Cedar Park lawmaker in Middle East amid Iran deal announcement


Amid mixed reaction Tuesday in Texas and across the nation in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, State Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, found himself in the Middle East. 

In fact, Rep. Dale was touring the border between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights just hours before the president’s announcement.

“There was a lot of military present and the settlers in that area were saying that, you know, it was clear that something was different and that the military was taking precautions, which are rather unusual,” explained Dale. “Within about two hours after leaving there, the U.S. State Department issued a warning for Americans not to travel to the Golan Heights.”

Rep. Dale says the warning was probably a wise one based on what he saw there.

After safely returning to his hotel, Dale told KXAN over FaceTime, “I know that folks were preparing for any sort of reaction that may come from that. We’ve seen nothing here so far. It’s quiet — seems like a normal night in Jerusalem.”

Dale, along with other Republican lawmakers across the U.S., have made known their support of President Trump’s decision to restore sanctions against Iran.

“The nuclear deal is one that they clearly have been cheating on. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody, and so I think it’s a good call,” said Dale.

“Many people in the United States are probably very happy that the president has decided to impose sanctions on Iran. I know a lot of people — certainly friends I deal with — are not happy about the Iranian deal and are very unhappy that over $100 billion in cash was flown to Iran, which many of us believe will be funneled right back into their international terrorist activities.”

The idea behind the sanctions is to punish Iran for its nuclear program by limiting its ability to sell oil or do business overseas, thereby impacting the country’s economy.

Critics of President Trump say he made the wrong decision, arguing it could damage our country’s reputation.

U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, says the result of this decision will be violence. In a statement released Tuesday, Doggett said,

“I have no illusions about the Iranian government, but both our military experts and international inspectors verify that Iran is in full compliance. The alternative to this successful diplomacy has always been war. With American troops already on the ground in multiple Middle Eastern countries, President Trump is forcing us along a path to violent military confrontation.

President Trump recklessly imperils our security, the integrity of America’s word, and the prospects for a verifiable North Korean agreement. With 96 percent of its enriched uranium removed, two-thirds of its centrifuges dismantled, and ongoing intrusive, rigorous inspections giving us valuable insight into Iran, and an enforceable commitment continuing to deny Iran nuclear weapons, this agreement has made us much safer.  How fortunate we would be to obtain a verifiable accord with North Korea as strong as this Iran agreement that Trump so wrongfully condemns.  How ironic that Trump praises the North Korean leader as ‘very honorable,’ while refusing to join with our allies to ensure continued strict enforcement of this hard-won agreement.” 

In addition to serving on the Texas House of Representatives’ Cybersecurity Select Committee, Dale is also the National Homeland Security Taskforce Chair for a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Dale says he and other members of ALEC made the trip to Israel this week to learn more about security. 

“We’re here meeting with Israeli experts on cybersecurity and homeland security, learning about the challenges that they face on a daily basis,” said Dale. “Some of the best cyber security experts in the world are here in Israel. It’s a great way to learn about what’s happening here so that we can work together to go after these threats that impact both countries.” 

Dale’s trip, which he says he took at no taxpayer expense, will conclude on Saturday. 

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