More than 40 former government officials and leading nonproliferation experts issued a joint statement Thursday calling for the US to urgently return to compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.
“The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an effective, verifiable agreement that successfully addressed a decades-long crisis over Iran’s nuclear program and is a net plus for international and US nuclear nonproliferation efforts,” the group wrote. “We strongly encourage the prompt and successful conclusion of negotiations involving US and Iranian diplomats in coordination with the other parties to the JCPOA to restore Iranian and US compliance with the 2015 agreement.”
Signatories included former Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney, former US Ambassador to the UN Thomas Pickering, and former IAEA official Tariq Rauf.
The group wrote that as a result of President Trump’s abandonment of the Iran deal and his failed “maximum pressure” approach, Iran now has the capacity to develop the requisite fissile material for a nuclear bomb in a matter of weeks. Reinstating the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that were in place under the deal is an urgent priority, they said.
“The United States’ exit from the JCPOA and its campaign to increase sanctions pressure on Iran…opened the way for Iran to take steps breach the JCPOA’s nuclear limits and accelerate its capacity to produce bomb-grade nuclear material.” the group wrote.
The statement comes at a time when numerous lawmakers have spoken out about the current status of negotiations. In a speech on the Senate Floor last month, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey implored his colleagues to back the restoration of the JCPOA.
“We have to move further away from the threat of a nuclear catastrophe, not get closer to it,” Markey said. “And that is why we must support a re-entry into a good Iran nuclear deal.”