The historic deal reached by United States and five other world powers to scale back Iran's nuclear program could set in motion a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, tells Newsmax TV.
"It basically locks in place Iran's nuclear program, so even if they fully comply with the agreement at the end of 10 years, they're only going to be one year away from having a nuclear bomb," King, a New York Republican, said on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"But they will have gotten tens of billions of dollars in cash from lifting the sanctions that can be used for … carrying out their terrorist activities all over the Middle East and quite frankly around the world, including the U.S., if they had to.
"The Arab states in the region are extremely worried about this and I can see countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States pursuing their own nuclear programs so you would have a nuclear arms race in the Middle East."
Under the deal, financial sanctions imposed by the U.S., the European Union and United Nations would be lifted. In return, Iran agrees to lengthy curbs on its nuclear program, which many believe was aiming at the building of a nuclear bomb.
King said he is disturbed by the terms of the deal that lift an arms embargo on conventional weapons after five years and a lift an embargo on intercontinental ballistic missiles after eight years.
"The thought of giving Iran ICBMs —
and apparently that's what the Russians want to do —
is to me, total insanity," King said.
"The president says that inspections will occur where necessary, when necessary. Well, that doesn't mean you get automatic rights to inspections because who decides … So if the Iranians say no, then you go to … an arbitration process, which can last up to 24 days."
King, also a member of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not yet read details of the entire agreement, but, "based on everything I've seen and heard and people I've spoken to, I would have to say I'm opposed to it.
"In fact, I'm probably more strongly opposed to it than I'm saying, only because I want to give it the benefit of the doubt until I read through all of it."
He said President Barack Obama, the driving force behind the U.S. push for the deal, "genuinely believes that if Iran is treated as a legitimate nation and is welcomed into the community of nations after 10 years, they will be acting like a responsible nation and not as an outlaw nation.
"That to me is a gamble, which makes absolutely no sense. He's hoping against hope and … [it] just makes absolutely no sense.
"And to put Americans and the world at risk based on a hope that somehow Iran is going to dramatically change itself is to me absurd."
On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham,
a South Carolina Republican, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program that the deal "is the most dangerous, irresponsible step I have ever seen in the history of watching the Middle East.... You have taken their biggest threat on the planet, who constantly chants 'Death to Israel,' and you have created a possible death sentence."
King agrees with Graham.
"This is extremely dangerous to Israel. From the time President [Barack] Obama came into office he's been hostile to Israel in reaching out to Iran. This is a logical end to that and that's wrong," King said,
Shortly after the deal was struck, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish state is not bound by the agreement and would do everything it needed to defend itself.
"As far as Israel taking action, I don't know if they feel they have the full capacity to do it at this stage because they would get no support, I assume, from the U.S., and it'd be very, very difficult," King said.
"But again, Israel has to do what it has to do to defend itself."
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