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Schrader Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement

Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-05) announced his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed to by the P5+1 countries (United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia) and Iran in July, releasing the following statement:

“Serving the people of Oregon has been the greatest honor of my life and I weigh the thoughts and opinions shared with me by my constituents carefully in every decision I make and every vote I take. There is no greater responsibility that my constituents have entrusted me with than ensuring our nation is secure. Evaluating the JCPOA has been an extremely difficult process for me—I have pored over this agreement for weeks, attempting to fully understand its intricacies and to make sure that all of my questions were answered before coming to a decision on how I will vote when it comes to the House floor.”

“I truly understand the heartfelt concerns many individuals and groups have about the effects this agreement will have. However, I have decided that I will support this agreement as I believe it severely degrades Iran’s nuclear capabilities and will allow international inspectors unprecedented access all across the country.

“The JCPOA is a significantly better agreement than I had initially expected.  Sanctions are lifted only after Iran meets the nuclear reductions agreed upon in the agreement.  We have unlimited access to any suspicious site in Iran, even military installations.  And since there is a lack of trust that Iran will comply, the JCPOA has the most intrusive verification process of any such agreement.

“The JCPOA allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) daily access to known nuclear facilities.  Iran’s nuclear stockpile is reduced by 96 percent.  Nuclear enrichment centrifuges are reduced by two thirds.  Iran’s heavy water facility will be redesigned to be unable to produce weapons-grade plutonium and all of its spent fuel must be shipped out of the country. Beyond the core 10 years of the agreement, the IAEA has the ability to monitor uranium ore concentrate production for 25 years, centrifuge use for 20 years, and technology and access for 15 years.

“Access to verify Iran’s compliance in a timely manner is at the crux of the agreement.  In addition to daily access to the known Iranian nuclear facilities, the IAEA has access to all suspicious sites within 24 days.  Even if material is moved, residues remain within that time frame well beyond 24 days, so non-compliance can be verified.  If non-compliance is detected, Iran has a maximum of 35 days to respond satisfactorily or the complainant can reinstate their sanctions and go to the U.N.

“I, like many others, do not feel that the odds are in favor of Iran complying given their past abuses so it is imperative that no U.S. sanctions are lifted until the IAEA verifies that Iran has met the conditions on enrichment, storage and access to its nuclear material, which is included in the JCPOA.  In fact the agreement is worded so that on the U.S. side the statutory sanctions stay on the books and the President is only allowed to 'waive' them (most of the sanctions laws have that provision).  He must also revoke any executive sanctions the executive branch has imposed.  Notably, U.S. sanctions that generally prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with Iran stay in place, as do the U.S. sanctions for human rights abuses and terrorism.  There is a 'snap back' provision for UN sanctions should Iran cheat on the JCPOA.  If one of the members of the JCPOA feels that Iran is not complying, then the UN is forced to stop the lifting of sanctions in 30 days unless a resolution to the contrary is adopted.  The U.S. alone can veto such a resolution.  We do not have to get all 6 members of the JCPOA to agree.

“Without this agreement, experts agree Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to produce a nuclear weapon in only three months. Under the negotiated terms of the JCPOA, Iran’s abilities to develop a nuclear weapon would be stopped from mine to lab for at least a decade, if not for two decades or more.

“I respectfully disagree with those that think that refusing any deal whatsoever preserves the status quo—that Iran would continue to refrain from developing a nuclear weapon and that all current sanctions would remain in place. I believe strongly, based on both classified and non-classified information, that if the U.S. were the sole party to reject this deal then Iran would be free to immediately begin developing a nuclear weapon. Additionally, a nuclear arms race would begin in the Gulf States, our remaining diplomatic partners would continue to lift their sanctions against Iran, Israel would be in greater danger, and America’s standing as a diplomatic world leader would be irreparably damaged.”