August 27, 2015

Watson Coleman Announces Support of Iran Nuclear Agreement

For Immediate Release

Ewing, NJ (August 27, 2015) ― Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) announced her support for the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent a nuclear armed Iran:

“Since the release of the text, I have carefully considered the details of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1 countries and Iran.  I have attended numerous classified briefings with Administration officials, met with constituents on both sides of the issue, and consulted with nuclear and foreign policy experts.  After extensive consideration, I have concluded that supporting this agreement offers the most viable option available to us to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons.

“As a member of Congress, no issue ranks higher than protecting our national security.  It’s clear to me that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an unacceptable threat to the United States and to our closest ally in the region, Israel.   As such, I have never wavered in my opposition to any deal that lacks the strength to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.  I have long said that in order to garner my support, any final agreement must sufficiently weaken Iran’s nuclear infrastructure such that it cannot develop a weapon, and have an inspection and sanctions regime that ensures any violation of the deal’s terms will be detected and punished.  This agreement meets that first, critical standard.

“This deal is based on verification — not trust.  The Iranian government is a brutal regime that violates human rights, supports terrorism across the globe, and has a record of attempting to deceive the international community.  We cannot simply have faith that Iran has suddenly decided to comply with the promises it makes to the world.  However, thanks to the work of Secretary Kerry and our negotiating team, Iran will be subjected to the most intrusive inspection regime ever negotiated.  Further the deal’s snapback provisions mean that if we determine Iran has broken the agreement, sanctions will be promptly re-imposed.

“While this agreement is not perfect, rejecting it would create far greater risks than accepting it.  If we turn down this opportunity for broad and intrusive supervision of Iran, we would irreversibly undermine the international coalition that has worked for years to prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms and, in turn, risk strengthening Iranian hardliners who have resisted any negotiation.  Opponents argue that if we reject this deal, we can return to the table to negotiate a better one.  Our European allies have made clear that that is not likely, and I cannot gamble our national security on the mere hope that more time will bring about a different result.  Additionally, opponents of the deal have been unable to clearly articulate what a better alternative would contain.  Without this deal, the most immediately accessible alternative is military conflict.  I am committed to finding peaceful solutions to our international problems, and I firmly believe that further military involvement in the Middle East should be our last resort.  I will continue to work to avoid war. 

“Without this agreement, we would find ourselves back at the status quo — a status quo where Iran is months away from the fissile material necessary for a bomb.  A status quo without sufficient inspections to monitor Iran’s behavior.  A status quo that keeps Iran beyond the reach of the international structures the rest of the world uses to hold one another accountable.  Adopting the agreement will improve the position of the United States by providing unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear supply chain, ensuring we have the knowledge necessary to determine Iran’s compliance with its commitments.  This agreement is not an end – it is a critical beginning to a long process of holding Iran accountable, with more tools to do so than we have ever had before. 

“Having recently returned from Israel, I understand the concerns many have about Iran’s threat to our most important ally in the region.  I recognize that some disagree with my assessment that this deal offers the best option for protecting both our security and Israel’s, which are inextricably connected.  As this deal is implemented, we must reaffirm our commitment to Israel and continue to enforce the sanctions we’ve placed on Iran for its human rights abuses and support of terrorism.  Nothing in this deal prevents the United States from taking all steps necessary to prevent Iran’s further destabilization of the region, nor does it impede our efforts to protect our allies.  Negotiations on this agreement have always centered solely on blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.  In my review, this deal does just that that.  I will support it, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”