Congressman David Cicilline announced Tuesday that he is supporting the Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran, and believes the world will be safer with the deal than without it.
"There is no question that the decision to approve or disapprove the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is one of the most difficult and consequential decisions that I will ever make as a Member of Congress," Cicilline said in a statement. "I have spent the last two months carefully studying the terms of the agreement, participating in dozens of classified briefings and committee hearings, consulting with foreign policy, non-proliferation, scientific, and military experts, and meeting with the President and members of his administration to discuss the provisions of the JCPOA.”
When President Obama last week secured enough US Senate support to ensure passage of the nuclear agreement, Cicilline and his Second District counterpart, Jim Langevin, remained undecided on the deal, almost two months after it was announced.
Cicilline said the agreement "forces Iran to relinquish its nuclear weapons ambitions and reaffirms, by its own language, that ‘under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons." He said sanctions have not been effective in slowing Iran's nuclear program.
The congressman pointed to details of the agreement in explaining why he decided to support it, including a requirement for Iran to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium, as well as a response he got from President Obama after expressing concerns on the deal.
Cicilline said, “The agreement also forces Iran to accept the most intrusive and rigorous inspections regime ever imposed on any country through a negotiated settlement. Although it does not provide for instantaneous inspections without limit, it does include 24/7 inspections of declared nuclear sites and creates a process for inspection of other sites. Every aspect of Iran’s nuclear program and every part of the supply chain for fissile material will be subject to independent verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency and subjected to comprehensive monitoring and surveillance. This is in stark contrast to the complete lack of access currently granted to the international community to monitor Iran’s nuclear programs. The provisions of the agreement prevent progress in every pathway to a bomb. In short, Iran is prevented from developing a nuclear weapon without detection due to constraints on enrichment and research, advanced verification technology and the scope and intensity of the monitoring regime.”
Cicilline is among a relatively small number of Jewish members in the US House. Jews in the US and abroad have been divided on the merits of the nuclear deal with Iran.
Cicilline said the agreement "is far from perfect, [but\ the previous trajectory of Iran’s nuclear program is also unacceptable. Decisive action is required to ensure that Iran never develops or acquires a nuclear weapon. I believe that rejection of this agreement would present serious risks to the national security interests of the United States and would seriously undermine our ability to lead and sustain a strong international coalition and make future sanctions implementation or military action more difficult.”