches. It therefore is imperative that Congress, on an overwhelming bipartisan basis, do everything possible to kill any nuclear agreement that emerges from the nuclear talks both to promote international security and to check the misuse of power by President Obama.