The Iran deal and the 2016 elections

The Iran nuclear deal is too important to give anyone a pass on his or her vote; being right calls for a reward, being wrong demands electoral punishment.

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Geneva (U.S. Mission/Eric Bridiers)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2015 —It now appears that President Obama’s Iran deal will go through despite a majority of House and Senate members in opposition. Because more than 40 Democratic senators have announced support, there may not even be a vote if they decide to filibuster.

The impact of the Iran deal on the 2016 elections may be significant.

If congressional Democrats who have voiced support for the deal are correct in their assumptions of Iran’s behavior, their support for the deal will give them a big boost at the polls. They claim that once Iran sees the benefits of compliance, it will change its ways.

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For decades, Iran has supported terrorist movements. In 1979, Iran held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, refusing to release them until Ronald Reagan was elected president with the promise of using force to free the hostages. The hostages were released on the day Reagan was sworn into office.

Supporters of the current deal believe that Iran will end decades of terrorism and join the community of nations. If that happens, the Democrats can run on that accomplishment. This should work for all candidates, even the presidential nominee.  The deal was negotiated by a Democratic president with support only from Democrats. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and potential presidential nominee, strongly supports the deal, as she noted during a recent speech at the Brookings Institution.

On the other hand, if events occur the way the opposition expects, the deal’s supporters could be in trouble.  In fact, the election could turn out to be more of a bloodbath for Democrats than the election in 2014, when Republicans picked up 10 Senate seats to gain control of that body. The Republicans also increased their majority in the House of Representatives.

We should hold our elected officials accountable for their vote on the Iran deal. A poll by the well-respected Pew Foundation finds that only 21 percent of Americans support the nuclear deal. Nearly 80 percent are unsure of their support or flat-out oppose the deal.  The Democrats will vote for this deal in spite of these numbers.

Opponents believe that once the sanctions are lifted and Iran is free to spend the more than $100 billion that has been held from them, they will increase their spending on terrorist activities. Sanctions will be lifted, and they will be free to buy products to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that can carry warheads all the way to the U.S.

While there are supposedly monitors to control the development of nuclear weapons, side agreements that allow Iran to essentially monitor themselves will make verification difficult, if not impossible. We end up with trust but no way to verify.

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That could lead to an increase in terrorist activity throughout the Middle East. The end results are difficult to predict but will not be in the best interests of the U.S. or the Middle Eastern countries that remain peaceful and contributing members of the world community.

Opponents claim that by next summer, if this deal goes through, the world will be even more unstable and much more violent, with greater threats to the U.S. mainland.

Proponents say that the opposite will happen. Iran will see the benefits of ending terrorism and will reduce its support for terrorism. If they are correct, the world will be safer and they will reap their electoral reward.

Wherever the fall on the issue, our elected officials must be held accountable for their votes. There are other important issues to be considered during the election, but the security of our country and other peaceful nations should be the top priority.

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