The super PAC working to defend the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has an advertisement claiming that Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, is “putting Iran on a path to get nuclear weapons” by supporting the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
The Congressional Leadership Fund ad also asserts that the deal, which Bera supported, gives Iran billions of dollars that can be used to support terrorism. Following is the text of the ad and an analysis:
Iran. They chant “Death to America.”
Sponsor terrorism. Help kill our troops.
Yet Ami Bera voted for the dangerous deal putting Iran on a path to get nuclear weapons.
And giving them billions, money they can use to fund terrorism.
Ami Bera supports the dangerous Iran deal.
While Iran keeps building weapons,
Ami Bera puts us at risk.
The advertisement’s claim that Bera voted for a “deal putting Iran on a path to get nuclear weapons” is misleading.
Bera supported the 2015 deal reached between Iran and six world powers – the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France and China – which promised to ease economic sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to inspections and restrictions on its nuclear technology.
The agreement called for Iran to give up 97 percent of its enriched uranium and most of its centrifuges. The terms of the deal forbid Iran from enriching enough uranium to build a bomb for 15 years, and the country is supposed to permanently swear off pursuing nuclear weaponry.
Before the agreement was reached, the U.S. estimated that Iran was just two or three months away from being able to produce a nuclear weapon. It’s now estimated that if Iran attempts to pursue a nuclear weapon under the deal’s restrictions that “breakout time” would be at least a year.
A document obtained by The Associated Press suggests the breakout time could be reduced to six months in 2027. Iran, though, so far appears to be living up to its end of the nuclear deal.
The anti-Bera advertisement also says the deal gives Iran billions of dollars it can use to support terrorism. That statement is essentially accurate. The Treasury Department has indicated that $50 billion in Iranian-owned assets is to be unfrozen as a result of the nuclear deal.
It’s not clear what portion of that money has been released, and there’s no evidence it has gone to fund terror groups. But even Secretary of State John Kerry has acknowledged that some of the money could end up with Iranian-backed groups that are considered to be terrorist.
Iran, meanwhile, has continued missile tests, ignoring a United Nations resolution that “called upon” it to stop. The anti-Bera ad makes a reference to this with an image of a missile launch.
The deal signed by the Obama administration, however, covered nuclear activity, not ballistic missile tests.
The claim made in the Republican super PAC’s advertisement that Bera is placing America at risk because he voted for a deal “putting Iran on a path to get nuclear weapons” is a stretch.
Regardless of whether the U.S. might have won more concessions in negotiations with the Iranians, the terms of the deal should block Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon for at least a decade.
PoliGRAPH is The Bee’s political fact checker, rating campaign advertisements and candidate claims as True, Iffy or False.
Sean Cockerham: 202-383-6016, @seancockerham