September 11, 2015
Contact: Dan Weber

Edwards Floor Statement In Support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 3461, to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action relating to the nuclear program of Iran. The bill failed in the House by a vote of 162-269.  Below are Rep. Edwards’ remarks. 
“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the resolution approving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding the nuclear program of Iran negotiated by the Obama administration in concert with five other nations, the P5+1.
“I want to commend President Obama’s Secretary Kerry, Under Secretary Sherman, Secretary Moniz, and their teams for their leadership and continued, persistent engagement with our international partners and Members of Congress to make this moment possible.
“None of us comes to this decision lightly. It is perhaps the most important decision of our public life, no matter what decision we come to.
“But after reading the agreement and the classified and unclassified underlying documents, taking part in numerous briefings at the White House and here on Capitol Hill, meeting with constituents, and studying the analyses of experts, I am confident that this strong diplomatic achievement provides the only option that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, by some estimates, in as few as 2 to 3 months. This is not achieved by trust, Mr. Speaker, but through verification.
“Mr. Speaker, after 14 years of continuous military engagement for our armed services, this agreement cuts off all pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon and does so without unnecessarily risking American lives in yet another military action, even as the agreement preserves that ultimate option, should it become necessary in the event of Iran’s default.
“This agreement sends a clear message to Iran that the global community stands united today and well into the future in ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. 
“Much has been said of Iran’s capacity after 10 to 15 years. And even there, the agreement places Iran in the confines of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, just as the rest of us are. 
“If Iran violates the agreement, they will, without question, face complete isolation, even more severe repercussions, and the U.S. retains our ability to engage unilateral sanctions and our military option. 
“It is true that this agreement is not perfect. But if this agreement does not go forward, there is no better deal, Mr. Speaker. In fact, there is no deal. No sanctions, no international partners, no inspections, no deal. This is a negotiation which is, by definition, not perfect.
“It is my hope that we will divorce ourselves from the hyperbole and the rhetoric in favor of the seriousness this issue deserves. I have concluded that the agreement is the best path forward. 
“This is not just my considered judgment; it is the judgment of the highest levels of the military, nonproliferation experts, nuclear scientists, and our diplomatic partners who join in their overwhelming support of the agreement.
“As a Congress, we can only do our best and our part to move forward to provide the necessary resources for proper oversight to ensure effective monitoring and aggressive verification. If Iran cheats, we will know it; we will know it quickly, and we will act decisively.
“Once again, the world turned to the United States for our leadership on dealing with Iran and its nuclear program. This agreement, reached through rigorous diplomacy, in conjunction with our partners, provides the tools we need to ensure a pathway to peace and security for the United States, for Israel, the region, and the world.
“I will vote to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”