Memo: Standing in Solidarity with the Iranian People

As Iranians protest in the largest numbers since the disputed 2009 Iranian Presidential election that sparked the Green Movement, many lawmakers are wondering how to stand with Iranians as they bravely make their voices heard. To do so, it is important to recognize that policymakers in Washington will have limited ability to positively impact the ultimate outcome of protests that are Iranian in origin and will ultimately be decided by Iranians. Outside of expressions of moral support, Iranians have not asked for U.S. assistance and many believe that calls for regime change or revolution from the U.S. or other states will hurt the people’s cause and assist in the government’s ability to crack down.

With this in mind, we encourage Congress to take the following practical steps to stand with the Iranian people:

  1. Take immediate action to rescind the Muslim ban, which bars Iranians from traveling to the United States; in order to take a stand in solidarity with the Iranian people, the U.S. must address the enormous trust deficit that Donald Trump has with Iranians. The Muslim Ban that primarily targets Iranians and, combined with antagonistic rhetoric such as his blaming Iran for an ISIS terror attack in the country, Iranians do not believe that Trump or his administration have their best interests in mind. In order to credibly stand with the Iranian people, it is important that policies like the Muslim Ban are rescinded. 
  2. Condemn violence and human rights abuses perpetrated by Iran’s government and call on the Iranian government to honor its human rights obligations, including the right to free speech and peaceful assembly;  
  3. Encourage the Administration to responsibly implement targeted human rights sanctions against violators in Iran’s government under the authorities Congress granted to the President in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act of 2010 and the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012;
  4. Ensure that communications technology is available to Iranians, including by encouraging applications to continue operating inside Iran and also taking necessary steps to ensure U.S. sanctions do not prevent other helpful tools from being utilized by Iranians; between 2009 and 2016, the U.S. took steps to lift sanctions on important tools that have helped enable Iranians to communicate freely – including applications, smartphones, and services. Further steps can be taken to ensure tech companies make these tools available to Iranians.
  5. Uphold the Iran nuclear deal and highlight the sanctions relief granted under the agreement that should benefit ordinary Iranians. President Trump and his administration will face key decisions in the weeks ahead on whether or not to extend sanctions waivers under the Iran nuclear deal and on whether to certify the accord under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. Congress must warn Trump against callously shredding the deal, which would threaten to empower hardline elements in Iran and undermine U.S. security interests.

 

Members of Congress Welcome the Iran Deal

Dozens of Members of Congress have issued statements welcoming the announcement of a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran:

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)

“The historic agreement reached today proves the power of engagement over isolation — we can choose peace over war. The world is safer thanks to the patient diplomacy and determination of President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and our P5+1 negotiating partners. In the coming weeks, the focus will be on the U.S. Congress to see if Republicans take this deal away from the world. We will stop those who want to push us closer to war.” >> Full statement

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA):

Today President Obama announced  an historic agreement with Iran negotiated by Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz, and the other P5+1 nations.  Over the next few months, I look forward to reviewing the details of the proposed agreement with my congressional colleagues.

The United States is under no illusion about the threat that a nuclear Iran poses to the global community.  Continuing to operate in the dark, however, is unsustainable.  An agreement that makes the process of demilitarization and nuclear disarmament more transparent, in the long-term, can lead to greater national security for all members of the world community. >> Full Statement

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):

“Two years ago, the United States and the other P5+1 nations began negotiating with the Republic of Iran with the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I applaud President Obama and his team for their effort to achieve this vital objective at the negotiating table. In the days ahead, I will carefully review and scrutinize this more than 80-page agreement to determine whether it meets that goal. In doing so, I intend to confer with people with competing views and perspectives. I will then exercise my best judgment as to whether the agreement achieves its goal and serves the best interests of the United States and our friends and allies. If we can achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon through peaceful means, it would be a very welcome result.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA):

“I congratulate President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for completing the P5+1 negotiations and achieving a final proposed agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Over the next several weeks, I look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement and becoming further informed through classified briefings, experts in the field, and considering the views and analyses of concerned stakeholders. I will carefully weigh all of this information and form my own judgments on whether the agreement adequately addresses the security interests of the United States and our allies, including, Israel in blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. I will compare the agreement against the realistic alternatives available to us if the agreement is rejected. I expect to take full advantage of the 60-day review period before deciding how to vote on this important matter.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT):

