It is not only the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that needs to be parsed carefully – we all know about that, at this point. “Snap-back” does not mean actually “snapping,” it will, if anything, be more like lumbering, and “immediate, 24/7 inspections” sometimes means inspections after 24 hours times 24 days.
The statements uttered about the Nuclear Iran deal by congressionally elected representatives can be almost as tricky.
For example, California Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA-30) issued a press release on July 14, the day the JCPOA was announced. Sherman referred to the Nuclear Iran deal in pretty dismissive language, calling it “the good, the bad and the ugly.” But it wasn’t until Friday, Aug. 7, that Sherman conclusively stated he would vote against the JCPOA when it comes before Congress in September.
The latest example of this equivocal language arose when Nebraska’s Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE-2) spoke about the Agreement. The freshman Congressman sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the subcommittees on Emerging Threats and Capabilities and on Strategic Forces.
Ashford returned from an American Israel Public Affairs Committee trip to Israel earlier this week, and immediately was quoted in several Omaha papers as opposing the Iran deal. In fact, he does oppose the Iran deal, saying it “is not good enough” and that it is “not the right deal at this time.”
Ashford spoke to several Jewish groups as well as to news reporters after returning from the Middle East, and told them exactly that.
After speaking with political, military and intelligence officials about the deal and how it could ultimately affect security in the Middle East, Ashford told the Omaha World Herald that “the agreement, as currently constituted would unfetter Iran’s ability to spread terrorism without ultimately stopping the regime from pursuing a nuclear weapon or missiles capable of reaching the United States.”
The OWH also quoted Ashford as saying,”If that’s what we get to vote on, I’m not going to vote for it the way it is.’’
That’s when people began putting Ashford in the “voting no” column.
But there still seemed to be a little bit of space between what the Nebraska Congressman was saying and a firm commitment to vote against the Agreement.
When the JewishPress.com spoke with Ashford’s communications director, Joe Jordan, it became apparent that Ashford cannot be put in the column of solid “no” votes against the Nuclear Iran deal.
What the Congressman really wants is the opportunity to vote on a different agreement, one that has more safeguards in it. He definitely does not believe this is the best deal or even that it is the one Congress should be voting on.
But it is virtually certain that the options he prefers are not ones that will be available.
Jordan tried hard to be as clear as possible and apologized for “splitting hairs,” but ultimately the best we could agree on is that Ashford goes in the “undecided” column.
Let that be a lesson for all Nuclear Iran deal list makers.