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The Iranian nuclear deal is perhaps the greatest national security mistake of our time and represents a clear and present danger to America and our allies. The idea of legitimizing the nuclear capabilities of Iran – the leading sponsor of global terrorism who is directly responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans – is reckless. The United States does not need this deal; Iran needs this deal.

As you’re reading this, Iran is holding Americans hostage. Any deal crafted with Iran should have been built on the cornerstone that we would get our people back. And earlier this year, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, rallied crowds with chants of “Death to America,” and called for the annihilation of Israel. His words are not political rhetoric; they are reality.

As a former Navy SEAL commander, I remember the troops killed by Iranian explosives. I know first-hand the Iranian nuclear agreement is bad; here’s why:

  • It fails to provide adequate inspection and verification measures, allowing Iran to “self-inspect;”
  • It funnels billions of dollars to Iran, and by admission of national security advisor Susan Rice, will be used to finance terrorism;
  • It fails to dismantle Iran’s nuclear facilities; and
  • It removes the sanctions on weapons to allow Iran to procure intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Barack Obama and his supporters of appeasement insist this is a diplomatic “win” and that we face a “take the deal or go to war” proposition. This claim is patently false and fear-mongering. I am the last guy who wants to go to war. No one, especially those who have fought, want to go to war. The truth is, the deal is bad. Do you think Russia would have announced they are selling long-range missiles to Iran if this deal didn’t exist?

The deal is bad on verification. Although Secretary John Kerry insists monitoring is foolproof, experts like former CIA Director General Hayden disagree. This deal assumes Iran is a trustworthy negotiator. We were told the deal would include “anytime and anywhere” inspections, however, it is now up to 24 days, but only if Iran agrees. We now also know that Iran will be allowed to self-inspect certain sites. This is foolish, but not foolproof.

The deal also fails to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability, leaving all known nuclear facilities intact, and it bolsters their long-range capabilities. While the administration refused to include American hostages in the deal, they managed to remove sanctions on conventional weapons and ICBMs. Of the dangers facing our troops around the globe, our military’s top general stated that under no circumstances should we give Iran advanced missile systems.

During my recent visit to Israel, I spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Major General Amos Yadlin, formerly with the Israeli Defense Force. Their assessment is in just 13 years, the deal would give Iran as many as 100 ICBMs capable of destroying every city in America.

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Lastly, the deal is bad in that it radically departs from decades of prudent U.S. foreign policy directed at reducing, rather than increasing, nuclear stockpiles and the number of countries who possess them. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), South Africa, and Ukraine are successful examples of reducing the risk of nuclear warfare. This deal will create a legal pathway for Iran to possess nuclear weapons, which will trigger a nuclear arms race in a region ripe with instability. Saudi Arabia has already pledged to acquire nuclear weaponry.

The right course is to reject this bad deal and hold Iran accountable for its flagrant violations and actions. There are a number of actions the United States can take that do not include war and prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Sanctions work. Enhancing relationships with our allies works. We and our allies have options, and Congress will review every single one of them.

Negotiation must be executed through strength with a credible use of force and not through weakness and disengagement. Unfortunately, this deal was conceived in appeasement and those who vote for it care more about the legacy of Obama than they do the security of United States and our allies.

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U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, serves on the Armed Services Committee and is a 23-year veteran of the Navy SEALs.

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