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Articles | | Middle East, Nuclear Deterrence

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Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-6) discussed the new Iran nuclear deal on today’s Secure Freedom Radio.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Welcome to Secure Freedom Radio. This is Frank Gaffney, your host and guide for what I think of as an intelligence briefing on the war for the free world. A man I am privileged to say is a much-admired member of the United States House of Representatives, and certainly a friend to this program, is Congressman Peter Roskam. He is the distinguished Representative of the people of the 6th District of Illinois, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee—in fact chairs its oversight committee. He is also a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, and a leader on the issue that we’re particularly anxious to talk with him about, which is of course the newly unveiled deal. I call it the “ObamaBomb” deal. Congressman Roskam, welcome back. It’s good to have you with us, sir.

PETER ROSKAM: Thank you, Frank, great to be with you.

FG: So, what do you make of this ObamaBomb deal, Congressman? You’ve been warning about it in its preparation for some time. You’ve been really leading in the House the opposition to what the Administration’s been doing. Now it’s done. What do you make of it?

PR: Well, it shouldn’t be a surprise, but I got to tell you the breadth and the scope and the depth of this failure, I do find jarring. I think to take a step back and look and say, “How is something this bad possible?” It’s bad because Barack Obama, for the past several years, has pursued a foreign policy that has centered on his personality, as opposed to what’s in the best interests of the United States. He has been desperate to communicate to the world that he, and he alone, is able to talk the mullahs into what he characterizes as a good deal with Iran, and this is something that has eluded everybody else. So he’s now making a false claim that this is a good thing. But the breadth of it is actually jarring to me. I’m absolutely surprised.

FG: And, specifically, I’d like to get your thoughts on sort of three pieces of this that I’m troubled by most especially. That the breadth with respect to the preservation of the infrastructure of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

PR: Look Frank, the original deal, the original architecture, the design of the negotiation was to be, “Okay, the sanctions come off in stages as the Iranians dismantle their nuclear infrastructure.” But of course, that’s not what is happening. The sanctions are coming off, and the Iranians are able to keep their nuclear infrastructure. So importantly for the Iranians, they get the imprimatur of approval now of their nuclear ambition as somehow legitimate. And you and I, and everybody listening to this show, knows they don’t have a legitimate ambition as it relates to nuclear power. They have the ambition of using that as a cudgel and a threat of terror.

FG: Well, and quite possibly as a weapon of mass destruction actually, vis-à-vis most notably Israel. And that was another piece of this: you mention that the sanctions are coming off. I guess the breadth of the impact of that is also astonishing. Not just the sort of front-loading of the sanctions relief, which is contrary to what we were promised, but also Congressman Peter Roskam, the degree to which this is going to be an immense amount of money being put in the hands of people who will use it for all kinds of malevolent purposes, not just nuclear weapons.

PR: In terms of the equivalent to the United States, thinking about how much this means if you were going to do the same thing to the United States economy, $150 billion dollars for the Iranian economy today is equivalent to $8 trillion dollars to the United States economy.

FG: Woah!

PR: So can you imagine the influx of cash that that would mean to the United States Treasury? It just takes your breadth away.

FG: It does. And again, when you overlay it on the kinds of things that these folks have been involved with for years, and we have every reason to believe will continue to be engaged in, that’s a lot of terrorism. That’s a lot of nuclear missiles, and so on.

Congressman, the other piece of this—and you touched on it a moment ago, but I’d really like to get your further thoughts on in—John Bolton has been warning the Israelis, they’d better bomb Iran right now, because there’s not just this imprimatur of legitimacy, you’re actually going to have, as the Washington Free Beacon points out today, international folks—the International Atomic Energy Agency, but also folks representing the various governments that have been party to this deal—all over Iran. Helping the Iranians with their nuclear program going forward. Helping teach them how to protect their nuclear programs. This is unbelievable and clearly is going to make what we do next vastly more difficult, even if there’s a Republican president, won’t it?

