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Rep. Zeldin Calls on Administration to Not Recertify the Iran Nuclear Deal

October 10, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today urging President Donald Trump to not recertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Nuclear Deal. As part of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–17), which was passed and signed into law last Congress, in order for the deal to be continued, every 90 days, the current administration must recertify that Iran is fully implementing the agreement, and that the suspension of sanctions is both proportionate to the measures taken by Iran to end its illicit nuclear weapons program and vital to protect U.S. national security. The next certification is due to Congress this week, on October 15th.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, is not in America’s best interests, and President Trump should not recertify this so-called ‘deal’. The JCPOA is not a blueprint for how to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. It is the pathway for exactly how Iran can acquire a nuclear weapon. This is deeply flawed, one-sided deal, which did not even require a signature, provides up to $150 billion in sanctions relief, propping up the wrong regime, without addressing any of Iran’s other bad activities, including overthrowing foreign governments, illegally test firing Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles, blowing up mock U.S. warships, seizing one of our naval vessels and subsequently holding hostage and publicly embarrassing 10 American sailors, pledging to wipe Israel off the map, and chanting Death to America in their streets on their holidays, all while unjustly imprisoning American citizens. Iranian aggression in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere is only making matters much worse since the JCPOA was entered into. All of the leverage that brought the Iranians to the table has been negotiated away, leaving no ability to deal with Iran’s other bad activities.

President Obama declared that this deal wasn’t built on trust; it was built on verification, but I have not met a single American who has read the verification regime entered into between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran. Last Congress, I questioned former Secretary of State John Kerry about the JCPOA at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, and even he admitted he hadn’t read it. You cannot support a deal based on verification when you don’t even know what the verification is. What we do know is that no U.S. weapons inspectors are allowed on the inspection teams, and Iran is able to inspect some of their own nuclear sites and collect their own soil samples. They are also not permitting the necessary access to their military sites, which the IAEA recently asserted as preventing verification that Iran is complying with key terms of the agreement.

If Iran wants to save the JCPOA, the regime will need to step up to the plate and help turn this into a reasonable agreement. The verification regime must become adequate and transparent and many of Iran’s other bad activities will need to cease. If Iran does not want to save the JCPOA then the sanctions should immediately ramp back up. I am confident that our great partners abroad recognize the urgency of supporting this necessary course correction.

A better deal was necessary and obtainable. Even no deal would have been better than this particular arrangement. I strongly encourage President Trump to not recertify the terribly flawed JCPOA.”