Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Pittenger op-ed: Iran deal needs to 'be tempered with the realities of a fallen world'

Apr 9, 2015
In The News




By Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09)
Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Many of us have a common desire to work together, hoping and believing that all are well-intended and will each pull our load.  While this experience plays out in some special opportunities, perhaps each of us have had a bit of disappointment with mixed levels of commitment from our peers.

We have a genuine hope for a better world, a cleaner planet, respect for all, and free expression without retribution.  As we expand this vision of togetherness in a connected world, history has stark reminders of fleeting hopes as reality knocked at the door.  Civilizations have been replete with the evil oppression of rulers from Biblical times to present who mercilessly massacred thousands of innocent people to secure their insatiable quest for power.  We look back at King Nebuchadnezzar or the Amalekites in Biblical times, or today with Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Khmer Rouge, ISIS, or Boko Haram.

As we believe in the best in all, we should also be guided with reminders of barbaric leaders who had no respect for those with different views or challenged their authority.  Respect and fairness is intangible and like Zach Brown says, “it was all alright, now it’s all all wrong . . . you may not realize all the lies at the time, but the truth will find you.”

Iran has been the single largest state sponsor of terrorism for the last 30 years, with their footprint throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Latin America.  Iran celebrates “Death to America Day” on November 4, calls for the annihilation of Israel, and has been deceptive and lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency for decades regarding their nuclear activities.

We must not be induced by their sophisticated diplomacy as they have mastered the art of negotiations and obtained countless concessions.  The paradigm reversed from the beginning as the discussion went from “Iran should not have nuclear capabilities” to “how much nuclear capability should they have?”  They were successful in keeping long range nuclear missiles off the table and can develop and deploy them at will.  We must take seriously their past and current statements of death to the “Great Satan” America and to our ally, Israel.

While we don’t question the intent of our representatives and negotiators with Iran, there is a time, like Ronald Reagan at Reykjavik, to walk away from the table after being chided by Soviet leader Gorbachev on missile defense.  At a later date, negotiations resumed on reducing long range nuclear missiles with three accords signed by the Soviet Union.

Instead of convincing ourselves that the best deal is the current one, we should realize that our concessions to our adversary do not make him become our friend. Decisions must be balanced by our hopeful visions of a better world and a brighter future, as well as the harsh realities of a fallen world.  

Mars Bonfire, who wrote “Born to Be Wild” (recorded by Steppenwolf) depicted a free spirit community where each could seek their own adventure, rejecting the status quo of their parents.  There is a bit of “Easy Rider” in each of us that should be tempered with the realities of a fallen world, less benign than we would like to believe. 


Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., is Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, a Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, and serves as Vice Chairman of the Bipartisan Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing.