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Congresswoman Dingell Statement Supporting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) released the following statement in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached by the P5+1 nations and Iran.

When the Congress returns this September, we face a critical vote that will deeply impact global security. As others have stated, it is probably one of the most serious decisions in the nation's history.

We are faced with this decision because of Iran’s defiance of the international community through the pursuit of a covert nuclear program that has left nations and people throughout the world deeply concerned about the threat this poses to world peace. 

Since the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), there have been intense dialogues about the impact of the agreement and the potential consequences. This Administration has conducted numerous briefings starting with President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, Energy Secretary Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Lew.  They have answered many questions and made data available to every Member of Congress who has requested information or expressed concerns as they try to understand the potential danger and outcomes.  Diverse organizations, which both support and oppose the proposed agreement, have provided material developed by foreign policy experts, academics, diplomats, military experts, scientists, and economists, among many others.

I have also met and heard from many people throughout the 12th District and across Michigan and have been struck by how the debate on this issue has been conducted with the respect that such a serious issue deserves.

Throughout the discussions with experts and constituents, many have said that Iran simply cannot be trusted – and I agree with that.  But this agreement is not based on trust - it is based on verification.  If the deal goes forward, both the uranium and plutonium pathways to a bomb will be cut off, and we will have unprecedented insight and access to the Iranian nuclear program.  If they cheat, we will know it, and current sanctions will snap back into place.  And as President Obama has consistently said, nothing in this agreement takes the military option off the table if Iran’s violations were ever to reach that level.

In the end, I have decided that I will support the agreement when it comes before Congress for a vote. In trying to approach this decision in a balanced manner, I have reached the conclusion that pragmatically we have no other realistic options, and failure to support the President will hurt the United States in the world community while having no impact on preventing Iran from gaining nuclear capability. The leadership of the United States is very much at stake and if we do not assert this leadership, our European allies, the Chinese and others will not support us in dealing with these kinds of critical situations again. 

Without the JCPOA, Iran would have the capacity to acquire enough material for a nuclear bomb within the next few months. In addition, failure to approve the deal would leave Iran's nuclear program and capability shrouded in secrecy and we would have no means to keep it in check.  Also of concern, other members of the P5+1 - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany – will no longer impose economic sanctions such that the benefit of what has been gained in recent years would be significantly diminished if not completely lost. This simply represents too much danger for the United States and for world peace.

It is also my hope that support of this historic agreement will unlock new opportunities to resolve other conflicts in the region and help strengthen our renew our global commitment to fighting terrorism in a more productive way.  A top priority for the  United States remains addressing Iran’s support of terrorist organizations.

This is not an easy decision, and it is one that is made with the utmost respect for my friends and colleagues on both sides. This process has shown me that no matter what decision one reaches on this issue, almost everyone shares the exact same concerns.

Congressional oversight of the JCPOA will not end with September’s vote – in fact, it will just be the beginning.  This effort must be bipartisan, and I hope it will be divorced from the acrimonious politics that have dominated the discussion in some quarters to date.  It is my hope that Congress and the international community will now turn their efforts to enforcement of this agreement so we can ensure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon, which is a goal that we all share.

The United States and our allies seek peace in the Middle East. We have two goals: promoting peace and keeping the confidence of our allies who need American leadership.  The JCPOA helps support both of these goals, which is why I will support it. 

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