Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) will vote against the Resolution of Disapproval of the nuclear pact negotiated by the White House on behalf of the U.S., France, Russia, China, the U.K., and Germany with Iran. Senator Schumer came out against it but Congressmember Nadler, after much deliberation, also supports the agreement in which international sanctions against Iran are lifted in exchange for a 15-year freeze on Iranian development of nuclear weapons.
Congressmember Nadler aptly described the agreement as not one allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons but rather one that puts on hold all Iranian nuclear weapons programs.
The rejection of the pact which Republican politicians seek would undermine the credibility of the leadership of the United States in the free world. It would permit an Iranian nuclear weapon program and be a direct threat to our allies in the Middle East and Europe.
This isn’t the best deal but it is a deal reached without bloodshed and without violating international law. It represents the best plan to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Under the pact, a violation would give the United States justification to re-impose sanctions or take military action.
The good: Iran is required to redesign the heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak so that it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium. This and other provisions ensure Iran will not be able to restart a weapons program for at least one year. It is a window for the coalition to take action. The “snapback” provision in the pact provides for unilateral re-imposition of sanctions if the United States discovers a violation unless the U.N. Security Council votes to maintain current sanctions despite the discovery of a violation.
The pact also expressly states that “under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” This prohibition has no expiration date. President Obama stated that “when it comes to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, all options are and will remain on the table.”
The bad: There are weaknesses in inspection procedures but in the age of high tech surveillance a breach by Iran should be discovered independently by coalition nations and such a breach would still be a violation of the pact. The coalition nations must utilize the full extent of intelligence operations to augment regular inspections.
The pact calls for monitoring of the entire nuclear supply chain from mining to final processing of weapons grade plutonium. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will inspect and have full access to Iranian nuclear locations but a lack of “anytime-anywhere” inspections at declared and undeclared sites is the most troubling aspect of the pact. We need to give statecraft an opportunity to succeed.
In New York City, despite denials of a change in community policing priorities, it seems that police officers are more likely to hand out apology cards than to make arrests for serious and quality-of- life crimes.
Five people were shot in Red Hook Monday last month. City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca said that this strengthens his resolve to fight violent crime in his district. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling for communities to get involved to end the gun violence. Surprisingly, Mayor de Blasio has characterized concern over violent crime as “hysteria.”
Meanwhile, statistics for the 76th Precinct, (Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Red Hook) reflect an increase in shootings from three in 2014 to seven in 2015. Violent crime is spiking up in areas of the city and it seems as if some elected officials would prefer to have less attention paid to the situation. Murder is up nearly 11 percent this year citywide and there is a concern that some crimes go unreported so not to tarnish the sterling statistics distributed by City Hall.
I was panhandled on Fifth Avenue on a Saturday evening while walking into a restaurant. I see street people sleeping in doorways along Third Avenue. I see more car windows with duct tape keeping the elements at bay which was a disturbing badge of courage from the ‘80s.
How about a little protection for the people who get up in the morning, go to work, pay taxes, talk to the kids during dinner and just want an peaceful community for the effort? I wonder if there is a place for them in our post “Tale of Two Cities” city?