Today marks one year since the United States and five major powers finalized the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran to defang its nuclear program. On this anniversary, it’s clear the agreement is achieving its goals and has made Israel, the United States and the whole world safer.
It is therefore extremely disappointing that opponents of the agreement inside and outside of Congress have not let up in their efforts to sabotage this crucial deal. Their latest effort in the House of Representatives are three highly irresponsible bills designed to undermine both the ability of the United States and Iran to meet their JCPOA commitments.
It’s notable that even prominent Democrats who opposed the agreement last year are not supporting these highly partisan bills. Republicans would be well advised to stop playing politics with US and Israeli national security and pay heed to the host of security experts from our nation, Israel and elsewhere who have testified to the JCPOA’s success and the major strategic benefits that have flowed from it.
For example, last January, Israel’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot told the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies that the deal has removed “the most serious danger to Israel’s existence for the foreseeable future, and greatly reduced the threat over the longer term.”
Iran’s ballistic missile program, its sponsorship of terrorism and other egregious behavior remain problems that need to be dealt with – but even they are less threatening because of the existence of the JCPOA.
Since the deal was signed, Iran has reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent and disabled their 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 agreed to an increased presence of IAEA inspectors on the ground, the installation of the most modern monitoring equipment and unprecedented surveillance of the entire uranium and centrifuge supply chains.
The result is that Iran’s nuclear breakout time has gone from a maximum of three months to a minimum of a year and the international community has gained vastly increased capabilities to detect any possible effort to evade the agreement.
We at J Street are proud of the role we had in defending and supporting this critical agreement and we pledge to remain vigilant against those who would foolishly try to wreck this significant diplomatic achievement.