There’s Sufficient Support in Congress for Nuclear Deal

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tehran Times Exclusive Interview with Daryl Kimball
By: Javad Heirannia

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, says “there is sufficient support in Congress” for the nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 group and a “diplomatic victory for both sides.”

“There will be a sufficient number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate who will lend their support and allow for the implementation of the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal,” Kimball tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

Following is the full of the interview:

Q: Will the U.S. Congress revoke the nuclear deal with Iran?

A: First, it is important to underscore that the P5+1 and Iran nuclear agreement is a diplomatic victory for both sides. It provides the means to assure the international community that Iran’s ongoing nuclear program is peaceful and is commensurate with, but does not exceed, its practical nuclear energy and medical isotope needs and it provides a clear pathway for the removal of international nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, which can help Iran’s economic and social development in the years ahead. It strengthens the global effort to avoid the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and opens the way to new possibilities for Iran, its people and the region.

The sanctions relief that Iran will receive in return as it meets its key nuclear restrictions and nonproliferation commitments also serves as an incentive for Tehran to follow through on its obligations in the long term. We hope the government of Iran will use the economic benefits to advance the welfare and health of its people rather than spend it on the weapons of war.

Here in the United States, there is popular support from the American people for this diplomatic solution, but there is an intense debate in the U.S. Congress on the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal. This debate will last several weeks and into September, but in the end we are confident there will not be enough opposition to prevent U.S implementation of the agreement.

Some in the U.S. Congress will be critical because they would like to have seen a better deal, some would prefer no deal, and some simply cannot contemplate an agreement with a country with which we have had such a troubled history. Some will oppose it because they dislike President Barack Obama. Neither side got everything they wanted, but each compromised enough to get to “yes” and still achieve their core goals and national objectives. That is how diplomacy works and that is why it is a win-win deal. Many members of our Congress, just like some opponents to the agreement in Iran, don’t understand this.

Q: What would be the reactions at home and abroad if Congress annuls the deal? And how can it affect the Republicans’ bid for the White House?

A: We, along with the administration of President Barack Obama, are confident that there will a sufficient number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate who will lend their support and allow for the implementation of the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal. Over the next several weeks, members of Congress will carefully examine the details of this agreement, get answers to their many questions about the details, and they will consider its value and they will also consider the unpleasant alternatives. When these members of Congress review the details, we believe they will come to understand that it is a balanced and fair deal that addresses their concerns and is sustainable because it is fair to Iran. It also provides the means for both sides to ensure the other meets their respective obligations in the years ahead.

How it affects the presidential election is yet to be determined. For now, the Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, strongly support the agreement. The Republican presidential candidates do not. Even if one of the Republican candidates wins the 2016 presidential election, they will find it difficult to “walk away” from the agreement and will likely come to recognize that the agreement is in the U.S. national security interest, if only because “walking away” would bring very negative consequences for the United States and international security.

Q: On July 20 the U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed the Iran nuclear deal. What are the legal implications of the resolution for both sides of the deal?

A: The adoption of a new UN Security Council resolution codifying the P5+1 and Iran agreement is important because it will replace and suspend the previous six UN Security Council resolutions which were imposed in response to concerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program and which were designed to bring about a fair diplomatic solution. This resolution will be binding on all parties, including the United States, and it will clarify how disputes about the implementation of the deal are resolved and what the consequences of serious noncompliance with its terms would be.

Q: What will happen to the deal if Congress revokes it?

A: If Congress somehow blocks implementation of this hard-won, balanced and effective multilateral deal, the United States will have broken from its European allies, the necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions would melt away, Iran would be able to rapidly and significantly expand its capacity to produce bomb-grade material; we would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons effort. The future of the agreement would be in serious jeopardy.

However, I want to emphasize that this is a very unlikely outcome because at this time, there is sufficient support in Congress for the agreement and not enough support to block implementation steps that will be taken by the United States. My organization and many others will be working to ensure this win-win agreement moves forward in the months and years ahead and we hope and expect that responsible Iranian leaders and citizens will do the same.

Source: Tehran Times

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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