J Street Deplores House Conduct in Iran Nuclear Debate

September 10, 2015

J Street is deeply dismayed at the way the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has decided to handle the Iran nuclear agreement. Its actions are turning a debate over a serious national security issue into a political circus fueled by an absurd conspiracy theory.

The Republican majority has introduced three pieces of legislation: the first is a resolution of approval of the agreement, the second would prevent the President from waiving sanctions on Iran and the third is a statement chastising the White House for what sponsors claim to be a failure of the Obama administration to send Congress the text of the Safeguards Agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

To be clear, the IAEA has entered with Iran into a Safeguards Agreement similar to the agreements it has with all parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty NPT) including the United States. These agreements are typically kept confidential between the IAEA and the individual nations. Under the NPT, these non nuclear weapons states have committed not to produce or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons and to place all of their nuclear material and activities under IAEA safeguards and to allow the IAEA to verify their commitments.

Trying to portray this internationally-accepted procedure as some kind of nefarious scheme is the height of irresponsibility from lawmakers in the world’s most important legislative body.

The Iran agreement is a very important international commitment with consequential implications for US national interests as well as Israel’s security. Whether one is for or against the agreement, we should expect our legislators to take seriously the responsibility to provide oversight for such an important aspect of American foreign policy. No one should be happy at the way consideration of this agreement has been reduced to the level of political farce.

During the public debate over the agreement, we have disagreed with AIPAC and other organizations on the merits of the agreement. But surely even opponents of the deal can agree that this debate should be conducted on the merits of the deal and not descend into the realm of the ridiculous.

We ask AIPAC and its allies to call on their supporters in the House to allow a clear vote on the agreement. The American people deserve to see the legislative process work properly.