Congresswoman Speier Statement on Support for Iran Nuclear Deal

August 14, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations (HASC O&I), today announced her support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to peacefully restrict Iran’s nuclear program. Speier issued the following statement:

“After careful review, I have concluded that this agreement accomplishes the difficult objective we have been working towards for years: a verifiable way to halt Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon. I did not come to this decision lightly. The implications of this decision are profound for the region, the United States, and the world. This is one of the most important votes I will ever cast. To come to this decision I attended scores of hearings, classified briefings, and met with U.S. allies, my Republican and Democratic colleagues, foreign policy experts, nongovernmental groups, the military and intelligence communities, and my constituents. I also met with the President for over two hours to discuss this deal.
“Despite years of harsh sanctions, Iran’s nuclear program continued to progress. It is clear that the only way to halt Iran’s program is military action or diplomacy. I choose diplomacy. Like all serious negotiations, compromises were made on all sides, but the final product of these negotiations is the most extensive nuclear verification scheme ever devised.

“This deal is not enforced by trust, but by an extensive verification regime. Its monitoring provisions block each of Iran’s paths to a nuclear weapon, utilizing electronic sensors and other systems to monitor every step of the enrichment process, from the uranium mines, to the mills, to the centrifuges. It would subject these facilities to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on two hours’ notice. And it would allow inspections of additional facilities within 24 days, an amount of time that is far too short to clean up the radioactive traces of an enrichment effort or to escape scrutiny using other observation methods. It also includes a ‘snap-back’ mechanism that will re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is caught cheating on the deal. The votes for this mechanism are stacked in the United States’ favor, requiring a simple majority by the U.N. Security Council.

“This deal will not solve all of our problems with Iran, nor should we expect it to. But nothing in this agreement prevents us from imposing additional sanctions unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, including those in response to their support of terrorist activities. Let me also be clear: this deal in no way undermines our unwavering support for Israel.

“By contrast, if the United States were to reject the JCPOA, it would lose international support for the sanctions that have brought Iran to the negotiating table. Iran would rush toward a nuclear weapon, while the countries in Europe and Asia that have imposed financial, trade, and oil embargoes on Iran would begin trading again. Iran would begin enriching uranium without IAEA monitoring or oversight, enabling it to acquire a weapon within 2-3 months. That would pose an existential threat to our allies in the region, many of whom would take steps to expand their own nuclear weapons programs in response. We cannot idly accept the risks that such a world would impose.

“As President Kennedy once urged, we must pursue ‘a more practical, more attainable peace, based... on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned.’ This deal, like those Kennedy pursued with the Soviet Union, is a first step away from catastrophe.

“So as he said, ‘Let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable and war need not be inevitable.”