Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

Davis, Vargas, Peters: No deal better than bad one over Iran nuclear program

Jul 6, 2015
Op-Eds

No deal better than bad one over Iran nuclear program - UT San Diego 7/3/15

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/jul/03/no-deal-better-than-bad-one-over-iran-nuclear/

Reps. Susan Davis, Juan Vargas, and Scott Peters

The United States along with the so-called P5+1 governments of France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Germany are currently finalizing a detailed agreement with Iran on the status of its nuclear program. The effort to achieve a nuclear accord with Iran began in late 2013 with the joint plan of action which required Iran to freeze many aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief from some international sanctions. On April 2, 2015, the P5+1 and Iran announced that they had reached an overarching framework for a comprehensive agreement, with a number of outstanding issues remaining to be resolved through continued negotiations. As members of San Diego’s congressional delegation, we are united in our support for a long term deal that verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We strongly agree with President Obama that no deal is better than a bad deal. Additionally, while the negotiations have not yielded an agreement by the June 30 deadline, we urge U.S. negotiators to stay at the table until they come to a deal that eliminates every Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapon. We have outlined the criteria we believe any deal should include in order to meet that objective.

First, any agreement should include an inspections regime that allows the International Atomic Energy Agency access to any suspected site. The agreement cannot be based solely on trust. Iran has a long history of obfuscating its nuclear activities from the international community, in clear violation of its commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Second, an acceptable deal should cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon beyond the next 10 years. We are deeply concerned that a deal that does not restrict Iran’s program for a sufficient amount of time could leave Iran with a quicker path to building a nuclear weapon.

Third, a deal must sufficiently dismantle Iran’s current nuclear infrastructure in order to prevent either a uranium or plutonium pathway to the bomb.

Finally, if a nuclear agreement were to be finalized, the United States and the international community must proceed cautiously with any economic sanctions relief. That relief should be appropriately phased in, and only in exchange for Iranian compliance with the terms of an agreement. Our main leverage to ensure Iranian compliance is the threat that sanctions will not be lifted.

Iran has played a destabilizing role in the region and continues to be a key state sponsor of terrorism. If we accept a deal that does not sufficiently meet the outlined criteria, we will fail to achieve the administration’s stated goal of reaching a long-term deal that verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We urge the negotiating parties to continue working toward a historic agreement and we look forward to providing congressional oversight of a potential agreement with Iran.

Davis, Peters and Vargas are members of the San Diego County congressional delegation.