The next chapter is tracking six focus issues during the current presidential election process. TNC has summarized the positions of the presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now that the candidates have selected their running mates, TNC is looking at the positions of Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence on these issues.
On the Agreement with Iran:
Do you support the nuclear agreement with Iran?
TNC’s take: The P5+1 agreement with Iran on nuclear development is a significant diplomatic overture that history may judge to be a major turning point for the better in the Middle East. The agreement may provide a bridge of common ground that will make further diplomatic achievements in the region possible.
Mike Pence said that the agreement that curtailed Iran’s nuclear development was a “bad deal,” and he vowed to maintain Indiana’s state-level sanctions against Iran. Pence was one of the fifteen governors who expressed opposition to the agreement in a letter to President Obama. The governors criticized the agreement because it did not “guarantee that Iran’s drive toward obtaining a nuclear weapon will be halted or even slowed.” Lifting the federal sanctions, the letter claimed, “will only result in Iran having more money available to fund terrorist groups and attacks.” In a separate letter to the Indiana Congressional delegation, Pence said that the agreement would not make the United States or “our most cherished ally, Isreal” safer.
Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, supported the agreement with Iran. On the floor of the Senate, Kaine described the agreement as “a dramatic improvement over the status quo in improving global security.” He said that the agreement would disable Iran’s nuclear weapons program “for many years through peaceful diplomatic means.” Kaine pointed out that years of international economic sanctions against Iran did not stop Iran’s nuclear program.
In the agreement, Iran promised that “under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” While the agreement curtails Iran’s technical capabilities to develop a nuclear weapon—through a dramatic reduction in Iran’s uranium stockpiles, restrictions on the enrichment level of the remaining stockpile, reduction in the number centrifuges and other measures—if Iran breaks its promise not to develop a nuclear weapon, economic sanctions may be reimposed and the U.S. and its allies maintain the option to take military action against Iran.
After a 60-day congressional review period that ended in September 2015, a Republican resolution to reject the nuclear agreement was defeated in the Senate and the agreement was allowed to go into effect.
The vice-presidential candidates’ views on the other focus issues: