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Statement of Administration Policy: H.J. Res. 64 - Joint Resolution of Disapproval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

September 08, 2015


(House Rules)

(Rep. Royce, R-CA)

The Administration strongly opposes H.J. Res. 64, a joint resolution of disapproval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between the P5+1 (United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany), the European Union, and Iran on July 14, 2015. Enactment of the resolution would greatly undermine our national security interests on multiple fronts. It would effectively block the international community from peacefully and verifiably preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, allow for the resumption of an unconstrained and unchecked Iranian nuclear program, and lead to the unraveling of the international sanctions regime that was sustained because the Administration sought to diplomatically resolve concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program. Further, enactment of the resolution would deal a devastating blow to America's credibility as a leader of diplomacy and could ultimately result in the exhaustion of alternatives to military action. If this resolution were enacted, the hard work of sustaining a unified coalition to combat Iran's destabilizing activities in the region would be much more difficult, as would America's ability to lead the world on nuclear non-proliferation.

Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon has long been a top priority for the United States and for the Administration. It has been the Administration's longstanding policy to retain all options to achieve that objective - including possible military options. At the same time, the Administration has worked diligently with the Congress and our international partners to achieve a peaceful, diplomatic solution, recognizing that a negotiated understanding offers a more effective, verifiable, and durable resolution. The JCPOA achieves this objective by reinforcing the prohibition against Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, verifiably cutting off all of Iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon, and instituting the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program. The JCPOA makes the United States and the world safer by removing the gravest threat that Iran could pose to the Middle East, including Israel and our Gulf partners.

The JCPOA, if faithfully implemented, will verifiably cut off Iran's ability to pursue a nuclear weapon through uranium enrichment, through a plutonium pathway, or through a potential covert path. Iran is bound under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to never seek a nuclear weapon and the JCPOA provides the tools to ensure that Iran cannot use a peaceful program as cover to pursue a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA is not based on trust, but on an unprecedented inspections, monitoring, and transparency regime. Under the JCPOA, there will be 24/7 monitoring of Iran's key nuclear facilities. Inspectors will be able to get timely access to the places they need to go for inspections, or Iran will be in violation of the JCPOA and risk the re-imposition of sanctions. For decades, inspectors will have access to Iran's entire nuclear supply chain - from uranium mines and mills to centrifuge production facilities. This means that in order for Iran to covertly acquire a nuclear weapon, it would need to build an entirely separate, undetected nuclear supply chain. The JCPOA also facilitates the International Atomic Energy Agency's ability to complete its report on the possible military dimensions of Iran's pre-2003 program.

The JCPOA also ensures that Iran has powerful incentives to keep its nuclear commitments. Before getting phased relief from secondary nuclear-related sanctions, Iran has to complete all of its major nuclear steps which will extend the amount of time it would take Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon from the current two to three months to at least a year. For example, the core of Iran's heavy-water reactor at Arak will be pulled out and filled with concrete, rendering it unable to produce plutonium that could be used for a weapon; two-thirds of its nearly 20,000 currently installed centrifuges will be removed; its current stockpile of enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent; and it must put in place the monitoring, surveillance, and access measures that will ensure the ability to verify that its nuclear program is used for exclusively peaceful purposes going forward. If Iran fails to abide by its JCPOA commitments, all relieved sanctions, both unilateral and multilateral, can snap back into place.

The Administration is fully committed to continuing to brief and closely consult the Congress as we work with our international partners to ensure successful implementation of the JCPOA. As we address our concerns with Iran's nuclear program through the JCPOA, the Administration remains clear-eyed and shares the deep concerns of the Congress and the American people about Iran's support for terrorism, its destabilizing role in the region, and its human rights abuses - this is why we will continue to vigorously enforce our sanctions against these activities and work closely with our partners in the region to counter them, using a range of unilateral and multilateral tools.

The JCPOA must be assessed by what it achieves on its central goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - and the Administration urges the Congress to fully consider the stakes for our national security of walking away without the international community. Without the JCPOA in place, Iran would likely resume the advancement of its nuclear program without any of the constraints or transparency required by this deal and without the international unity of our sanctions regime, which would be the worst of all possible worlds, leaving us in a position of weakness, not strength.

The President has made it clear that he will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of the JCPOA. If the President were presented with H.J. Res. 64, he would veto the resolution.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.J. Res. 64 - Joint Resolution of Disapproval of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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