J Street welcomes the Trump administration’s certification to Congress that Iran continues to be in compliance with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear agreement.
While the President spent much of his campaign denouncing what he called “the worst deal ever,” actions speak far louder than words or tweets. This is a clear sign that the administration recognizes what the vast consensus of security experts have long understood to be true: The Iran nuclear agreement has successfully blocked Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon and is making the US, Israel and the world safer.
We agree with the administration that Iran’s non-nuclear malign behaviors, including its development of ballistic missiles, its support for international terrorism and its egregious human rights violations against its own people, must continue to be confronted, including through appropriately targeted sanctions. These activities, however, fall outside the scope of the JCPOA, making it vitally important that they are addressed in a way that does not violate or undermine the nuclear agreement. As the administration and Congress respond to Iran’s nefarious behaviors, they must not undo the accomplishments of the JCPOA and risk reopening Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.
That is why we have serious concerns about Senate legislation introduced last month (S.722), which includes measures that could abrogate US obligations under the agreement. Whether or not this legislation deliberately intends to undermine the JCPOA – and several legislators have indicated that goal in the past – it must, at a minimum, be amended to ensure the United States’ own compliance with this critical accord.
In light of this certification of the agreement’s continued success, hawkish voices in Congress and in the administration should rein in irresponsible and misleading rhetoric about it – and recognize that tough diplomacy has been and remains an essential tool to advance the interests and security of our country and our allies.