By Daniel Webster
Over the past several weeks that Congress was out of session, concerns about federal issues were a constant refrain as I listened to business leaders, community members, and service organizations across Central Florida.
Most centered around one issue: the proposed nuclear deal with Iran.
Central to unrest in the Middle East, Iran looms as a threat to peace with their support of radical militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, their secret talks with Russia, and their alliance with the Assad regime and terrorist organizations across Iraq and Syria.
As recently as the past few days, they continued with their threats to annihilate our ally Israel and referred to the United States as the “Great Satan.”
In March, during the Obama administration’s negotiation process, I joined 368 of my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, in Congress to specify critical elements that we agreed should be part of any deal with Iran.
Within our bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama, we acknowledged the grave necessity of preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, and expressed hope that a diplomatic solution could be achieved.
Unfortunately, the strict and enduring guidelines for which we advocated quickly began to deteriorate from the negotiations.
We called for firm restrictions on intercontinental ballistic missiles, where the United States would be their only obvious target.
Additionally, we made it clear that immediate, open inspections were absolutely necessary, due to Iran’s past track record of deception.
And we urged that the return of American hostages should be a part of any deal.
In context, we pointed out that despite current international requirements, Iran has belligerently withheld information on its prior advancement toward a nuclear bomb. As a whole, the country has proven to be a destabilizing force in the Middle East, which precludes our ability to trust in such a volatile and hostile government.
As discussions continued, Congress became increasingly alarmed at the progression of concessions between the Obama administration and Iran.
In May, legislation was introduced that required the president to submit the agreement to Congress prior to approval. I voted against that measure, because it diluted the impact of the agreement and downgraded it from a treaty, which requires a higher vote threshold in the Senate.
When addressing a joint meeting of Congress earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued passionately that as it pertains to ongoing negotiations with Iran over their pursuit of a nuclear weapon, “No deal is better than a bad deal.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the Israeli ambassador, who clearly expressed his concerns about the economic resources that the current deal would provide to the Iranian government.
Not only would the current sanctions be lifted, but billions of dollars of frozen assets would be released to Iran, which would empower them to brazenly continue their current pattern of funding terrorism.
When the agreement was delivered to Congress, I read the classified portions of the deal. Entering a locked room, stripped of my mobile devices, and having been sworn to secrecy about the contents of those documents, I came away more severely convinced than ever that this deal is bad for both the American people and our allies in the Middle East.
The core problem is this: Iran cannot be trusted.
Time and again, they have proven their hostility toward the United States, the cause of freedom, and the rights of their own people.
Recently, I voted for legislation that prohibits the president from suspending or limiting the sanctions that Congress has strategically placed on Iran, and restricts the White House from removing the dangerous foreign terrorists listed within the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in Vienna.
I did not support the proposed nuclear deal with Iran and will continue to call for stronger oversight regarding Iran’s ultimate goal to achieve a nuclear weapon.
The president’s nuclear deal requires us to trust Iran, despite its proven track record of deceit and belligerence.
Unfortunately, the president was desperate to get a deal, and became too lenient with a country that cannot be trusted.
U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, represents Florida’s 10th Congressional District, which includes Winter Haven, Auburndale, Polk City and other parts of eastern Polk County.
Daniel Alan “Dan” Webster is an American politician who has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 2011.