August 31, 2015
Velázquez Announces Support for Iran Nuclear Deal
Washington, DC –Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the following statement today announcing that she would vote in favor of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program:
“In analyzing this agreement, my fundamental and primary concern was ensuring we stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. An Iran with a nuclear bomb would present an existential threat to Israel, be a destabilizing game changer for the entire region and directly threaten and undermine U.S. security interests. It is a scenario that the world absolutely must avoid. After careful reflection, I have concluded that the JCPOA is our best option for preventing Iran from acquiring the materials needed to develop a nuclear bomb.
“It has been estimated that before an interim agreement was reached in 2013, Iran was only one month away from securing enough material for a nuclear weapon. That stopgap measure pushed back that period by 2 to 3 months. Today, Iran is once again on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon.
“Given this reality, inaction at this stage is simply unacceptable. If Congress were to reject the JCPOA, there is a high probability that our partners in developing this agreement would resume doing business with Iran, freeing up financial resources that Iran was previously denied due to sanctions aimed at thwarting its nuclear program. It is also possible that Iran might simply choose to walk away from the agreement altogether and continue developing weapons grade plutonium and uranium, thereby prompting American military intervention.
“A U.S. strike on Iran would be costly, causing significant loss of American life, likely lead to attacks and loss of life in Israel, yet would only postpone Iran’s nuclear weapons development by a few years. Clearly, a strong, enforceable diplomatic solution is far superior.
“I recognize that critics of this agreement hold deep concerns about how it is constructed and in particular its enforceability. It is important to recognize that the monitoring and inspection provisions are more thorough and intrusive than in any previous agreement. Most importantly, they will prevent Iran from producing fissionable material without the United States and the world community knowing about it.
“I know many involved in this debate have also suggested that this agreement would not permanently resolve this issue and that, in the long term, there remains a threat that Iran will acquire weapons grade nuclear material. While that is true, this agreement remains, in my view, our best chance of thwarting the very real and immediate threat of Iran developing this capability in the next few months.
“There has been significant debate in Washington and in New York about this agreement and I have heard from constituents on all sides of the issue. I certainly understand and respect the opinions of those who do not support the agreement. However, after several months of deliberation, it is my deeply held belief that the JCPOA is the best option we have for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in the near term. I will support the agreement when it comes before the House for a vote.”
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