Senator Maria Cantwell’s Statement on Iran Nuclear Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement after a classified briefing with U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz to discuss details of the agreement:

Congress has an important oversight role over all aspects of our government, its actions, and its international commitments.  I take seriously the responsibility to review the Joint Compressive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and consider what this historic deal means for the national security of the United States and the future of the Middle East.  In reviewing this deal and evaluating its implications, I have received numerous briefings including classified briefings from administration officials, nuclear scientists, foreign policy experts, and my constituents. 

I have decided to support the agreement because this agreement pushes Iran further away from a nuclear weapons threshold.

Because the agreement calls for the reduction of highly enriched uranium stockpiles, bringing centrifuges offline and converting key nuclear infrastructure to civilian use, including its nuclear reactors, it moves Iran’s breakout time from two months to one year. 

Additionally, Iran will be required to allow international monitoring into all supply chains for goods and materials used for its civilian nuclear program. 

Iran has committed to never build a nuclear weapon and to abstain from weaponization activities.  This agreement with Iran was reached by not only the United States, but by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, China, and Russia.  The agreement has been unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.  It puts the United States and the world community in a stronger position to take any action necessary if Iran violates this agreement.

To verify Iran’s compliance, and to ensure transparency and accountability, the agreement will provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with unprecedented access to monitor and inspect Iran’s activities. Through use of the most advanced monitoring technologies, including mobile detection technology, real-time analytics, data integration and authentication capabilities, we have the technology to effectively monitor Iran’s activities.  Our intelligence agencies will be watching closely and the United States will lead the international community to take strong action if Iran breaks its promises. 

At the end of the debate, I support this agreement because its structure ensures Iran will be less likely to break out. 

The United States must work with the international community to continue to strengthen the global non-proliferation system to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear power by all countries that are party to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the NPT). As Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I plan to continue a dialogue with Secretary Moniz, our national laboratories, and non-proliferation experts about what more can be done to strengthen existing safeguards and agreements. We must continue to invest in the tools and technologies that increase the efficiency of how we implement these safeguards. In combination, these capabilities support verification of existing agreements, as well as inform strategies for projected future threats. 

I will encourage the President and the next administration to continue to press forward on preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that still threaten our world.  

Separate and apart from the nuclear agreement, the United States must remain committed to holding Iran accountable for its behavior in the region – for human rights abuses and for any support of terrorism for which Iran ultimately may be responsible – through the U.S. sanctions that will remain in place.  Nothing in the JCPOA prohibits or in any way limits the ability of the United States to take these actions.  The global community should do the same.