August 17, 2015

Statement From U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono On The Iran Nuclear Agreement

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, released the following statement in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as agreed to by the P5+1 and Iran:

Since receiving President Obama’s proposed deal to end Iran’s nuclear program, I have attended and participated in classified briefings, meetings, and hearings with national security and foreign policy experts, with supporters and critics of the deal, with military leaders, with ambassadors and representatives of the other five nations involved in the negotiations, and with my constituents.

After careful consideration, particularly weighing the risks involved in Congress approving or rejecting the deal, I have concluded that supporting this agreement means that Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which was on the verge of success, will be disabled for many years. The agreement requires Iran to affirm that “under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons.” This section of the agreement will enable the U.S. and the international community to take appropriate action, including military action, should Iran violate this unequivocal pledge.

My support of this plan of action stems from the following points:

1. Iran is currently on the verge of successfully developing numerous nuclear bombs. This agreement, with its stringent inspection regime, will halt Iran’s development of nuclear weapons by requiring Iran to give up its capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

2. If Iran fails to meet the restrictions this agreement provides, sanctions can be put back into place or “snapped back.” The U.S. and our international partners retain the ability to use military action if Iran seeks to obtain a nuclear weapon in violation of this agreement.

3. A rejection by the U.S. of this deal will not bring our partners back to negotiate another deal. In fact, at a recent meeting of leaders from our partner nations, I specifically asked the Ambassadors to the U.S. from China, the United Kingdom, and Russia whether their countries would come back to negotiate again should the U.S. walk away from the deal. They unanimously said, “No”, that there was already a deal- the one before Congress.

While this agreement is not perfect, it has gained broad national and international support, including 29 top American nuclear scientists, of which six are Nobel laureates. This agreement is the best option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapon program.

At the same time, this deal does not solve all the concerns we have about Iran’s activities, particularly, Iran’s support for terrorism.  I will support increased efforts, along with our allies, to counter Iran’s destabilizing and malign actions within and outside the Middle East.