On Wednesday, October 4, Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) will send a letter to President Trump signed by more than 180 Members of Congress, including the entire House Democratic Leadership, urging the President to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Announced in July of 2015, the JCPOA is an international agreement negotiated by the “P5+1” (United States, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and Germany), the European Union, and Iran that sought to cut off Iran’s path to nuclear weapons capability.
The letter comes in response to recent suggestions by President Trump that the administration may withhold certification of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, which must be re-certified every three months under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). INARA also requires the President to provide Congress with credible evidence of Iranian noncompliance, should violations of the JCPOA occur. No such evidence has been provided to Congress to-date, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. military and intelligence officials, and U.S. allies have indicated that Iran remains in technical compliance with the agreement.
“For more than two years, the JCPOA has realized its objective of constraining Iran’s nuclear program to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran,” said Congressman Price. “Without ironclad evidence of Iranian violations of the agreement, withholding Iran’s certification of JCPOA compliance would jeopardize our national security, harm our international relationships, and embolden Iran. We urge the President to heed the advice of his military and intelligence advisors rather than play politics with national security.”
“We forced Iran to the negotiating table in the first place because of the multilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. and our global partners,” said Congressman Deutch. “Now, we need the help of this international coalition to keep up the pressure on Iran for its other malign activities outside of the JCPOA – its support for terrorism, its gross human rights violations, and its ballistic missile weapons program. If President Trump decertifies Iranian compliance without clear evidence of Iranian violations, it will jeopardize this united front against Iran. The JCPOA is an imperfect agreement, but to address the problematic provisions including the sunset clauses, we will need stay in lockstep with our global partners.”
In the letter, the Representatives emphasize that withholding certification without credible evidence of a material breach on the part of Iran would threaten national security, isolate the U.S. from our international partners and allies, and undermine efforts to defuse the nuclear crisis with North Korea. “Absent credible and accurate information confirming a material breach, we are concerned that withholding certification of Iran’s compliance or walking away from the JCPOA would harm our alliances, embolden Iran, and threaten U.S. national security. We are further concerned that non-certification based on justifications beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement would threaten global non-proliferation efforts and send exactly the wrong message to North Korea at the moment we are trying to diplomatically defuse that crisis.”
Read the full text of the letter below.