Real issue: Threat posed by nuclear Iran
By Congressman Brendan F. Boyle and Congressman Ryan A. Costello
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress. This speech and the controversy surrounding it have drawn much attention.
But as freshmen members of Congress from different political backgrounds, we believe it is important that we not lose sight of the true issue at hand: the threat posed by a nuclear Iran to our ally Israel and to the United States.
We share Israel's concerns about Iran's nuclear capabilities. On this existential matter, there is simply no room for error. We cannot allow partisan political considerations to inject themselves into this vital debate.
As we have been focusing on one speech, Iran continues to support militant groups and regimes that oppose U.S. and U.S.-allied interests. This is the same nation that funds and supports terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iranian fingerprints are all over the current upheaval in the region.
Last month, Iranian and American officials wrapped up another round of talks in the P5+1 negotiations in Geneva. It is unacceptable, if the reports are true, that the United States has taken a position of managing Iran's nuclear capabilities and breakout timeline rather than preventing nuclear-weapons capability as a whole.
Also troubling are the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its Feb. 19 report, after its inspectors regularly investigated Iran's nuclear facilities to bring transparency to its nuclear program and to ensure compliance to the Joint Plan of Action signed in November 2013. The report concluded that the IAEA "remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile."
Should Iran's intent of a nuclear weapon come to fruition, this will not only further destabilize the Middle East, but it will also pose an immediate threat to the very existence of our staunch and constant ally in the region, Israel. Additionally, the international community will be faced wb th Iran having the ability of nuclear proliferation, creating the possibility of a nuclear weapon in the wrong hands.
Shortly after today, the media firestorm over the speech will fade. But the consequences of what we do about a nuclear Iran will last far longer.
The story, as we see it, is not about who will or will not attend today's speech, or whether the invitation was or was not appropriate. Let's focus on what really matters.
U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D., Pa.) represents the 13th District, which includes most of Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia (www.boyle.house.gov).
U.S. Rep. Ryan A. Costello (R., Pa.) represents the Sixth District, which includes parts of Chester, Montgomery, Berks, and Lebanon Counties (www.costello.house.gov).