Takai Supports the Iran Nuclear Agreement


Date: Sept. 11, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs

"On July 14, after the announcement of an agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Iran nuclear program, I said that I hope in the end, the plan will meet standards that will help improve the regional security of the Middle East.

After careful consideration, I believe that this Iran Nuclear Agreement is a consensus reached -- that for now -- is the best way to prevent a nuclear Iran.

Now that the Iran Nuclear Agreement has the support to move forward, we should move past the divisive, partisan rhetoric and focus on enforcing it vigorously.

Despite flaws, Congress can continue to strengthen the agreement.

I did not come to this decision lightly. Like my colleagues, I spent months reviewing the Iran Nuclear Agreement in its entirety.

I came to this decision after hearing from constituents, experts, and officials who both support and oppose the agreement.

I have read on numerous occasions the classified sections of the agreement that are not available to the public.

I have spoken personally with the President, and met with Ambassadors from the P5+1 nations.

I traveled to Israel this summer, and heard first-hand from our nation's closest ally. While there, we all agreed that our top foreign policy priority should be stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.

I spent hours discussing the matter with Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who served as U.S. Ambassador to both Israel and Russia, and later to the United Nations.

In no way does my support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement signify my trust in Iran, nor does it signal that I do not feel strongly about preserving and enhancing the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Iran still remains a designated state sponsor of terrorism, and I have received personal and written assurances from President Obama that his Administration will forcefully work to ensure Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East will be countered.

In that same light, I will focus on working with my colleagues to codify proportional "snap-back' sanctions should Iran violate this agreement, and on new sanctions against entities that seek to undermine our allies or support terrorist efforts in the region.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement assumes a change and moderation of Iran's behavior.

The United States should be positioned to take advantage of improved relations with a moderate Iran, but live in reality of the possibility that there is no shift in Iran's broader foreign policy.

My record shows that I support increased funding for Israeli cooperative defense programs, security assistance, and intelligence sharing.

I care deeply about America's role in the world and the safety of our allies.

But I also understand the cost of war, and the consequences of not exhausting our diplomatic options before moving towards military action.

The question on whether to support the Iran Nuclear Agreement is bigger than saying "yes" or "no."

It is about putting our trust in the same system of government that makes America the greatest nation in the world.

If America is the world leader in foreign policy and diplomacy, then we must lead here with Iran.

Along with international allies in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, we can move forward in a strong alliance with common, committed goals.

If we give diplomacy a chance, and Iran violates the agreement, we will have the support and backing of the international community.

If Iran violates the agreement, the United States still has the most powerful military the world has ever seen.

This agreement in no way limits the options that the United States has for recourse should Iran cheat. It strengthens our options by providing the best intelligence on military targets we have ever had.

That is why countless military leaders support the agreement, including Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State.

If America cannot count on diplomacy here, we will not be able to do so as we continue to confront challenges throughout the 21st Century -- many of which will be on Hawaii's doorstep as we rebalance to the Asia Pacific.