Congressman Cohen to Support Multilateral Agreement to Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons

August 19, 2015
Press Release

[MEMPHIS, TN] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today issued the following statement announcing that he will support the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to prevent a nuclear weapons-equipped Iran:

“I know that, by supporting this agreement in Congress, many longtime—even lifelong—friends will be disappointed but I hope they will understand that it is the result of careful consideration and countless classified briefings as well as meetings with officials at the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the agency responsible for enforcing the agreement’s historically robust inspections regime.

“I’ve also spoken personally with President Obama and Secretary Kerry about the agreement, met with U.S Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Dan Baer and numerous European as well as Asian officials and diplomats, listened closely to hundreds of constituents who oppose and support it, and have seriously weighed all the information I have obtained.

“The ultimate goal of any agreement, and any vote supporting or opposing it, must be to ensure that Iran never has a nuclear weapon and that the United States and its allies, indeed the world, are safe from such a potentially disastrous outcome. But we must also recognize that, by definition, any negotiated agreement will not be perfect—it is the result of compromise on both sides and perfection simply isn’t an option.

“This agreement will verifiably reduce Iranian stockpiles of enriched uranium by 98% and convert their nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes while dismantling excess centrifuges used to enrich nuclear material. Many of the world’s leading physicists recently declared it an ‘innovative agreement,’ and that its ‘much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework…can serve as a guidepost for future non-proliferation agreements.’

“Through my intense study of this agreement, I am convinced that it is the most effective way to ensure Iran cannot build a nuclear weapon. The agreement represents global consensus on that point as well, and its long term success relies on the ongoing support and hard work of all involved nations, who I am convinced will continue to work together to guarantee compliance.

“If the United States does not follow through with this multilateral agreement, it would not only damage our nation’s global leadership, but result in a much more nuclear-capable Iran free to proceed as they wish without the thorough oversight this agreement allows. It would result in an Iran that might only be stopped through war—a catastrophic consequence for the United States, Israel, and the entire world. This agreement will make the world safer from nuclear attack, and it is a far better option than simply doing nothing.”

Congressman Cohen is a Commissioner of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission. The Helsinki Commission is an independent U.S. Government agency created in 1976 to monitor and encourage compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments in 57 participating States across Europe, Central Asia and North America. It consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine members from the U.S. House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.