Today Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), a senior House Democrat, issued the following statement in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear program.
"Keeping Americans safe must be the first priority of Congress and a nuclear-armed Iran poses a grave threat to the United States, Israel, and countries around the world. Since this agreement was submitted to Congress, I have carefully reviewed the details, attended classified briefings with White House and State Department officials, met with nuclear experts, and heard from constituents -- both those who are in favor of and opposed to the agreement. Above all else, this deal must be judged on its merits and whether it is the strongest available option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I firmly believe that it is.
"With a strong set of comprehensive restrictions, this agreement will take the clear and concrete steps needed to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The diplomatic solution before us is not perfect, but it provides the robust framework we need to monitor Iran's nuclear program and ensure that it remains peaceful. This agreement would establish the most intrusive inspections regime ever negotiated. And if Iran cheats, this agreement ensures that the consequences will be severe and that the United States and our allies will have the power to re-impose sanctions.
"One thing that must be clear is that this agreement looks at Iran with clear eyes and does not underestimate the danger it poses to the region and global security. The agreement will keep in place current sanctions for Iran's support of terrorism and human rights abuses. And it is precisely because the Iran regime poses such a danger that preventing them from obtaining a nuclear weapon is so important.
"Some have suggested that this agreement should include the release of American political prisoners currently held in Iran, but that would be the wrong approach. These innocent Americans should be released by Iran unilaterally and should not be treated as bargaining chips. Such an approach would only give Iran and other countries an incentive to capture other Americans traveling abroad. I will continue to work with my House colleagues and the Administration for the release of these Americans and we will not rest until they are home with their families.
"Some opponents claim this deal will only delay when Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon. The truth is that by enacting this deal, we will be able to ensure that Iran will be much further away from a weapon than they are now. Closing all pathways for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon for the next 10 to 15 years is a far superior choice to simply walking away from this deal and accepting the status quo of no limits on Iran's nuclear program.
"In fact, the end of some commitments in 10 to15 years will not re-open the door to an Iranian nuclear weapon and additional tools that the deal gives us will endure for 20 or 25 years. And under the requirements of this agreement, a range of inspections and monitoring of nuclear-related materials have no end date. Simply put, this deal makes a permanent prohibition on Iran having a nuclear weapons program and establishes a permanent inspections regime that goes beyond any previous inspections regime ever in place in Iran.
"The bottom line is that this agreement keeps all options on the table and takes the strong steps needed to neutralize Iran's nuclear program while preventing the unthinkable alternative of yet another war in the Middle East. By embracing the power of American diplomacy, this agreement will disable Iran's nuclear program and gives the United States and our allies the tools we need to hold them accountable for years to come.
"With this agreement, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and significantly strengthen global security. When this agreement comes before Congress I will support it because it will help to keep Americans safe. I urge my colleagues to join me."