On Thursday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) reiterated its support for restoring the JCPOA and encouraged fellow Members of Congress to support a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.
The caucus’ leader, Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), said, “The JCPOA was a landmark achievement in international diplomacy that eliminated both the risk of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and drastically reduced the threat of war with Iran,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), the caucus’ leader, in a statement published on Twitter. “We urge our colleagues in Congress and advocates across the country to join us: not in placing unreasonable conditions or constraints on the lifesaving work of diplomacy, but in supporting efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution.”
The CPC’s statement also references polling released Wednesday by Data for Progress, which showed 67% of American voters supporting re-entry into the nuclear agreement and 78% preferring diplomacy over war in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.
The statement comes the same week that indirect negotiations between the parties resumed after months of talks stalling. Negotiators from all major parties, including U.S. Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley, EU mediator Enrique Mora, and Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, arrived in Vienna in what appears to be a last-ditch effort to revive the nuclear agreement.
After the JCPOA was implemented under the Obama administration, Iran’s nuclear program was heavily restricted and subject to 24/7 video monitoring and comprehensive inspections. Highly enriched uranium was shipped out of the country and its nuclear program was subject to one of the strictest, most intrusive inspections regimes in history. The country’s breakout time — the length of time it would take to accumulate enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb — was extended from 2-3 weeks to over a year.
In 2018, President Trump withdrew from the agreement, despite dissent from American military and intelligence leaders. Since then, Iran has increased nuclear activity, ramped up enrichment beyond the deal’s limits and started turning off cameras and restricting inspection access. According to nonproliferation experts, Iran’s current breakout time is merely a matter of weeks.
Despite the urgency, efforts to revive the deal have proved futile thus far. Negotiations have failed to bridge gaps between the two sides — including Iran’s insistence that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) be delisted as a foreign terror organization. The designation — which experts have said is mostly symbolic — was made by Trump in 2019 with the intention of derailing future attempts to restore the deal.
According to Malley, the US remains committed to reviving the JCPOA, but said “our expectations are in check,” referring to this latest round of negotiations.