August 11, 2015

Rep. Mark Takano Announces Support of Iran Deal

Says Agreement Will Improve the Security of the United States, Block Iran’s Path to Nuclear Weapons

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Washington DC – Rep. Mark Takano released the following statement in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated by a coalition led by the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran:

“In the weeks since the announcement of the deal among the United States, our European allies, China, Russia, and Iran, I have closely reviewed and considered the details of the agreement. The dangers of nuclear weapons have long weighed heavily upon my mind. I have family members who suffered and died in the nuclear blasts unleashed by the United States against Japan at the end of World War II. Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weaponry is more than sound policy; it is a moral imperative.

“To fully understand the ramifications of the agreement with Iran, I have met with experts on nuclear non-proliferation and the Middle East, the Administration, and organizations that both support and oppose the deal. I have also met with community leaders, and read the mail sent to my office by constituents. After careful consideration, I believe that the agreement reached by the P5+1 and Iran represents our best opportunity to thwart Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“Today, Iran is only a few months away from producing enough fissile material to power a nuclear bomb. Years of antagonism have not stopped the advancement of Tehran’s nuclear program, but our firm use of crippling international sanctions helped us bring Iran to the negotiating table and lay the groundwork for the deal presently before us. This agreement would establish permanent restrictions through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran ever developing nuclear weapons. It would also put in place restrictions that would extend Iran’s ‘breakout time’ to a bomb from two months to a full year, allowing more than enough time for the United States to respond to an Iranian violation of the deal.

“Under the deal, the IAEA will have unprecedented access to scrutinize Iran’s work with nuclear materials and verify that it has no military dimensions. Iran’s ability to enrich uranium will be limited to levels suitable only for peaceful applications, and the vast majority of its present stockpile of enriched uranium will be shipped out of country. Iran’s most advanced centrifuges will be taken off line. Further, Tehran’s efforts to build a reactor capable of creating weapons-grade plutonium will be dismantled and the Arak facility will be converted into a research lab incapable of producing fissile material.

“The deal is not perfect. No diplomatic endeavor ever results in an agreement wherein one side or the other gets everything it hoped for. Iran has broken previous agreements, and we should be under no illusion that this deal means that they are now trustworthy or our friends. This agreement isn’t based on trust; it is based on strict oversight. As this process moves forward, the President and his successors must work with Russia, China, our European allies, and the IAEA to hold Iran accountable to this agreement and its particulars. Diplomacy is preferable to war, but it requires constant vigilance. I will continue to press the Administration to keep Congress updated on Iran’s compliance.

“Should Iran fail to live up to its obligations, the United States retains the option of quickly re-imposing the crushing sanctions that made Tehran willing to negotiate. Further, if the agreement were to break down completely, the United States and its allies would still have just as much ability to strike directly at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure as we do today, and Iran would have a longer breakout time than before the deal. If Iran were to scuttle this deal after implementation, it would face even greater international isolation and threat of a military solution than it does today.

“Iran will never be welcomed into the community of nations until it forgoes not only its nuclear ambitions, but also its regionally destabilizing actions and support of terrorist networks in Israel, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. This agreement does not address those concerns. It is not a cure-all for our problems with Tehran’s toxic influence in the Middle East. However, it also does not proscribe our ability to use sanctions and other tools at our disposal to push back against Iran’s illegal support of terrorism abroad. Nor could the prospect of this deal, or any other, cause my support for the security of Israel to waver in the slightest. By taking the possibility of a nuclear Iran off the table for more than a decade, this deal will make it possible for the United States to better support Israel and our other regional allies in the effort to contain and, eventually, end Iran’s support of terrorism. This agreement will make Israel safer, the region more stable, and the United States more secure.

“I am well aware that this may be the most important issue I ever face during my time representing the people of the Inland Empire in Congress. I believe that our nation is safer with this deal than without it, and I will oppose any effort in Congress to block its enactment.”