“One of the United States’ most pressing foreign policy priorities is prevention of a nuclear-armed Iran. After studying the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), I am convinced that it is our best opportunity to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and provide for the safety of the United States, Israel and the world.
“I have not come to this decision lightly. I have spent the weeks following the President’s announcement of the JCPOA studying the deal and listening to the concerns of families at home – those who support the deal, as well as those who oppose it. Like many of my constituents, I had serious questions, and I consulted with experts on national security, sanctions and nuclear non-proliferation. To learn more, I met with President Obama, Secretaries Kerry and Moniz, and I traveled to Israel and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, government and military officials, and private citizens.
“Few decisions regarding the Middle East are simple; it is a complex place where ancient history is woven into modern day governance and crises. The security challenges are immense and shifting - with statehoods sliding into chaos and violence. In this turbulent time in the Middle East’s history, producing untold human suffering and millions of refugees, Iran casts a long, cold shadow. Its reprehensible regime sponsors terror throughout the region, systematically supporting vicious proxies that control with violence and oppression while chanting death to the United States and Israel.
“Terrifyingly, despite years of crippling multilateral sanctions, Iran is on the brink of a nuclear weapon. Estimates vary on the exact breakout period, but all agree the time is short. In evaluating the JCPOA, this is the critical fact – just how close Iran is to a nuclear bomb today. Experts in nuclear science found that the JCPOA’s dismantling of the Iranian nuclear machine and inspections and verifications will halt Iran’s nuclear weapons capability for at least 15 years. Iran’s agreement to never develop a nuclear bomb will put it under world scrutiny and non-proliferation agreements forever.
“The mechanisms for enforcing Iran’s compliance allow the United States to unilaterally snap back sanctions – sanctions that cannot be vetoed by China or Russia. Critics have said that the political will to hold Iran in compliance with the deal will falter as economic ties with Iran are re-established, and therefore, we should reject the deal and seek better terms. If, however, we walk away from years of multilateral diplomacy and coordination with world powers to contain Iran’s nuclear capabilities, we will not be able to sustain the same level of international pressure that brought Iran to the negotiating table. With weakened leverage, we are not likely to obtain more concessions from Iran nor halt its march to a nuclear bomb.
“Rather than turn our back on the agreement, we should resolve to hold Iran to strict compliance – being quick to impose consequences if Iran strays from the agreement. We need to further strengthen our support of Israel and our Gulf allies by investing in increased intelligence and interdiction of arms and funding from Iran to its terrorist proxies. We must maintain our energy security efforts in the Gulf, and support our allies’ efforts to insure against war.
“Are there risks? Absolutely. That is the intrinsic nature of an agreement struck with a dangerous regime and why we need to be clear eyed and pragmatic about the deal before us. This agreement provides an unprecedented ability to look into Iran’s facilities and capabilities, monitor their compliance, and establish a solid path for the United States and the world to prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear bomb. That is why I believe the JCPOA is in the best interest of the United States, Israel, and the world and will support it when it comes before the Congress for a vote.”