Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) Thursday released the following statement on her intent to oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1:
Since President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced an agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, I have given the agreement, which is one of the most important issues to come before the U.S. Congress in decades, the thoughtful and detailed study it deserves. I have carefully examined the issues, reviewed classified material, talked with administration officials, consulted with experts on both sides, and heard from numerous community leaders and constituents.
The President and the Secretary deserve credit for choosing the path of diplomacy in an effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. There are strong arguments for and against the agreement but, as a matter of conscience, I have decided to oppose it.
This is an agreement with a nation that has not honored its non-proliferation commitments in the past. I am concerned that, even if Iran complies with the restraints spelled out throughout the life of the agreement, the deal does not block Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons. It could also make the region even more dangerous by giving Iran access to financial resources, weapons and power.
As President Obama himself has acknowledged “in year 13, 14, 15, Iran will have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.” It will be recognized by the international community as a nuclear threshold state, just as it is today.
One of the other concerning provisions is that the agreement forbids access to inspectors for 24 days to undeclared but suspected Iranian nuclear sites. If Iran were genuinely committed to nuclear non-proliferation, it wouldn’t need even 24 hours.
Under this agreement, Iran’s non-nuclear military capabilities and access to weapons will improve. In year five, Iran can once again begin importing conventional weapons, and after year eight it will be allowed to acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). There is no peaceful use for ICBMs.
Iran will continue bankrolling terrorist militias throughout the Middle East—Hezbollah in Lebanon, Assad in Syria, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and the Houthis in Yemen. And Iran continues to hold four American prisoners.
As a result of lifting the sanctions, Iran will gain access to more than $50 billion, as soon as the IAEA certifies its compliance. It will also gain access to billions more dollars as oil revenues increase. It is difficult to imagine that at least a portion of that massive windfall would not find its way into the hands of terrorists.
What we wanted out of this agreement was peace. But before the ink was dry, the Mullahs were declaring, “Death to America.” Some believe that if we can just delay Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, a more moderate regime in a country with a young population will assume power and abandon Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We can hope for the best, but we need an agreement that assumes the worst.
After carefully studying the situation, I have come to the conclusion that I have too many concerns to support this agreement.