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Congressman Jerrold Nadler Floor Statement Supporting Iran Nuclear Agreement

Washington, DC, September 10, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Resolution of Approval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Throughout this debate, there have been accusations questioning the motives and loyalties of Members in making this decision.  It is precisely because I believe this agreement is in the interests of the United States and because I have been a strong supporter of Israel my entire life that I am supporting the Iran nuclear agreement. 

This must not be a vote of politics, but of conscience.  I, for one, could not live with myself if I voted in a way that I believe would put the lives of Americans and Israelis at greater risk of an Iranian nuclear bomb. 

My priority and overriding objective in assessing this agreement has been to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.  The interests of the United States and of Israel in this respect are identical.  In addition to constituting an existential threat to Israel, a nuclear armed Iran would make Iran’s conventional threats more dangerous and difficult to counter, and would pose a greater danger to the United States, the region, and the world. 

The question before us is not whether this is a “good” deal.  The question is which of the two options available to us – supporting or rejecting the deal – is more likely to avert a nuclear armed Iran.

I have concluded, after examining all the arguments, that supporting the Iran nuclear agreement gives us the better chance of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. 

The agreement will shut Iran’s pathways to developing the necessary fissionable material for a nuclear bomb for at least 15 years.  The inspection and verification procedures against illicit plutonium production or uranium enrichment are air-tight.  The questions that have been raised about inspection procedures – the so-called “side deals”, the alleged self-inspection – do not relate to the central issue of production of fissionable material.  And without fissionable material, you cannot make a bomb.  Even after 15 years, when some of the restrictions will be eased, we would still know instantly about any attempt to make bomb materials because the inspectors and the electronic and photographic surveillance will still be there.  The options available to a future President for stopping Iran then would be better than the options available now if the deal is rejected because we would have more access, instant intelligence, and more knowledge of the Iranian program.

The argument that if we reject the JCPOA we can force Iran back to the negotiating table and obtain a “better deal” is a fantasy -- it is not a viable alternative.  The other countries that have joined us in multilateral sanctions against Iran have made it clear that they will drop their sanctions if we reject the deal, and American sanctions, by themselves, have proven ineffective in coercing Iran.

We must be very clear that, if necessary, the United States will use military force to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb.  But the odds of that being necessary are significantly less with approval of the JCPOA than with rejection of the agreement.

Going forward, it remains vital that we continue to pursue ways to further guarantee the security of the United States, of Israel, and of our other allies in the Middle East.  This will require strict and diligent oversight of the implementation of the JCPOA, maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, and countering Iran’s support for terrorism and other destabilizing conduct.  We must be ready to take action against Iran’s nefarious behavior, and Iran must know that the United States will never allow it to pose a nuclear threat to the region and the world.

Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.

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