Letter to Congress: Support Iran Deal Now

by David Isenberg

Dear Senators Kaine, Warner, and Congressmen Beyer,

First, thank you in advance for taking the time to read this. Of course, that assumes you are actually reading this, and it hasn’t been sent to one of your aides for the standard, impersonal, “thank you for writing” response.

Second, I write in regard to the proposed nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), 14 July 2015).

Third, there are a few things you should know about me. Specifically, I am an honorably discharged, Navy, Vietnam era veteran. So I think a bit more about ensuring U.S. national security and the costs of wars than the average person.

I am also Jewish. So issues such as the security of Israel and U.S. responsibilities for, and obligations to, are also something I think about.

Fourth, I know a bit more about Iran than the average person, if only because I was there, on a port call before the Islamic Revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. I have sailed in the Persian Gulf and transited the Straits of Hormuz.

I remember the casualties Iran took during its subsequent war with Iraq and how chemical weapons were used against it; something the United States mostly ignored at the time. I think about what the United States would subsequently have done if it had been in an analogous situation

Fifth, I know more than the average person about the Iran nuclear program. As an analyst who has worked on international security issues for decades I have frequently worked on nuclear proliferation issues and have read extensively over the years as Iran’s nuclear program has progressed. At this point there are very few, if any, arguments about a nuclear deal with Iran that I am not familiar with.

I mention all the above to let you know that I am not some average person on the street. I believe the dangers of nuclear proliferation are real and that nations should make special efforts to prevent other countries from joining the “nuclear club.”

That said, I believe the JCPOA is the best way to do it.  All the arguments I have read against it since the agreement was announced earlier this month are either simply wrong or outright falsehoods. You might consider that most of the people making such arguments are the same people who urged the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003, which should give you pause.

Those against it are not interested in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They are against it because they want to see the current government of Iran overthrown or they do not want to give the Obama administration credit for a significant diplomatic achievement.

I rarely write my legislators. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I did so, although I am sure it has been decades, so this should give you some idea of how important this issue is to me.

To me it is quite simple. Those who oppose this agreement are simply saying that they want war. Specifically, they want the U.S. to engage yet in another unnecessary war of choice. That, of course, would be a disaster; both for the USA and the world. In short, this agreement is good for the U.S. I also believe it is also good for Israel and there are Israeli Jewish political and military leaders who would tell you the same, despite what Prime Minister Netanyahu says.

I do not know where you stand on this issue. I understand you must, as a part of your deliberation process, consider all sides. I am not against that.  But when the time comes to make a decision I believe the only rational, sane thing for you to do is to support it. As this article, by another veteran puts it. “The bottom line is pretty simple: Iran gets to continue a peaceful, civilian nuclear policy while the world gets an end to its weapons grade nuclear program.” (Shawn VanDiver, “A Veteran’s Reaction To The Iran Deal,” Task & Purpose, July 27).

Perhaps you think what does it matter what I believe. I don’t make political contributions. That is true.  So I’ll simply say this with the utmost respect. If you vote against this, and I will be watching what you do when it comes time for a vote, you can be sure I would vote against you if you choose to run for reelection.

David Isenberg

David Isenberg is an independent researcher and writer on U.S. military, foreign policy, and national and international security issues. He a senior analyst with the online geopolitical consultancy Wikistrat and is a U.S. Navy veteran. He is the author of Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq. His blog, The PMSC Observer, focuses on private military and security contracting, a subject he has testified on to Congress.



  1. DAvid ,I solute you for your conscientious letter to your congressmen.
    The deal is the best that could be achieved and it prevents iran from developing nuclear weapons ,as far as it is humanly possible. Thinking of the Iranian regime as a fanatic mindless anti-Israeli and Anti-West that wants to wipe Israel out of existence is totally wrong. Israel assassinated four Iranian atomic scientists inside Iran. Did Iran react nearly strongly enough? Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iran in the War but Iran did not retaliate in kind, though she easily could do so. The Iranian regime is much more pragmatic and aware of consequences of any adverse action against Israel and the west than some Make it out not to be . Iran should not be judged by rhetorics chanted by some of the leaders. Exaggerated rhetorics is part of Iranian Siah tradition and should not be taken literally.
    A good chance for Iran to rejoin the International community and reestablish an amiable relation withe the US and the west will certainly pay positively. Don’t look at the whole matter pessimistically.

  2. David,

    Let’s hope that Senators Kaine, Warner, and Congressmen Beyer do read and think about your article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this forum.

  3. I can see why in the desperate attempts to absolve the US from the many many many errors it has committed in mis-managing Iran to this state of really disgusting disrepair, a “Deal” now seems like a great and easy way to say, “Well, it’s the very best that we could hope to do…”.

    I will argue it is not. AT BEST what this deal does is ensure a very testy and high susceptible Cold War with Iran next. Do they have one? Are they cheating? This will ALWAYS be on the forefront of every inspection that is delayed and stalled. Hell, you don’t even know exactly what Iran has and where they are along the way now. How will you ever be able to establish a baseline to measure their compliance from?

    So this deal does NOTHING to avoid or prevent Iran from cheating. Everyone is merely saying it does. There is no real hard evidence that this deal is cheat-proof. Saying so doesn’t make it so.

    A better deal would be to be honest. The US is not being honest. To be honest one would have to simply acknowledge that the nuclear cat for better or worse, thanks to decades of US-Soviet games, is out of the bag. Because let me get this straight, it’s entirely OK for North Korea, India, Israel, and the worst harbor of the very topmost worst leadership of AlQaeda and the Taliban now, Pakestan, to have and keep and grow their nuclear arsenal daily, but Iran absolutely has to be stopped from building even one?

    That’s being really stupid. And a very bad position to even start to “Negotiate” from. Especially with Iranians who can bust your chops on that really dumb opening hand for years. No wonder that Iranian newspapers are ALL cheering how well Iran has played its hand against the unwitting US!

    So, if you want the US to be an even bigger international joke, this is a great deal for that.

    A better deal starts with honesty.

    Next, would be to immediately eliminate ALL sanctions. I am not a deal objector who likes the sanctions. The sanctions have done nothing but backfire on the US, as Iran PR-claims children with cancer could not get medication. Even though that is not true. Sanctions can be used against the US, and didn’t really stop the bad Iranian merchant class from taking it out on their own people by raising prices to cover the new higher cost of looting Iran. Fair trade with Iran would allow US investment to be made in Iranian infrastructure that hires Iranians, who earning their livelihood from American companies now, will defend the US publicly making the argument against the US with ruthless Iranian policies, idiotic. So it wouldn’t happen.

    Next, would be to demand normal Diplomatic relations with embassies in Tehran and Iran’s in DC. I would like the Iranians that chant “Death to America” to look us in the eye when they do it. What better way to have an embassy right next door to the Mosque leading the chants! Yes, it is risky. They might take hostages again like they did in 1979. Or are they actually that stupid? So far they have been smarter than us. There are a million freedom yearning Iranians living in the US. An Iranian embassy would be a great place for them to object to Iran on US soil. Their right since most of them are US citizens. Iranian-Americans might even take the Iranian embassy hostage!

    An added advantage of an embassy in Tehran allows the US to “spread the word” about how the US works, directly to the Iranian people. You know, “Let’s compare and contrast your system of government with how Democracy works in the US”. Imagine the dialogue and discussion those sexy diplomats and their (alcohol-free) cocktail parties know how to have! A full embassy would also hold free classes for Iranians to learn how civics works in the US, and what civil rights are all about. A US embassy is strategically the surest way to reform Iran.

    To undermine the failed Iranian system and enable the moderates in Iran, having a US embassy in Iran is critical.

    So to conclude: A better deal would:

    1) Acknowledge that the US cannot impose a nuclear free world now.
    2) Immediate lifting of all sanctions and opening up Iran to FAIR trade deals that benefit the Iranian people with American capital investment, not just to offer to sell them stuff for oil.
    3) Immediate demand for full Diplomatic relations.

    My deal is FAR better than the one in place now. That piece of crap really only keeps us as the historical liar we have been and proves to Iran that holding their political line against the US works! My deal absolves us from our nefarious past with Iran, and is designed to give Iran the respect and more importantly responsibility to PROVE its worthiness of being let back into the world, by allowing the US to be present inside Iran, and defend what America really stands for, inside Iran, for all Iranians to see firsthand.

    Yeah sure, it’s dangerous. So what? You want a safe job? Go work for BP in the Gulf of Mexico.

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