Blumenauer Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement

October 13, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), a leader in Congress on reducing the development, threat and spread of nuclear weapons and establishing more rational U.S. nuclear policies, released the following statement today in response to Donald Trump’s decision to withhold certification of the Iran nuclear agreement:

“Trump’s refusal today to recertify the historic nuclear agreement with Iran is an affront to peace and diplomacy across the globe, weakens the U.S. role with our allies, emboldens North Korea, and makes a nuclear-armed Iran more likely—if not inevitable.

“Iran has complied with the agreement. It has removed thousands of centrifuges from service, halted enrichment beyond 3.67 percent, limited the size of its enriched uranium stockpile, and filled the core of its heavy-water nuclear reactor with cement. Without the framework in place, the amount of time it would take for Iran to build a nuclear weapon could go from one year to mere weeks. 

“Even his own Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, agreed last week that keeping this agreement intact is critical to our national security. 

“Further, Trump’s proposals to ‘renegotiate’ and attach new conditions to ‘get a better deal’ demonstrate a total lack of understanding of how diplomacy works. All sides have made compromises to get this agreement. If we renege, Iran will be free to walk away with the money it received when international sanctions were lifted and the right to develop its own nuclear weapons. We will also not be able to marshal the international community to help negotiate and enforce any future deal.  

“One of the most devastating consequences of his decision will be the damage to American leadership. The announcement indicates to our allies that the United States will not keep its promises and that it doesn’t take nuclear nonproliferation seriously. I met with Former Secretaries Kerry and Moniz and Ambassadors from the UK, EU, France, and Germany earlier this week. They all agree it would be a tragic mistake for the United States to weaken the agreement. If we walk away while Iran has kept its end of the bargain, America will be on its own.

“Trump’s disdain for this carefully crafted framework also sends a clear signal to North Korea that it makes no sense to negotiate with the United States. If he turns his back on an agreement that Iran has upheld, why should North Korea ever come to the negotiating table? 

“Now, Congress has 60 days to decide whether it will act to reinstate the sanctions that were lifted under the nuclear deal. Sadly, already the damage to our reputation and credibility has been inflicted. Trump has empowered Iranian hardliners, isolated our European partners, and undermined global confidence in the United States. It is said credibility takes a lifetime to build and only moments to destroy. So it is with our country’s reputation. These damaging actions will not be easily reversed. Why hand Iran this victory?”