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Group of Iraq War veterans opposes Iran nuclear deal

Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett, Retired. (Veterans Against The Deal)
Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett, Retired. (Veterans Against The Deal)
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A group of Iraq War veterans is taking on President Obama's Iran nuclear deal, challenging the president's argument that those who are against this deal are in favor of war.

These veterans are spending $1 million on an ad campaign to fight the Iran agreement. The ad starts with medically retired Staff Sergeant Bartlett, who says he was blown up by an Iranian bomb.

This TV ad is running in several states where lawmakers are undecided on the president’s Iran agreement. The deal calls for Iran tamping down its nuclear program. If the terrorist nation does, the U.S. agrees to ease sanctions which will free up to $100 billion of frozen Iranian assets. The ad is funded by Veterans Against The Deal (VATD).

Michael Pregent is VATD’s executive director.

“As military veterans, we want Congressmen and Senators to know that we know this enemy. We know what it has done, and we know what it is doing, and we know what it will do with more funding,” he said.

The ad continues with Bartlett discussing what would happen if Iran gets its hands on $100 billion.

“A vote for this deal means more money for Iranian terrorism,” says Bartlett. “What do you think they’re going to do when they get more money?”

Top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani is highlighted in the ad, whom Pregent says helped Shiite militias in Iraq kill U.S. soldiers and came to the rescue of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

“He’s [Soleimani] able to roam around the Middle East, Africa, Russia and China,” says Pregent. “He’s already in violations of sanctions.”

But one supporter of the deal says it should be examined on its own merits, no matter how formidable a potential enemy is. He cites the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and the long-standing animosity between the two superpowers.

“And yet we negotiated arms control,” says Alan Elsner, spokesperson for J Street, a nonprofit advocacy group. “We negotiated nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. That made us safer."

Still, the Iranian deal has an uphill battle. A Monmouth University poll this week shows 61 percent of Americans do not trust Iran at all to abide by this deal.

Pregent says his group will continue to raise money to get the word out if that’s what it takes to kill the deal.

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Meantime, as most lawmakers are home during the August break, many say they are hearing what constituents have to say about the Iran nuclear deal. They’ll be voting this September whether to give the agreement a thumbs-up or try to kill it.

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