The American people have a right to know the truth about the Iran nuclear agreement, and as a member of Congress, I have a responsibility to tell you the truth.

Never before in history has the world faced such a grave and ominous threat.  This is not just about Israel.  Nor is it just about America.  A nuclear Iran is a threat to every person in the world. 

President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran is a dramatic shift from current U.S. policy in the Middle East.  For decades, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the White House have imposed penalties on the Iranian government for financing terrorism.  This deal marks a milestone in U.S. foreign policy where our government has signaled it will no longer punish Iranian banks that send money to terrorist organizations.  In agreeing to the terms of this deal, President Obama has reversed years of policy that prevented the financial growth of banks that fund terrorists and insurgent activities.

What should we expect in the future from a nuclear-armed country which still chants “Death to America”? Do they mean it? Is there any reason not to believe their threats given Iran’s significant sponsorship of terrorism for the last thirty-five years?

As we consider the consequences of a failed agreement, does anyone really believe today that Iran has earned the right to be trusted?  Can we really assume that this agreement is verifiable, enforceable, and accountable?  My own meetings with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna offered no assurance, particularly with the two secret side agreements between the IAEA and Iran which include self-inspections.

As I travel throughout the Middle East meeting with Heads of State, I hear a collective concern regarding their neighbor, Iran, whom they know better than anyone.  The reality is clear to our partners in the Middle East:  Iran will be in possession of over $100 billion in repatriated oil profits, some of which will be distributed to their terrorist surrogates through the 46 Iranian banks which will now be integrated into the world financial system. 

As chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Committee Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, I have worked closely with the U.S. Treasury and our allies in Europe and the Middle East to ensure effective collaboration to counter terrorism financing.  Moreover, I will continue to work on the Financial Services Committee to ensure that international banks which support terrorism will be punished.

Next month, I will host the third in a series of forums with Members of Parliament from across Europe, where we will discuss joint efforts to target terrorism financing, along with working on Intelligence and cybersecurity issues.

We are facing a Hitler with nuclear arms.  Iran has stated their goal of wiping Israel off the map, and now we have enabled Iranian development of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching America. 

What should we expect in the future from a nuclear-armed country which still chants “Death to America”?  Do they mean it?  Is there any reason not to believe their threats given Iran’s significant sponsorship of terrorism for the last thirty-five years?

America defeated the Soviet Union without firing a shot, despite their vast arsenal of nuclear weapons, because we were strident in meaningful economic sanctions, building our military, and sustained communication through Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, including partnering with Pope John Paul II and others in a strong message of human rights. 

Today, where are our similar efforts to bring regime change to Iran?  In June, I spoke at a pro-Iranian democracy rally in Paris, which attracted 100,000 people and leaders from throughout the world.  Yet there was no representative of President Obama’s Administration.  Where were we in 2009, when students took to the street in Iran to protest a rigged election?  We were silent! 

The vote we take this week in Congress could have the most consequential impact of any vote in this generation.  May God help us have the foresight, wisdom, and conviction to ensure the safety and security of America . . . and the world.

Republican Robert Pittenger represents North Carolina's 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Vice Chairman of the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, and is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.