Statement by Michael Pregent at the House Subcommittee on National Security Hearing: Protecting America From a Bad Deal

June 6, 2018

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile

Chairman DeSantis, Ranking Member Lynch, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee on National Security, on behalf of the Hudson Institute, I am honored to testify before you today on walking away from a bad deal.

There would be an Iran Deal in place today if the Iranian regime wasn’t so blatant in its violations of existing United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs). There would still be an Iran Deal in place today if the regime hadn’t continued and accelerated its illegal ballistic missile program – a violation of existing UNSCRs.

There would still be an Iran Deal in place today if the regime hadn’t detained 10 Sailors and filmed them for propaganda purposes - a violation of the Geneva Convention.

There would still be an Iran Deal in place if the regime didn’t use commercial aircraft to deploy the IRGC-QF and its militias to Syria – another violation of existing UNSCRs.

There would still be an Iran Deal in place if the regime stopped providing funds and lethal aid to Hamas, the Houthis, and Hezbollah – again, a violation.

There would still be an Iran Deal in place if the Regime hadn’t empowered and increased lethal aid to existing Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps –Quds (Jerusalem) Force (IRGC-QF) militias and created new ones that threaten Americans in Iraq and Syria.

There would still be an Iran Deal in place if the Regime had not squandered upwards of 150 billion dollars on adventurism, instead of using the windfall of funds to focus on its domestic economy. No one is louder here than the Iranian protesters on this failure by the regime.

The regime’s malign activities are the reason the JCPOA is no longer in place. The regime’s actions continuously demonstrated a willingness to cheat out in the open on existing UNSCRs while defenders of the regime, and the Iran Deal, said they were complying in the shadows with the JCPOA. We would have to believe that the regime is good when no one is looking, and somehow dismiss its cheating behavior on the international stage and disregard it as an indicator of the regime’s actual intentions.

Iran’s destabilizing activities were fueled by the JCPOA - the Iran Deal - and the regime’s malign activities accelerated under the protections of the JCPOA. Ending the U.S. participation in the Iran Deal ends the constraints on U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East and puts the U.S. back in a position of strength to curtail the regime’s malign activities.

The Regime is weaker and more constrained with the U.S. out of the JCPOA.

Critics argue that the Iran Deal was not meant to curb Iran’s regional destabilizing activities, and that is was simply an arms control agreement. The problem with that argument is Iran saw the Iran Deal as a vehicle to protect its nuclear program, reap the economic benefits from a deal, but more importantly, reactivate its destabilizing terror logistics and operations networks. The JCPOA giveaways in Annex II enabled, fueled, and allowed the regime to accelerate its destabilizing activities.

Annex II delisted banks that fund terrorism, Annex II delisted shipping lines that moved weapons to terrorist organizations, Annex II delisted Qassem Soleimani and other individuals that train, arm, and direct terrorist groups and build new terrorist organizations. Critics of the JCPOA were not surprised to see the regime step up its destabilizing activities, all you had to do was look at what the regime asked for and received in Annex II.

The regime saw the Iran Deal as a way to fuel its regional destabilizing strategy, become an economic powerhouse, become the premiere conventional military threat in the Middle East, and at the end of the sunset clauses – become a weaponized nuclear power. All the while waiting to call the U.S. in breach of the Iran Deal for countering any of the regime’s malign activity.

Critics argue that walking away from the Iran Deal will cause Iran to increase its destabilizing activities and rush to a bomb. Not only did the regime increase its activities under the protections of the Iran Deal, it expanded its reach into Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen, and cemented its reach and influence in Iraq and Syria.

Iran’s destabilizing activities accelerated under the protections of the JCPOA.

Since the implementation of the JCPOA, the IRGC-QF has amassed upwards of 50,000 militia members in Syria from Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. All there at the direction of the IRGCQF to shore up Assad and threaten the U.S. and Israel. 

We saw increased lethal and financial aid to Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, and as Representative Brad Sherman said, “those are just the ones that begin with the letter H.” Iran increased Hezbollah’s capability to target Israel with more advanced and precision guided rockets and missiles.

Since the implementation of the JCPOA, the IRGC-QF and Lebanese Hezbollah have introduced lethal capabilities to the Houthis in Yemen that threaten international shipping lanes and Saudi Arabia with missile and rocket attacks.

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Read the full testimony below.

Attachment: