J Street Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement Implementation Day

January 16, 2016

We welcome today’s announcement of the official implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program. Like the majority of American Jews, J Street supports the JCPOA, which blocks all of Iran’s paths to developing a nuclear weapon. Our activists worked tirelessly last summer to help successfully shepherd the agreement through Congressional review.

We also applaud news that US diplomats have successfully negotiated the release of five Iranian-Americans held by Iran.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Iran does not have the nuclear material needed to build even a single bomb. That makes Americans, Israelis and the Iranian people themselves immeasurably safer.

International inspectors have now verified that Iran has shipped approximately 97% of its enriched uranium stockpile out of its territory. It has removed more than two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and placed them in internationally-monitored storage. Iran has also stopped all enrichment of uranium at the underground Fordow facility

Implementation of the agreement also means that international inspectors have verified that Iran has removed the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor and filled it with cement, terminating Iran’s plutonium pathway to a nuclear weapon.

That Iran has completed these steps—and granted international inspectors the unprecedented access necessary to verify and continuously monitor compliance on an ongoing basis—in an unexpectedly short period of time is further proof of the power of tough, effective diplomacy in addressing some of our most serious security concerns. It is also a reminder that opponents of diplomacy who predicted recalcitrance, noncompliance and failure at every stage of negotiations and implementation were flat-out wrong.

At the same time, there should be no doubt that the United States’ and its international partners’ top priority with respect to the JCPOA must be to ensure that Iran continues to strictly adhere to the agreement. In addition, the United States must maintain and as necessary strengthen its efforts to counteract the Iranian regime’s deplorable support for international terrorism, its provocative development of ballistic missiles and its egregious human rights violations against it own people.

That is why, immediately after the JCPOA cleared Congress, we called for tough, ongoing Congressional oversight of the agreement and US policy toward Iran, as well as enhancements to security cooperation with Israel and other allies. We reiterate that call today, as well as our support for the Iran Policy Oversight Act introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin, which includes several of the policy prescriptions we put forward to counter threats from Iran.

We also reiterate our call on opponents of the JCPOA to recognize that the question of whether to move forward with the agreement has been debated and settled. Proposals and attempts—almost wholly partisan in nature—to kill the agreement through further Congressional action only damage American credibility and leadership on the world stage, and jeopardize an historic diplomatic achievement that neutralized one of the greatest threats to American and our allies’ security without firing a shot.

We recommit ourselves today to helping ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and to defending the agreement that is already working to ensure that critical charge is kept.