Kirkpatrick vs. McCain on Iran Nuclear Deal; Sinema Joins GOP in Opposing Agreement

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Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick: "No approach to Iran is without risk, and the deal is not perfect, but the United States has an opportunity to lead the world on a historic and critical diplomatic course against danger and chaos."
  • Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick: "No approach to Iran is without risk, and the deal is not perfect, but the United States has an opportunity to lead the world on a historic and critical diplomatic course against danger and chaos."
In this week's Skinny, I recapped where Southern Arizona members of Congress (and would-be members of Congress) stand on the Iran nuclear deal. No big surprises: Republicans McCain, Flake and McSally oppose it; Democrat Raul Grijalva supports it; McSally's Democratic challengers support it.

With Thursday's Senate vote, congressional opposition to the deal appears to be dead, although the some Republicans in the House of Representatives are considering suing the president. 

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who wants to challenge McCain next year, came out in favor of the deal earlier this week. Her statement:

After years of intense diplomacy, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action now provides a way forward. I’ve given the plan careful consideration, met with military and policy leaders, and listened to Arizonans across our state – and I have decided to support it. No approach to Iran is without risk, and the deal is not perfect, but the United States has an opportunity to lead the world on a historic and critical diplomatic course against danger and chaos.

Global conflicts and rapid change demand stronger and more durable protections for our nation and allies. The Iraq War took a tremendous toll on our country, and I believe we must do everything in our power, in concert with five of the world’s largest powers, to prevent a dangerous proliferation of nuclear weapons and a new war.

As an American and a supporter of Israel, I have backed tough sanctions against Iran, but now is the time to launch a new chapter of vigorous enforcement, oversight and accountability to prevent Iran from advancing its nuclear capabilities. I will remain vigilant and work to ensure that any violation of this agreement is met with a swift response from the United States and the international community. Our nation shares an unbreakable bond with Israel, so it is important that the U.S. also moves forward on long-term agreements with Israel that will strengthen and enhance their military capabilities.

I am grateful to the many Arizona constituents who provided thoughtful input on both sides of this important issue. This was a difficult decision, but ultimately, I will support this agreement because it blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, protects Israel and launches a historic diplomatic agreement that prepares us for the future in an increasingly volatile world.

Lorna Romero, McCain's 2016 campaign spokeswoman, called Kirkpatrick's support for the deal "dangerous and wrong":


Congresswoman Kirkpatrick's support for the nuclear deal with Iran is dangerous and wrong. With her support, this deal threatens America's national security by paving the way for a legitimized nuclear program for the number-one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Congresswoman Kirkpatrick's deal rewards Iran with tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which the regime will use to fund terror around the world, buy advanced weapons for its military and its proxy forces sowing chaos across the Middle East, and pose a far greater threat to our ally Israel, which Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to ‘wipe off the map.’

By endorsing this bad deal with Iran, Congresswoman Kirkpatrick is proving herself to be a rubber stamp for President Obama's failed foreign policy - the last thing Arizona and America need in this dangerous world.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is the only Arizona Democrat to cross party lines oppose the deal. Her statement:

Over the last two months, I engaged in a deliberative and thorough process before forming my position on the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (JCPOA). I carefully listened to Administration officials, outside nuclear and Middle East experts, passionate advocates on both sides of this question, and constituents of Arizona's Ninth District. I spent hours studying and discussing the complexities of the proposed agreement and its impact on our nation and the world.

This issue deserves our thoughtful discussion, deliberation, and debate. Americans can disagree on the merits of this plan of action, but we share the same goal of increasing our security by ending the threat of a nuclear Iran. That is why I am disappointed that an issue so important to the safety and security of American families was overshadowed by partisanship.

The President brought the world together to recognize the serious threat posed by Iran and developed a plan of action in response. In particular, the work of Energy Secretary Moniz may give greater insight into Iran’s nuclear program than we’ve ever had, and the monitoring regime created by the JCPOA may contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a time.

This work is commendable, but ultimately the risks inherent in this deal outweigh the rewards. I cannot in good conscience vote for the agreement.

I was a principled opponent of the Iraq War and spoke out early against the U.S. invasion. The Iraq War was a war of choice, not of necessity. We still feel the impact of that decision, and we have American servicemembers left with deep wounds from this war. The region is more fractured and volatile, and there is no clear strategy to increase stability and security.

I am concerned that this agreement will escalate a conventional arms race in the Middle East and further destabilize the region. The agreement allows financial resources to flow to an Iranian regime, which siphons resources away from its citizens to fund terrorism and foment war. It allows Iran to strengthen its military capabilities, including conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. The Iranian regime and its proxies have made no secrets about how they will use these new resources and weapons in the region.

While the Iranian regime gets stronger, the JCPOA could limit our ability to use energy and banking sector sanctions to counter Iran’s aggression. Instead, our government has pledged to provide additional weapons to our allies in the region, escalating an arms race and increasing the likelihood of an expanded conflict.

The agreement may push back the time it will take Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon but does not eliminate the threat. At the end of the deal, Iran will have the tools, knowledge, and money to be an internationally recognized, empowered and legitimized threshold nuclear state. This newly created power and legitimacy will make deterring the regime’s aggression more difficult.

The deal will go forward. We must now enforce vigilantly the provisions of the agreement and execute a comprehensive strategy that strengthens our security and supports our allies in the region.

That means no sanctions relief until Iran verifiably meets its obligations, clear and painful consequences for any Iranian violation of the deal, and robust and sustained support for the monitoring regime during the life of the agreement and after.

I will continue to work with my colleagues, with the Administration, and with our allies to achieve these goals and to strengthen our country’s safety and security.

Our shared commitment to counter Iranian aggression and to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran must not waiver.


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