Clyburn Floor Statement On Iran Nuclear Deal

Sep 11, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (SC) delivered the following statement on the Iran nuclear deal on the House floor today:

“I rise today in strong support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated between the United States, the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, the European Union, and Iran.  I support this deal because it is the best available option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, an outcome that all of us agree must be prevented.

“The opponents of this agreement say that Iran supports terrorism.  I don’t disagree with that.  This deal, though, is about only one issue—the issue that the entire world agrees is by far the most pressing—preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  It is precisely because Iran is so nefarious that this deal is so important.  Dangerous as Iran is and may remain, Iran would be far more dangerous if they acquired a nuclear weapon.  This deal is the best way to prevent that unacceptable outcome.

“The opponents of this agreement say that we can’t trust the Iranians to abide by the agreement’s strict restrictions on their nuclear program.  That may be true, and I wouldn’t be supporting the agreement if it required us to trust the Iranians.  But it doesn’t.  This deal is built around the strictest verifications ever devised.  If Iran tries to dash toward a bomb, we will be much more likely to catch them using the verification procedures under the deal than we would be without a deal. 

“With this deal in place, if we do catch Iran dashing toward a nuclear weapon, all options will be on the table to stop them.  But military force must always be a last resort.  I have not heard any of the opponents of this agreement present any realistic diplomatic alternative that would be anywhere near as likely to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  If we reject this deal, military action will become more likely.

“Whenever we send Americans into harm’s way, we must be able to look them and their families in the eye and honestly tell them that we exhausted every other option.  This deal is a diplomatic option we must exhaust.  The deal’s opponents present no other.

“The late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said, ‘You don’t make peace with friends.  You make it with very unsavory enemies.’  We are now faced with three choices: this deal, a drastically increased likelihood of military confrontation, or a nuclear Iran.  I support this deal.  I urge my colleagues to join me.”