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Quigley Announces Support of Iran Deal

Sep 9, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:

“For the past two months, I have received classified intelligence briefings from high level officials, spoken with experts and our allies, and listened to the concerns of my constituents about the agreement with Iran. After giving the issue careful consideration, I have decided to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I greet any deal with Iran with healthy skepticism – after all, Iran’s history of deception and ongoing destabilizing and dangerous activities in the region are cause for significant concern and mistrust. But this deal is not based on trust. It’s based on unprecedented access, strict verification, and strong enforcement mechanisms to punish Iran if they defy the agreement. While this deal is not perfect and will not solve all the problems we have with Iran, it is the best opportunity available at this time to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It also provides the United States with vital intelligence that will allow us to better combat Iran’s aggression and improve security around the globe.

 “As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I have consulted with critical players within the U.S. and global intelligence communities, and they all agree: this deal will give the United States and our allies invaluable and unprecedented intelligence access to Iran. Under this agreement, we have the ability to inspect any location that we suspect Iran is using for nuclear development and every stage of Iran’s nuclear supply chain from mining and milling to processing and storing. The briefings I’ve received make clear that this deal puts in place a stringent and intrusive verification regime that gives the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international community the tools necessary to monitor Iran’s compliance with the deal. If Iran cheats, we will almost certainly know. And the detailed knowledge of the Iranian program and its ongoing activities gained through the deal’s extensive inspections will improve not only our ability to hold Iran accountable but also the effectiveness of any military action we may need to take in the future.

“This deal is not perfect. All parties involved made concessions, as is the case in any serious diplomatic negotiation. But given the complexities of a negotiation involving multilateral partners with a diverse set of interests, this deal represents the best chance we have at this time to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. With this agreement, we cut off every potential pathway to an Iranian nuclear weapon by requiring the elimination of 98 percent of Iran’s highly enriched uranium stockpile, the removal of more than two-thirds of its centrifuges, the reduction of its research and development activities, and the dismantling of its plutonium reactor. Most importantly, Iran is subject to the most stringent nuclear monitoring and inspections regime in the world, and agreed that under no circumstances will it seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons. 

“Without this agreement, the international coalition dedicated to this end, which we’ve spent years building, would likely fall apart, allowing Iran access to the global economy, opening up their pathways to a nuclear weapon, and negating any intelligence capabilities this deal would provide. A punishing sanctions regime alone will not prevent Iran from nuclear breakout, especially without the support of our allies. Only by giving this diplomatic solution a chance to succeed will the United States gain unilateral ability to snap back sanctions and support from the international community to take military action if Iran fails to live up to its obligations. Accepting this agreement simply provides us with greater options than rejecting it.

“At this point, Congress must overcome partisan politics and work together to address the shortcomings of this agreement, ensure this deal is implemented properly to hold Iran accountable, and develop a clear and decisive strategy to deter and combat Iran’s support for terror and destabilizing activities in the region. This deal does nothing to stop the U.S. and its allies from aggressively countering these activities, keeping in place important terrorism and human rights sanctions. In fact, with the nuclear issue off the table, the U.S. and our allies will now be in much a stronger position to push back against Iran’s alarming actions. 

“The United States and our allies must make clear to Iran that we will use all means necessary to stop them from acquiring a nuclear weapon should this process fail. But we owe it to our troops and to our children to exhaust all diplomatic options before taking military action against Iran. If the day comes that I am faced with a vote to authorize military force against Iran, I want to ensure that we have tried everything possible to stop Iran before putting any of our service members in harm’s way.

“There are few votes in Congress that have as much consequence to the security of the United States, our strong ally Israel, and the global community. But in this deal, America has honored its best traditions and shown that patient diplomacy can achieve what isolation and hostility cannot. I am voting to support this agreement not because I think it is perfect, or the answer to all of our problems with Iran. I am voting for this agreement because it is our most credible opportunity to lead a global community in containing an existential threat.”