In March 2016, only two months after President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal went into effect, Iran fired two long-range ballistic missiles capable of transporting nuclear weapons. One of the missiles contained the phrase “Israel should be wiped off the Earth” in Hebrew.
In a joint letter, the United States and its European allies denounced the move by Iran as a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, the same resolution that endorsed the Iran nuclear deal.
The Israeli ambassador to the U.N. called the missile tests “provocative and destabilizing.” He went on to say, “This latest provocation makes it clear that the ‘smile campaign’ of the current regime is nothing more than a smokescreen to disguise the real intentions of the ayatollah regime.”
This is not the first time Iran has violated Security Council resolutions, and it won’t be the last. In the face of these provocations, how are we supposed to trust Iran will uphold its end of the nuclear deal?
The answer, to put it simply, is we shouldn’t.
In light of these continued violations, it is shocking and concerning that Katie McGinty, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, supports the Iran nuclear deal, even though she acknowledges that “Iran is an avowed enemy of the U.S. and Israel.” She said: “In my view, this agreement, aggressively enforced, offers a critical opportunity to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”
She could not be more wrong.
For instance, McGinty has argued that “rigorous inspection and verification measures … are at the heart of this agreement.” However, the Iranian government can force international weapons inspectors to wait up to 24 days before granting access into a suspicious facility. Imagine what can be hidden or moved over a 24-day period in order to deceive weapons inspectors. The deal also permits Iran to maintain an industrial-scale uranium enrichment program, which is completely unnecessary for a peaceful nuclear energy program.
McGinty also claims the deal “provides important new protection for Israel’s security.” This view is as arrogant as it is ignorant. Iran is still the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. For decades now, Iran has funded Hezbollah and Hamas. These are the same terrorist groups that have carried out attacks against Israel and taken American lives abroad. And under the deal, more than $100 billion in assets have been freed up for Iran, which it will almost certainly use to increase terror funding. Secretary of State John Kerry has even acknowledged as much.
And make no mistake about it, this deal grants Iran a legitimate path to obtain a nuclear weapon. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has argued that “many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent” a nuclear Iran “will be lifted” instead. Indeed, lifting the harsh economic sanctions immediately gave Iran what it wanted with no further incentive to abide by the deal. This is the argument Ms. McGinty’s opponent, Sen. Pat Toomey, has made.
Toomey has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal and is a leader in the Senate in calling for renewed sanctions on Iran. He also has long been a friend to Israel by supporting multiple pieces of legislation which make it clear to the world that Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism and foreign threats. Finally, Toomey has been a firm supporter of Iron Dome funding, which protects Israel from rocket attacks.
With the amount of instability around the world, national security and the security of Israel should be a top priority this election season. Katie McGinty represents a rubber stamp for Obama’s failed foreign policy. On the other hand, Toomey has a proven record of standing for a strong national security, Israel and our other allies around the world.
Gary Erlbaum is a Jewish community leader in Philadelphia.