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The Iran Nuclear Agreement

I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz for taking a tremendous step towards addressing one of the biggest international security threats – a nuclear-armed Iran. The signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) regarding Iran’s nuclear program is truly a historic moment, which I hope will serve as an important step towards sustained peace in the Middle East region. I would also like to echo the sentiments of Prime Minister Netanyahu by saying that although we may differ in our views about this agreement, Israel and the United States remain the closest of allies. Nothing can drive a wedge between our two nations, and we remain committed to the Israeli people’s safety and security.

Since the announcement of the JCPA, I hosted a forum on the agreement with my constituents, participated in a number of classified and unclassified briefings, and visited the White House to speak directly with the President.

Rep. Larson listens to constituents at a forum in West Hartford
Rep. Larson listens to constituents at a forum in West Hartford.

At the forum – attended by more than 200 Connecticut residents – I heard from many of my constituents about a number of concerns which I then discussed with the President and members of his Cabinet.  Repeated often was concern and outrage with the United Nations moving forward with a vote on the agreement prior to a proper review by the United States Congress.  I agree with that concern, and immediately following the forum I sent a letter to the President on the matter which can be found here.

I know many are also concerned that the ramifications of violating the agreement are currently insufficient to dissuade Iran. The snap-back of sanctions are a serious consequence, and I believe they will stop Iran from violating this deal. However, if Iran does turn its back on the JCPA and in doing so threatens the national security of the United States, the President should have Congress’s approval to utilize military action.  That is why on July 29, I introduced legislation that would provide that authority. 

After carefully considering the concerns of my constituents on both sides of this issue — as well as the information I have received through the Congressional Briefing process and the dynamics at play in the Middle East — I have decided to support the agreement.  While imperfect, this deal is our best chance at diplomatically preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Never before have we been able to bring such a diverse array of world powers together as the P5+1, and a rejection of the agreement at this time would have a disastrous impact in our standing in the world.  To walk away would be seen by the world as the United States’ rejection of diplomacy and the work of our partners—significantly increasing the chances of Iran developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon.

It should be clear to all, however, that this agreement does not diminish our need for vigilance as we continue to confront Iran on other issues. Much like an arms control agreement, the announced deal is focused on ensuring Iran will no longer have the ability to acquire a nuclear weapon. Iran still retains a troubling human rights record and remains a major destabilizing force in the region, and we must continue to press for wider reforms.