August 5 2015

Congressman Seth Moulton Weighs in on Iran Deal

By: Rich Hosford

Congressman Seth Moulton, who represents the Massachusetts 6th District that includes Burlington, has issued a statement on his stance on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran Deal, to prevent the nation from acquiring a nuclear weapon. 


Moulton said that as a combat veteran he understands firsthand the threat Iran poses to America and its allies and stressed the need to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. 


He said that after reviewing the details of the plan and speaking with constituents, including members of the Jewish community, as well as military and civilian experts, he determined supporting the agreement is the best course of action.


“It is not a perfect deal, and it is easy to point out the many ways in which it could theoretically be stronger,” he said. “That being said, it is by far the best viable option before us.”


There are many critics of the deal, including most Republicans but also some Democrats. Also in opposition is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and  many Jewish lobbyists are reportedly working hard to convince Congress to reject the deal in an upcoming vote. 


Those against the deal say, among other things, it will strengthen Iran by freeing up billions of dollars currently be held under sanctions. They say Iran could use those funds to purchase conventional weapons or to support terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.  


Critics also say the deal doesn’t give the international community enough access to Iran’s facilities, a claim Secretary of State John Kerry has strongly argued against. 


Moulton said he believes the deal is sufficiently verifiable and enforceable and that it is not build on trust of Iran. 


“Iran already has the knowledge to refine uranium and build a nuclear weapon. Therefore, limitations on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure are less important than how quickly and effectively we can catch Iran should its leaders decide to build a bomb. After attending both classified and unclassified briefings, I believe the inspections regime—while far from perfect—is comprehensive enough to be effective. Inspections will also give us greater intelligence on Iran than we have today.”


Read Rep. Moulton's full statement below: 

 

“As a combat veteran who has seen fellow Americans killed in Iraq by the weapons and influence of the Iranian regime, I understand firsthand the threat Iran poses to America and our allies. The United States and the international community must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“After carefully reviewing the details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, listening to my constituents including leaders in the Jewish community, and consulting with a wide variety of military and civilian experts, I have determined that the best course of action to prevent a nuclear Iran is by supporting and implementing the agreement. It is not a perfect deal, and it is easy to point out the many ways in which it could theoretically be stronger. That being said, it is by far the best viable option before us.

“First, I believe the deal is sufficiently verifiable and enforceable. This is not about trust. Iran already has the knowledge to refine uranium and build a nuclear weapon. Therefore, limitations on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure are less important than how quickly and effectively we can catch Iran should its leaders decide to build a bomb. After attending both classified and unclassified briefings, I believe the inspections regime—while far from perfect—is comprehensive enough to be effective. Inspections will also give us greater intelligence on Iran than we have today.

“Second, the deal puts us in a stronger position both today and in the future than the alternatives, of which there are essentially two: taking military action or attempting to increase sanctions in the hope of negotiating a better deal some time in the future.

“Taking military action against Iran would only set Iran’s nuclear program back five years at most, reaffirm their pursuit of a nuclear weapon, and drive the program underground. 

"Maintaining or increasing sanctions on Iran will only work if the sanctions coalition holds together. It is clear from a variety of sources that at least Russia, China, and India are unlikely to maintain sanctions if Congress rejects the deal. Getting a better deal requires more leverage not less, and the only way for the U.S. to unilaterally increase sanctions would be for us to sanction our allies when they try to do business with Iran, which is impractical at best. In the meantime, while we attempt to establish a new sanctions regime, Iran will have a far shorter breakout time than they would have under the agreement.

“Both alternatives, military action and sanctions, leave us worse off than we are under the terms of the deal.

“Even in a worst case scenario where the regime cheats and continues to pursue a nuclear weapon, the United States and our allies will be in a stronger position to take further action under the auspices of the agreement--both because of the credibility it gives us, internationally and domestically, and the better intelligence inspections will provide.

"Whether you believe the Administration could have negotiated a stronger deal is largely irrelevant at this point. We must make a choice based on the options before us. Moving forward, there are two critical things the United States must do:

“First, we should reaffirm, to our allies and adversaries alike, that the Iranian regime remains an enemy of the United States of America and our allies, especially Israel. Iran is a state sponsor of international terrorism, holds American hostages, and commits deplorable violations of basic human rights on a daily basis. It would have been a poor negotiating strategy to include any provisions on these issues in the nuclear deal as they would have necessarily watered down the nuclear limits. But we must now keep up the pressure on all these issues, which the United States can do under the deal.

“Second, we must reaffirm our commitment to our allies in the Middle East, and we must work to repair the relationships that have been frayed by this negotiation. Along with many of my Congressional colleagues, I am traveling to Israel this week and meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. I look forward to discussing how we can repair and advance our historic alliance and ensure that our commitment to Israel is as strong and non-partisan in the future as it has been in the past.

“No deal is perfect, especially one negotiated among adversaries, but we must always act in our national interest and consider the facts as they exist today. This Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best option available in an ongoing confrontation with a great threat to world peace. For these reasons, I will support the deal when it comes for a vote in Congress and encourage my colleagues to do the same.”

 

 
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