Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Whether or not a Senate bill that improves or abrogates the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal is passed, we believe that the president’s recently announced intention to decertify that pact has merit.

President Donald Trump said last week he would ask Congress to modify the agreement that was supposed to stall Iranian militarization of nuclear material by at least 10 years in return for the lifting of economic sanctions and the release of billions of dollars in frozen assets.

As we write this, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark) are revamping the legislation according to the president’s specifications. The bottom line here is that the president wants the reinstitution of sanctions if Iran’s nuclear program is found in violation of the original P5+1 accord.

We also know that Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) is now the sole holdout Democrat who is standing firm against the Iran deal. He is, amazingly, one of only four Democratic members of Congress and the only Jewish Democratic member of the House who has refused to sign one or both of two letters sent by Democrats to the president, both of which urge him to recertify the deal.

It is so likely that the legislation will a make it through the Senate. But it is still important that the administration make a point here. It is hardly a secret that Iran is the financial and military power behind Hezbollah. And it is even less a secret that the terrorist group’s success in helping the tyrant Bashar al-Assad quash rebel resistance, also causing a world refugee crisis, poses a clear and present danger to Israel’s borders. Among the results of the Syrian civil war could be a growing, established presence of an Iranian-backed Hezbollah on the Syrian border with Israel.

The president is making it clear that the threatening, if not deadly, behavior of Iran and its recent show of ballistic missile strength is not what his administration can sit by and accept, even if it was considered a success by the previous administration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been speaking out against the existential threat the deal poses for Israel.

So while we aren’t convinced the U.S. will pull out of the deal completely, we are satisfied that the Trump administration is not hesitating to send a strong signal to Iran.

We’ve seen way too many examples of how a rogue nation will choose to taunt the world. One only has to consider the recent machinations of North Korea and its unfortunate regime. A similar sort of aggressive military presence is what concerns the president, Congress, Israel and even Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations.

Yes, we’d like to see the agreement decertified. But if that does not happen, we are convinced that the mere attempt sends a much-needed message to Iran that its menacing behavior won’t be tolerated.