Clarke: Why I support the Iran nuclear deal

Clarke appointed to House Energy and Commerce Committee

Under criticism in some quarters of the community for her support of the Iran nuclear deal, Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has sought to explain comprehensively her position on the issue.

Clarke, who represents the Ninth Congressional District in Brooklyn, said on Monday that after several weeks of briefings, analysis, consultation, and conversation, she has concluded that the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the “most effective means by which the United States and her allies can achieve the goal of preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weaponry.”

The plan is an international agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, China, the European Union, and Iran.

Clarke said the deal will set new rules of engagement regarding nuclear capabilities with one of the world’s “most hostile and menacing regimes.

“As one of the premier state sponsors of terrorism in the world, the Iranian regime has made its intentions clear through words and actions that it will, if left unchecked, create a nuclear weapon,” she said.

“The Iranian regime has the knowledge base resident with their scientists of how to build and create such weaponry; they have the materials and infrastructure to do so,” she added.

“By all accounts, the Iranian regime’s nuclear program is currently two-to-three months away from its goal of completing its uranium enrichment program, producing enough enriched uranium to make good on its threat to create a nuclear bomb. Iran is on the verge of creating a nuclear bomb, right now. The JCPOA provides a pathway that holds great potential to forever change this reality.

“The JCPOA was crafted by the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, the Russian Federation and Iran. The high-stakes multi-lateral diplomatic negotiations that produced this plan of action were unprecedented in its scope of cooperation and agreement – the sole intent being to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” the Brooklyn congresswoman continued.

“The resulting product of several years of painstaking multi-lateral negotiations, its singular focus and purpose is to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb,” she said. “It provides that Iran will reduce its supply of enriched uranium, dismantle and dispose of stockpiled materials and all related nuclear infrastructure, in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions. The goal of the agreement is to ensure that through transparent and intrusive inspection and extensive verification, that Iran’s nuclear program is methodically dismantled and reduced to an exclusively peaceful capability.”

Through this agreement, Clarke noted that Iran must allow full access, at all times, to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to monitor every aspect of its nuclear supply chain, to verify that it fulfills its pledge not to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon.

Under the deal, inspectors will be able to access and monitor all sites where necessary, when necessary to ensure Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

Only when Iran has fully implemented the agreement will the economic sanctions be removed, Clarke noted.

“I am emphatic in my belief that the community of nations must not allow the Iranian regime to acquire a nuclear weapon that threatens the State of Israel, the United States, and our allies around the world,” she said.

“We are all keenly aware that by virtue of proximity and statements made by leadership in Iran that the existential threat that the regime poses to Israel, to other allies in the Middle East, to our nation and the world as we know it is very real,” she added.

With the plan, Clarke said “a vehicle” is now in place “through which to eliminate the threat of an Iranian regime armed with nuclear weapons and the nuclear arms race that would certainly ensue as result of such an act.”

Clarke urged President Obama and Congress to continue to work with allies to prevent Iran from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons now and at any time in the future.

“Notwithstanding the timelines set forth in this agreement and based upon the actions taken by the United States Congress and the Obama Administration, I have no doubt that the United States and her allies are quite capable of exercising any and all prerogatives deemed necessary to protect and defend our nation and our allies should there be even the slightest deviation or breach in the terms and conditions of the agreement,” she said.

“During this time, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and President Obama, members of his administration to bolster and uphold the security of our nation and of our allies around the world,” she added.

“I voted for the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which increased sanctions on Iran in an effort to convince the Iranian regime to discontinue and abandon their development of nuclear weapons,” Clarke continued. “Indeed these sanctions, in concert with International sanctions, are credited with bringing about the agreement that is before us today.”