Grayson-- Always For Peace-- Backs The Iran Deal
Grayson was in a relatively foul mood when I spoke with him late yesterday. He had spent a good part of it in a dark, dreadful little room where congressmembers who want to read classified information have to go-- without any electrical devices or even a pen and paper. Nothing can be copied. And almost no Members ever bother. But Grayson always bothers. He goes down into the cave whenever he has to vote on anything pertaining to national security and finds the relevant documents and tapes. I've never known him to make a final decision on any matter this pertains to without spending time in the cave.
I suspected strongly all along that he would-- regardless of his heartfelt reticence-- support the Iran nuclear deal. But I knew he wouldn't announce a final decision until he visited the cave. The press release his office released last night was very straightforward and to the point:
I am supporting the Iran nuclear agreement because I have concluded that rejection of the agreement is substantially more risky-- for the United States, Israel, and the region-- than adoption of the agreement.Yesterday you no doubt detected how disappointed I was with the conclusion L.A. Congressman Ted Lieu had come to in the same matter, although I respect and admire both men and know absolutely that each one came to his own conclusion based solely on how he viewed the merits of the case. It just so happens, Grayson was correct and Ted... slipped up in his reasoning and came to the wrong conclusion. Grayson was a little more folksy-- and informational-- in his communication to his constituents back in Orlando than he was in his press release:
In the absence of an agreement, there is a very substantial risk that the international economic sanctions against Iran would collapse immediately. There is also a very significant risk that Iran would quickly obtain its accrued oil revenue, without any conditions whatsoever. This could not only fund Iran’s unrestrained nuclear program, but also lead to an expansion in its support for international terrorism.
In the absence of an agreement, there is a significant risk that Iran might immediately try to develop nuclear weapons. Some have said that Iran could create a nuclear weapon by the end of this year, in the absence of this agreement. Such an effort, in turn, could trigger another war in the Middle East, with very uncertain results. At this point, were the agreement to be rejected, there is no visible way to avoid this worst-case scenario, in which Iran has the potential to get both the money and the bomb-- and quickly.
In contrast, if the agreement is implemented, then the primary risk is that Iran might try to cheat its way to nuclear weapons during the agreement period. I am satisfied that our intelligence community would very likely detect such an effort, quickly. And I would hope that the United States and our allies would quash it, armed with the moral authority that Iran would be violating the agreement.
I am mindful of the fact that some have suggested that rejection of the agreement might “bring Iran back to the table,” and might result in a better agreement. I’ve seen no evidence to support that hypothesis.
This agreement is far from perfect. I wish that it were far broader, and that it would bring us closer to peace in the Middle East. But the enormous risk of rejecting it, in my mind, outweighs the risk of accepting it. For this reason, I will be voting in favor of this agreement on the House Floor.
I will be voting in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement. The reasons are many and varied, but the reason that weighs most heavily in my mind is the proverbial worst-case scenario:Grayson has been a great Member of Congress. He'll make a great senator too. If you want to help him defeat the pack of conservatives running against him... you can do it here.
Scene 1: Congress rejects the deal. International sanctions fall apart immediately.
Scene 2: Without disabling any nuclear facilities, Iran receives the $55 billion in accounts receivable for its oil sales.
Scene 3: Iran ramps up oil production, adding another $20 billion in oil revenue per year.
Scene 4: The anti-Iran rhetoric of GOP Presidential candidates intensifies; several of them promise to bomb Iran before sundown on Inauguration Day, 2017.
Scene 5: Iran enriches uranium beyond 20%, and starts to build nuclear weapons, trying to finish just in time to celebrate the “Birth of the Prophet” (Dec. 28 this year, if you’re a Shi’ite)
Then there is a fork in the road:
Scene 6A: Iran builds several nuclear weapons, with the threat that they will be used in combat, or shared with allies like Hezbollah. A nuclear arms race breaks out in the Middle East.
Scene 6B: The United States goes to war against Iran, to try to destroy its nuclear facilities. Iran and its allies counterattack against U.S. interests, specifically including U.S. forces and “assets” in the region.
Scene 6C: Israel goes to war against Iran. The outcome is uncertain, and the possibility looms of perpetual war between two countries separated by two other countries, and a distance of 1000 miles.
There are those who posit that if the agreement is rejected, Iran will refrain from building nuclear weapons.
There are those who posit that if the agreement is rejected, other countries will adhere to international sanctions.
There are those who posit that if the deal is rejected Iran will return to the negotiating table.
I don’t see a lot of support for those hypotheses. They might be right but, more importantly, they might be wrong.
I wish that these negotiations had been used as a vehicle to bring peace to the region. But it’s too late for that now. The immediate question is a simple one: Is it more dangerous to have an agreement, or to have no agreement?
On the evidence I see, it’s more dangerous to have no agreement. So I will be voting in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement.