Iran deal is the product of tough diplomacy

Helena Independen Record

by Opinion

My 11-year-old granddaughter Kilikina was born during the height of the Iraq War. In her lifetime, war has been a constant topic on the nightly news and around the dinner table.

Now, as we face one of the most important foreign policy decisions of recent years, I must consider how it will affect Kilikina and millions of children like her. The question before us is: How do we ensure the security of the United States and prevent a dishonest and dangerous Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?

What we decide today will forever shape the future of our state, our nation and our world.

That’s why the Iran nuclear agreement is the only option on the table right now, and talk of a “better deal” is wishful thinking.

Now, it’s up to folks in Congress to do what I have done: read the agreement, talk to experts, including former military leaders and constituents, and reach an informed decision.

Right now, Iran is only three months away from developing a nuclear bomb. That’s not speculation. They have the technology figured out.

This agreement ties Iran’s hands so they can’t build a bomb. It reduces Iran’s uranium stockpile by 98 percent and dismantles two thirds of its centrifuges – the equipment used to enrich uranium. It also requires that Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak be filled with concrete, making it impossible to produce plutonium.

This deal puts Iran under a microscope with intrusive inspections and aggressive around-the-clock monitoring.

And if there’s a facility where our intelligence assets suspect nuclear activity is happening, inspectors can access it quickly. This is nuclear material we’re talking about – it leaves traces for months or more. And our nation’s military and intelligence officials will continue to watch over Iran with a hawk eye and keep us safe.

If Iran violates these terms, we will find out.

And I will hold this administration and future administrations accountable for enforcing this aggressive plan.

Unfortunately, some in Congress refuse to even try. As a strong supporter of the crippling sanctions that forced Iran to the bargaining table, I know the benefits of tough diplomacy.

For me, war cannot be the first choice. The last 15 years have taught us that going to war alone is irresponsible and will have repercussions we cannot foresee.

Make no mistake – if Iran violates this agreement, all options are on the table, including the use of military force.

But as your United States senator, I have a responsibility to Montana’s bravest service members and their families to exhaust all options before asking them to once again suit up and ship out.

The night after I announced my support for the Iran nuclear agreement, I sat down with Kilikina and explained it to her. She asked: “Why would someone choose war first?”

For her and for the millions of Americans who have known nothing but war in their lifetime, we must try.