By Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera in The Sun Sentinel:
Dealings with Cuba and Iran reveal a White House in denial
As the son of a Cuban father and a Jewish mother, my life has been formed by the histories and experiences of my parents and their parents.
The stories of loss and oppression as Castro destroyed a prosperous Cuba are more recent with my Cuban family, but the retelling of a longer history of hardships, oppression, sacrifice and loss at gatherings with my Jewish family and in synagogue have made recent foreign-policy decisions of this administration strike a deep and extremely troubling chord in me.
In normalizing relations with Cuba, the Obama administration is ignoring the history of the last 60 years, renewing relations with a government that epitomizes the word dictatorship and is responsible for the wholesale confiscation of life, liberty and happiness of the Cuban people.
It is this willful blindness to history and past behavior that makes me look at the administration's Iran deal with the deepest concern. This president is ignoring Iran's history ... and his own.
We have heard repeatedly from the president and numerous members of his administration that no deal is better than a bad deal.
After studying the deal and speaking with numerous experts, it is abundantly clear the agreement with Iran is a bad deal and will bring us closer to war, not further as many supporters of the deal contend.
I am joined in my opposition to this deal by leaders from both political parties and more importantly, by the vast majority of Floridians and the American people.
I believe the president's Iran deal may stand as one of the most dangerous and consequential diplomatic mistakes of the last or next 100 years. Rather than eliminate the threat of nuclear Iran this deal guarantees the threat of a nuclear Iran. Rather than treat Israel as an ally in this process, President Obama has treated them as the hostile power, and Iran as a nation to be accommodated at every turn.
Previous limits on Iran's economy will be removed, giving them new economic resources by way of freeing previously restricted cash, access to new markets around the world for their conventional business enterprises and the sale of oil. I fear hundreds of billions of dollars of new income will allow Iran to not only expand their existing enterprises of extremism throughout the Middle East, but with their eventual nuclear capability could guarantee that Iran grows at the least to a regional hegemon.
As if the nuclear component of the Iran deal was not bad enough, the removal of sanctions against leaders of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp as well as the removal of limits on the Iranians' ability to import and export weapons guarantees that Iran's current support of violent terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas and for the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria will greatly expand.
The president is clearly bent on accommodating an extremist regime that screams it's hatred for American values, American lives and American interests at every point.
This should not be a partisan issue; the Iranians don't chant death to Republicans or Democrats; they chant death to America. The Iranians are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers. When they call for death to America, they mean it.
America should pursue a better deal, one that would truly end the Iranians' quest for a nuclear weapon without rewarding a regime whose hands are awash in American and Israeli blood.
Congress must reject this deal, as they have in the past over 200 times, and ask the negotiators to return to the table.
Responsible American leaders from both parties who value the security of the United States, Israel, the region and the world should reject this dangerous concession to a nuclear Iran.
I look forward to the day when my wife and I can take our daughters to visit the Jewish homeland, and I pray that day can come without Israel living under the terrible shadow of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Carlos Lopez-Cantera is the lieutenant governor of Florida and a candidate for U.S. Senate.
at 8:40 PM Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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