The Most Incredibly Lucid Explanation, by a US Senator, of Why the Iran Deal MUST be Supported

by flitedocnm –

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

A few days ago, I had the exceptional opportunity of attending an event with Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. Martin is low-key, but when you listen to him talk it’s immediately apparent that he’s absolutely dedicated, really smart, and has made it his mission to be expertly informed about all aspects of the issues dealt with by the Senate committees on which he sits — amongst them Intelligence, and Armed Services.

Martin’s knowledge and understanding of everything he discussed was articulate, thoughtful and right on target. And of course, strongly progressive.

But his discussion of the Iran deal absolutely left me stunned: by the depth of his understanding of its historical, scientific, military, and political dimensions, by the clarify of his explanation of the essential choices that are before us, by the monumental implications of what happens next in the U.S. Congress, and the huge importance of not allowing demagoguery and politics to prevail.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to take notes, because Martin had just published this very discussion in detail as an Op Ed piece in the Albuquerque Journal. I spoke this afternoon with a member of his senior staff, who assured me that this is not a copyrighted piece, and that I had permission to republish it in full on Daily Kos. That’s a good thing, because not a single word of this should be left unread, and it would be impossible to do it justice by selective quoting. That also means that anyone is free to copy and redistribute it.

Martin’s article follows below the orange croissant of sanity. I don’t think any further comment is necessary, as the article speaks for itself. But I think a fitting lead-in is the conclusion, so I’ll put that right up front:

Any deal with Iran will not be without risk, but the risks associated with inaction are far more dire. This deal sets the stage for a safer and more stable Middle East, and a more secure United States. We must seize this historic opportunity.

Iran deal is a historic opportunity
By Sen. Martin Heinrich / Democrat, New Mexico

In the first decade of this century when we were entangled in the War in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear program surged ahead rapidly, adding thousands of centrifuges, building complex nuclear facilities and stockpiling highly enriched uranium.

In the absence of real negotiations and before the most recent sanctions, Iran built a nuclear infrastructure that went from 164 centrifuges in 2003 to 19,000 centrifuges today and included large quantities of 20 percent enriched uranium that could quickly be enriched to weapons grade material.

When evaluating the deal we achieved with our allies and partners to prevent Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon, context, data and details like these matter. Perhaps the most critical data point: Without a deal, Iran could acquire enough highly enriched material for a bomb in 60-90 days.

With a deal, Iran must reduce its stockpile by 98 percent. It must cut its number of centrifuges by two-thirds. And it must allow 24/7 inspections and continuous monitoring of its nuclear infrastructure.

Further, a mechanism is in place that will allow inspections of sites should we suspect covert action being taken to build a bomb anywhere else in Iran.

This accord breaks each path to a weaponized nuclear device, including any potential covert effort. We should welcome each of those developments as major steps toward regional and international security.

I have studied both the science and the politics of the nuclear-age world we live in from an early age. I grew up listening to my father, who served in the Navy in the ’50s, tell what it was like to watch a nuclear blast firsthand and to see the formation of a mushroom cloud over Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. While studying engineering at the University of Missouri, I worked at one of the largest research reactors in the United States. More recently, I have seen the centrifuges dedicated to the peaceful production of nuclear energy, which are housed in New Mexico.

In the House and now on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have served on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which sets policy on non-proliferation and our nuclear deterrent. I also serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where I have received numerous briefings on Iran’s nuclear program and capabilities. So I am well acquainted with the steps necessary to successfully construct a nuclear weapon and to detect such activity.

The comprehensive, long-term deal achieved last week includes all the necessary tools to break each potential Iranian pathway to a nuclear bomb. Further, it incorporates enough lead time so that, should Iran change its course, the United States and the world can react well before a device could be built; a scenario I hope never occurs, but one that leaves all options on the table, including the military option.

Many of my colleagues in the Senate will object to this historical accomplishment, saying that we could have done better. However, they fail to offer any realistic alternatives.

The only concrete alternative, should Congress reject this deal, comes from my colleague, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who has suggested a military strike.

While the military option will always remain on the table, it should remain our absolute last resort. Our military and intelligence leaders have looked at the potential repercussions should a military conflict with Iran occur. That path would provoke retaliation and very likely lead to a nuclear armed Iran in a matter of just a few years.

For too long, our country has been engaged in military conflicts that have cost our nation dearly in blood and treasure. We must always be ready at a moment’s notice to defend our country, our allies and our interests, but we must also be willing to avoid conflict whenever a diplomatic option is present and possible.

I am optimistic this accord is in the best interest of our nation and our allies. I am still deeply distrustful of Iran’s leadership. But, to make peace, you must negotiate with your enemies.

Any deal with Iran will not be without risk, but the risks associated with inaction are far more dire. This deal sets the stage for a safer and more stable Middle East, and a more secure United States. We must seize this historic opportunity.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

 

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Posted By: Keith

Writer, political junkie, rabid rock music fan, amateur gardener, astronomer and ornithologist, cook extraordinaire, sipper of fine wine and, more than once, the funniest guy in the room.

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