Doyle Announces Support for Nuclear Deal
September 1, 2015
Washington, D.C. – September 1, 2015 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) announced today that he supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under which the government of Iran would stop pursuing the material and technology needed to produce nuclear weapons.
Congressman Doyle made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today. Here is the op-ed he submitted to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Mike Doyle: Why I will vote for the Iran deal
It’s the best chance we’ll have to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon
When Congress returns, we will face one of the most serious global security decisions since the Iraq war vote.
Today, Iran has the uranium and enrichment capacity (20,000 centrifuges) it needs to produce the fuel for 8 to 10 nuclear bombs within 2-3 months. Iran has gotten this close to a bomb despite strong international sanctions that have crippled its economy.
We all share a common objective: preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The question before Congress is whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the best way to achieve that goal.
I’ve approached this decision the same way I did when I decided to oppose the war in Iraq – without regard for partisan politics. I’ve read the JCPOA, attended classified briefings, spoken to our lead technical expert, Secretary of Energy Moniz, and our lead negotiator, Secretary of State Kerry – and I’ve met with constituents who hold passionate views on both sides of the issue.
After consideration of all the analyses and arguments for and against, and after much reflection, I have concluded that the JCPOA, while not perfect, gives us the best chance of stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The JCPOA includes a direct commitment by Iran to never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon. The agreement also includes a permanent ban on Iranian development of key nuclear weaponization capabilities.
Iran needs enriched uranium or plutonium to make a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA blocks both of these pathways. This agreement requires Iran to reduce its stockpile of uranium by 98% and to mothball 75% of its centrifuges. The 300 kg of uranium Iran will keep will not be weapons grade, nor will it be enough to make a weapon. The centrifuges that will be left in operation will be the least efficient, and Iran has agreed that all its centrifuges will be constantly monitored for the next 20 years.
The only site where Iran could produce weapons-grade plutonium is the Arak nuclear reactor. Under the JCPOA, this reactor will be rebuilt so it cannot produce any weapons-grade plutonium, and all its spent fuel rods, a source of weapons-grade plutonium, will be sent out of the country. In addition, the JCPOA prohibits Iran from building another such reactor for at least 15 years.
Finally, under this agreement Iran has committed to extraordinarily intrusive monitoring and inspection. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will not only be monitoring every element of Iran’s declared nuclear program, but they will be verifying that no nuclear material is covertly diverted to a secret location to build a bomb. Iran has agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to inspect any site they deem suspicious.
If, and only if, Iran complies with these steps, which is likely to take nearly a year, will international sanctions be suspended and $56 billion of Iranian funds that are currently frozen in foreign banks be released. If Iran violates the terms of the deal, sanctions can be “snapped back” into place quickly. Nothing in the agreement stops this President or any future President from using all available options should Iran try to build a nuclear weapon.
This agreement is not based on trust, but on strong verification requirements. All of Iran’s nuclear facilities – as well as its entire nuclear supply chain – will be under 24/7 human, photographic, and electronic surveillance for 20 years. This gives the United States and our partners unprecedented access, intelligence, time, and options to respond should we suspect that Iran has violated this agreement.
I have no doubt that Iran will remain a hostile regime and pose a significant threat to the United States, Israel, and our allies, but this agreement serves to take the greatest threat off the table, namely Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to Israel and the United States. This agreement will make Israel and America safer.
Many who oppose this agreement have called for a “better deal.” This alternative refers to the United States threatening to deny our closest economic and diplomatic allies access to the American economy unless they re-impose sanctions. This is a far-fetched and self-destructive strategy; 40% of our exports go to those countries, and we’d destroy American jobs and devastate our economy with that approach. Our trading partners know we’d never risk that. This is clearly not a realistic alternative.
During my service in Congress, I have always believed that we must pursue diplomacy before confrontation, and that war should always be a last resort. I cannot ask the sons and daughters of the families I represent to fight a war without being able to look them in the eye and tell them we have exhausted all available diplomatic means. Congress should give this agreement a chance to work, and I intend to support it.
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