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Senator Ed Markey: We Must Support Re-entry Into Good Iran Nuclear Deal

Watch the Senator's Speech on the Senate Floor

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey took to the Senate floor Thursday to urge his Congressional colleagues and all Americans to support President Biden’s efforts to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

“President Barack Obama crafted the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon,” Senator Markey said “and he was right to prioritize diplomacy.” Markey noted that the historic agreement strengthened US national security and avoided another catastrophic conflict in the Middle East. 

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.

“Donald Trump’s unilateral exit from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 created a nuclear crisis where one did not exist,” Markey said. “Ever since that withdrawal, Iran has crept closer to a bomb, restricted access to international inspectors, and set us on a potential collision course to war.”

Since President Trump’s withdrawal, Iran has increased nuclear activity, ramped up enrichment beyond the deal’s limits and started turning off cameras and restricting inspection access.

“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.”

An agreement to restore the JCPOA may be subject to congressional review under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). President Biden can secure a potential deal’s implementation with more than one-third of either chamber’s support, but a return to the deal is likely to face opposition from the same right-wing groups and hawks who opposed the original deal.

“The beauty of having this argument a second time is that we actually have the facts from the first time — the real-world experience both that the policy was good and that the politics didn’t hurt anybody who supported it,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, told the New York Times in February.

No Democrats who voted to support the 2015 deal lost elections in congressional midterm elections a year later, Ben-Ami told the Times. “And yet, here we are in 2022, going back and having the exact same argument.”

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