PR: Yeah, that’s right. This puts tremendous on the Israelis, and it’s pressure that they don’t need and they don’t deserve. And I’ll tell you this: a couple of years ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu was in Washington, and I was in a small meeting with him, and during the course of the discussion he spent a lot of time discussing 1967. Well, as you know and I know, the world basically told Israel not to act in 1967. Israel said, “This is an existential threat.” They acted preemptively, and history exonerated them and it was a great victory for the Israelis. So, it begins to set up the same sort of dynamic. I obviously can’t speak for the Israeli government, but you’ve got to imagine there’s an entirely new calculus that’s going on today at the highest echelons within Israel to be thinking about “Okay, we’ve basically been told we’re on our own.” It’s a shameful for the United States to have done this.

FG: It is. And as a great admirer of Israel, as are you, Congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois, I know that it pains you, but it is somewhat heartening that in the face of this adversity, it seems as though the always fractious Israeli body politic has really come together. Is of one mind on what a danger this is.

This is against the backdrop of something else I wanted to talk to you about, Congressman. You have been a leader in fighting not only this Iran deal, but also the efforts to impose through boycotts or divestment or sanctions, economic warfare on the government and people of Israel. You had a signal accomplishment in that regard recently. Talk a little bit about it.

PR: This was an effort that was first brought to my attention by the former Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren, who wrote a piece and he said, “Look, there’s been three waves of attempts to marginalize Israel historically. The first was militarily, and that failed. The second was through terror, and that failed. But the third is now to try and isolate Israel economically and to take away her legitimacy.” So the movement is called BDS: boycott, divestment, and sanctions. It’s largely coming from European capitols that are saying, “Okay, we’re not going to invest in Israeli companies and so forth.” So, what we did was in the trade bill—the TPA bill—we put in, and now it is an objective of the United States—a formal trade objective of the United States, official policy—that our trade negotiators are tasked with negotiating vis-à-vis European trade partners to push back on BDS. It’s a very important marker to put down, and we can now hold the Administration to account. We can inquire of these negotiations, and we’re trying to push back against this very, very insidious movement that’s spawning out of Europe, mostly.

FG: I salute you for it. It is something we ought to be attentive to here at home, as you know there are lots of people who are pushing this on college campuses and elsewhere.

Congressman Peter Roskam, I mentioned that you are a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Let me close by just asking you what the Devil’s going on with the State Department and their delivery to you all of emails relevant to your investigation that Hillary Clinton and her team have seemingly been stashing or otherwise trying to suppress. What are you all going to do about it?

PR: Well you remember this was basically, there was a false narrative that the Democrats in the Administration were communicating as it related to the Benghazi Select Committee. The false narrative was this, and they actually had a website that was set up, and it said, “Well, all these questions have been asked, and all these questions have been answered. There’s been several Congressional committees and thousands of documents that have reviewed these things. There’s nothing more to see, and there’s nothing more to say.” Turns out that wasn’t true. Turns out that there were a number of documents that had never been seen, and a number of witnesses who had never been interviewed. Now the State Department is absolutely wrapped over an axle based on non-disclosures, based on conflicting information. Hillary Clinton has fundamentally been deceiving people now, saying, “I was not under a subpoena. I submitted every document,” and so forth. All of that turns out not to be true.

Time is not the friend of the people who are trying to minimize the Benghazi investigation. And the truth will come out. God bless Trey Gowdy: he’s been tenacious, he’s been forthright, he’s been clear. He’s been relentless in the pursuit of these documents, and we’ll get them.

FG: All of which is needed, and unfortunately it seems as though some of the documents that have now been surrendered make clear that Hillary Clinton was also deceiving about earlier lies to the American people—namely that this was all a function of some riot over a video that went bad. We look forward to your efforts, as well as those of Trey Gowdy, Congressman Peter Roskam on the Benghazigate affair, and all of these other issues. We thank you for your leadership. Keep it up, and come back to us again very soon, if you will.

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