NEW HAVEN, CT—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today announced her support for the Iran nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):

“Since the first sanctions were imposed on Iran in 2005, I have been a supporter of tough economic measures as a means to bring Iran to the negotiating table. The joint effort to cut Iran off from global financial markets, coordinated by the United States and supported by the international community, was what made those sanctions so successful. However, sanctions alone will not stop Iran from moving toward the development of a nuclear weapon.
 
“On July 14th of this year, the United States and Iran, along with France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China (P5+1) produced the JCPOA. We have now entered a 60-day review period under which Members of Congress can analyze the text and weigh the costs. After strenuous review of the agreement and all of its annexes, as well as Congressional briefings, consultation with foreign affairs experts, and extensive conversations with my constituents, I have concluded that the best option for preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is to support the agreement.
 
“Reaching this agreement is a historic diplomatic accomplishment. Through the JCPOA, the U.S. and our international partners will disarm Iran’s nuclear weapons program and maintain oversight.  In an August 8th letter to President Obama, 29 of the nation’s leading scientist, including Nobel laureates, highlighted that the agreement ‘is a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides basis for future initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.’

“Throughout the negotiations, I have insisted that the final agreement contain the highest standards to hold Iran accountable, allow for rigorous international inspections, and ensure that Iran will not have access to nuclear weapons. This agreement does that and is our best available alternative to military action. In 2007, I introduced a resolution stating that the President must receive approval from Congress before taking military action against Iran or any other country. That is because I fundamentally believe that war is not the best option for arms control in the region. We have been down that path for 15 years and we have seen the grave consequences of not allowing diplomatic efforts to move forward.   Learning from that harrowing experience, we must pursue all alternatives before war.  
 
“Under the agreement, Iran is bound ‘under no circumstances [to] ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.’ The number of active centrifuges in Iran will be reduced by two thirds; Iran’s uranium stockpile will be reduced by 97 percent; the Arak heavy water reactor will be reconfigured so that it cannot produce weapons grade plutonium; and international inspectors will have full access to nuclear facilities, as well as the entire uranium supply chain, at any time.

“Without the JCPOA in place, the Iranian nuclear program will face none of the oversight that this agreement seeks to put in place. The expanded presence of international inspectors in Iran will give us greater insight into the regime’s behaviors and allow us to monitor them closely. Importantly, the agreement includes the most intrusive inspection regime of any nonproliferation agreement in American history. The number of international inspectors in Iran will triple.
 
“Several critics of the agreement have underscored that it does not hold the regime accountable for its support of terrorism and human rights violations. Iran is indeed dangerous, and the current regime is a real threat to Israel, the United States, and peace and security throughout the Middle East. Extremists within Iran’s government deny the Holocaust and have called for Israel’s destruction. The country is the leading sponsor of terrorism globally, and has made clear its intent to continue to act as a disruptive force in the region. That is precisely why a nuclear-armed Iran is absolutely unacceptable. And again, this agreement provides the best path to prevent Iranian development of nuclear weapons.
 
“It is true that Iran may try to cheat. But the fact is that we are much more likely to catch them cheating with this agreement in place, because of the transparency and verification measures it imposes. If Iran violates the deal, we are able to re-impose sanctions immediately and in those circumstances we would have the best argument for others to join us. Under the snapback provisions, we can re-impose UN sanctions unilaterally.
 
“I understand the sincere concern of those who say that we should be able to return to the negotiating table and get a better deal. But if we walk away from the negotiated deal, which has the full support of the international community, we risk going it alone. Without the backing of the other nations that made the sanctions regime so successful, whatever sanctions we re-impose would be ineffective.  
 
“Some have argued that we are better off without the agreement altogether and that we should not negotiate with Iran. While any international agreement requires compromise, the question before us now is: What level of risk are we willing to accept?  If we walk away today, Iran will no doubt restart its weapons development program. It would be closer to a nuclear bomb than ever, making the inevitability of an armed intervention even more immediate. The only other realistic path available to immediately preventing the development of nuclear weapons in Iran would be through direct military engagement. We have been down the road of engaging in war in the Middle East, and we know that it is never as simple as bombing a few key military installations.
 
“Moreover, we should not walk away from a diplomatic solution without first allowing it to work. If, at the end of the day, Iran does decide to pursue nuclear arms, then the deal is broken and we will have to consider military options anyway. But we should not rush toward a military confrontation.
 
“The full weight of the international community is behind this deal. To walk away from it would leave the United States with few realistic options for limiting Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. If we choose to abandon the international community, we risk jeopardizing the legitimacy of any potential military action that we may be forced to take against the Iranian regime in the future. I believe that diplomacy, with the support of the broad international coalition that backs this agreement, is the best option moving forward. The ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach that pervaded American actions in the Middle East during the first few years of this century proved disastrous for America’s global standing. Indeed, it played a role in creating the dangerously unstable Middle Eastern environment that exists today.

“This diplomatic approach to arms control is not without precedent. President John F. Kennedy negotiated a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union in the height of the Cold War. That deal, too, did not aim to check all the power of our existential enemy; however, it did make the world safer. Similarly, President Lyndon Johnson initiated the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) with the Soviet Union. This resulted in limitations on Soviet access to intercontinental ballistic missiles, and gave the United States unprecedented access to a closed society. Likewise, the agreement before us today is not designed to change Iran’s regime or decimate its economy; instead, it is focused on prohibiting an aggressive regime from developing a nuclear weapon. Much like our previous agreements with the Soviet Union, this agreement with Iran will reduce the nuclear threat while also providing much more access to Iran than ever before.
 
“This agreement is not rooted in trust, but in our ability to verify compliance.  For these reasons I support the efforts of Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz to secure this agreement, which I believe meets the goal of our negotiations to deny a dangerous Iranian regime access to a nuclear weapon.”


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