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U.S. Rep Gregory W. Meeks Statement in Support of the Iran Nuclear Deal

August 31, 2015
Press Release

U.S. Rep Gregory W. Meeks Statement in Support of the Iran Nuclear Deal

NEW YORK, NY- Congressman Gregory Meeks released the following statement in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:

“After close examination, thorough consultation, and in-depth study, I have decided to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because it is in the security interest of the United States, Israel, and the global community.  To make this determination I read the agreement and related classified material, consulted with national security officials and experts in a broad range of areas, talked to our allies, heard from constituents who oppose and support the deal, and extensively weighed the pros and cons.  Ultimately, I reached the conclusion that this is the best option we have to verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. 

“This is not a perfect deal. There has never been a perfect deal or one that gives the parties to it everything they want.  Despite the risks, the agreement has the support of the United Nations Security Council and most countries world-wide.  Critically, key partners in the Middle East region and most of our allies consider the JCPOA an important next step after years of coordinated sanctions and diplomatic efforts to push Iran to the negotiating table.   

“In my review, I placed great importance on the verification and inspection process.  That is why I recently traveled to Vienna to meet directly with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials about the deal and its veracity.  I walked away convinced that it would be reckless to reject the unprecedented monitoring, inspection, and verification provisions in the JCPOA. I agree with more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors from both parties who issued a public letter that begins. “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”  A number of former Israeli military and intelligence officials; five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel, Democrat and Republican; over 60 leading national security officials from both parties, have made similar public statements.

“If this plan fails because Iran violates the deal, sanctions will snap back into place.  If it succeeds, Iran’s break out time to acquire a nuclear weapon would be significantly extended from the current two to three months to at least one year (and this would be 10 years from now at the earliest). Its stockpile of enriched uranium would be reduced by ninety eight percent, and there would be more information about Iran’s program than ever before.

“If Congress rejects the JCPOA, the alternatives would do far less, if anything at all, to change Iranian nuclear and weaponization pursuits.  Likewise, doing nothing would detrimentally leave Iran on track to reach nuclear capability.  Rejecting the plan and resorting to unilateral sanctions would prove as futile as it has in the past and put the U.S. severely out of sync with most of our important global partners, including Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the European Union.  Relying on military action would not curb Iran’s ambitions or erase its technical knowledge.  Instead, I agree with defense experts who suggest that such action would inevitably propel us into another costly and unpredictable Middle East military conflict and further destabilize the region, yet do far less than the deal can to slow or stop Iran’s progress.  

“Critics assert that a better deal can be had, but I cannot in good conscience sacrifice a reasonable plan for want of an unspecified or unattainable perfect plan.  Moreover, I cannot reject this deal because there are other serious and consequential issues with Iran that it does not address, such as its sponsorship of terrorism.  We made no such demands on the Soviet Union during Strategic Arms Limitation Talks which took place in the midst of the Vietnam War that North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front waged against us with Soviet-made arms.  Yet, Strategic Arms Limitation and Strategic Arms Reduction agreements lessened the danger of nuclear confrontation.

“In fact, based on historical precedent, I believe strongly that if Iran upholds its binding commitments and takes necessary steps to engage the international community, the U.S. and our partners would have greater latitude to address outstanding concerns.  Conversely, failure to approve the JCPOA would hurt any chances of peacefully resolving the remaining issues, and Iran would simply resume its nuclear program.       

“Iran as a nuclear threshold state is one of the most pressing ongoing global security threats we face, and Congress will soon have the opportunity to address this threat in a comprehensive diplomatic and unified way with most of our allies, supported by world public opinion and an overwhelming majority of nations.  History will record this as one of the most pivotal votes of our time.  I believe rejecting this deal would be a consequential and confounding mistake, and a return to the status quo or worse.  That is a risk I am unwilling to take.”