Tomorrow marks two years since the United States and five other major powers finalized the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran to permanently defang its nuclear program. On this anniversary, it’s more clear than ever that the agreement is achieving its goals and has made Israel, the United States and the whole world safer.
Since the deal was signed, Iran has reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent and disabled its plutonium reactor. The Iranians also dismantled 12,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium and gave an account of their past nuclear work to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). They have agreed to be subjected to the most intrusive nuclear inspection and verification regime in history, including the installation of the most modern monitoring equipment and unprecedented surveillance of the entire uranium and centrifuge supply chains.
This tremendous accomplishment for global security was achieved through tough diplomacy, without firing a shot. Even President Trump and his administration, who have been among the agreement’s most prominent detractors, have been forced to acknowledge the truth: that the agreement is working. In April the administration certified to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, while in May the US reissued sanctions waivers required to continue US compliance.
The agreement enjoys support among American voters well into its implementation, with polls showing a super-majority of US Jews continuing to back the deal, along with a growing majority of Americans generally. Moreover, veteran leaders of Israel’s security establishment publicly tout the agreement as an important success.
Nonetheless, voices in some quarters of the Trump administration and Congress continue to make reckless calls for regime change in Iran, and propose legislation that could undermine or violate US compliance with the agreement. These extremely dangerous efforts could overturn the accomplishments of the JCPOA and sow further chaos and destabilization in the region.
The Iranian regime remains a dangerous regional actor, and its ballistic missile program and support for terrorist groups and other malign activities continue to threaten US and Israeli interests. It is vital to confront these behaviors with carefully calibrated and targeted pressure, while continuing to keep Iran’s nuclear program under lock and key via the JCPOA.
Moreover, it is important to take note of the results of the recent Iranian elections, in which the moderate, pro-JCPOA President Rouhani won a significant victory against hardliners. In his victory speech, Rouhani stated that “With this election, the Iranian nation has announced that it wants to improve relations with the world based on mutual and national interests.”
The United States and the international community should seize the opportunity and work to hold the Iranian leader to his word. J Street calls on Congress and the administration to continue to fully uphold and enforce the JCPOA agreement, and to undertake determined new efforts to further moderate Iran’s policies and behavior through tough diplomacy.
Learn more about the Iran nuclear agreement
The Iran deal isn’t only good policy. It’s also good politics. Check out our video about how candidates who supported the deal fared in the 2016 election.