“I commend President Obama and Secretaries Kerry and Moniz on their leadership in reaching a comprehensive agreement. As I begin to review the agreement, my priority is ensuring that this deal can verifiably prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. As with any nuclear arms deal, we must evaluate this proposal not based on trust and faith, but on cold, hard analysis of what best advances the national security interests of the United States and what best enhances global stability.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT):

“The agreement announced this morning is the result of two years of negotiations over profoundly important issues of national security. Under no circumstances should anyone rush to judgment. Those who do show their lack of bona fides. Over the coming days, I will review the full agreement, solicit input from experts and my constituents, and will support or reject the deal based on the best security interests of the United States, Israel, and our allies. I will now focus in particular on the strength of the proposed verification regime, the mechanisms for accountability if Iran cheats, and the scenarios should Congress reject this deal.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV):

“With the announcement today of an agreement with Iran, I stand strong in the belief that no deal is better than a bad deal and a nuclear-armed Iran is simply unacceptable. As I join my colleagues in closely examining the details of the agreement, I want to commend the Obama Administration for their diplomatic efforts and tireless work through the negotiations.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA):

“The proposed agreement with Iran is historic, with the power to shape not only the Middle East but the entire world. As a dad of two little girls, I want us to take a path that will make it less likely that Iran ever develops a nuclear weapon and that protects America and its allies abroad. With that in mind, my sincere hope is that all members of Congress will take a deep breath, review the details of this accord, and make a fully informed judgment. I intend to use the next sixty days to carefully review this agreement to make sure it puts us on a path toward a safer and more peaceful world.” >> Full Statement

Del. Eleanor Homes-Norton (D-DC)

During the question period, I asked Secretary Clinton about the anticipated opposition to the nuclear deal and how it should be handled.  I told her I thought the deal would be difficult to attack head-on considering its air-tight qualities, such as continuous international monitoring of Iraq’s nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency, daily access to all facilities, including military facilities, among others.  I added that arguments about Iran cheating appear to be met with mandatory international inspections and monitoring through Iran.  Instead, I said, opponents are likely to switch the basis for their disagreement. >> Full Statement

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL):

“I commend the efforts of President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz and their team in securing a diplomatic agreement with Iran on its nuclear program. To be sure, it is not in the interest of the United States or its allies for Iran to ever develop a nuclear weapon. I agree with President Obama that no deal is better than a bad deal and it is through that prism that I will thoroughly review and evaluate this agreement.  We cannot sign any agreement with Iran based on trust, nor should sanctions be loosed unless Iran meets its obligations and such compliance can be verified. We must remain ever vigilant in our insistence that Iran never reaches nuclear capability.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA):

“Congress must ensure that this deal provides sufficient safeguards to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, including the right measure of sanctions and international inspections to keep Iran in line with the terms of the agreement. While this agreement is an important step toward a more peaceful world we must remain watchful to ensure that Iran continues to act in good faith without deviation.  We should only advance an agreement with Iran that is in our best national interest, and protects the security of the American people – both at home and abroad.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA):

“An agreement to halt nuclear proliferation cannot be built on trust but on verifiable, enforceable requirements. The hard work of President Obama, Secretary John Kerry and Secretary Ernest Moniz has brought us a step closer to an historic opportunity to prevent Iran’s nuclear weapons development. The unity of the international community has made the economic and trade sanctions work in pressuring Iran to negotiate a deal.  >> Full Statement

Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA):

“Today’s historic announcement is a culmination of years of hard work by many people. While initial reports indicate that the agreement is what we sought, in that it prioritizes peace and safety over aggression and isolation, I plan to read the agreement in its entirety, confer with experts and meet with the Administration about how it achieves our goals.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO):

“I am encouraged by the deal reached today with Iran and our international partners.  I will carefully read and review the terms of the agreement over the next 60 days, but I believe this agreement aligns with the initial framework reached several months ago.  We must make sure Iran holds up its end of the bargain at every step of the way through strict verification requirements, but this is a positive step toward reducing the nuclear threat that exists in the Middle East and gives peaceful diplomacy a chance to succeed.” >> Full Statement

Rep. John Larson (D-CT)

“I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz for taking this tremendous step towards addressing one of the biggest international security threats – a nuclear-armed Iran. This is a historic moment, and I look forward to reviewing these details and discussing them with my constituents. To that end, I will be hosting a forum on Sunday, July 19th at the West Hartford Town Hall.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT):

“Secretary of State Kerry, Energy Secretary Moniz, President Obama and all the P5+1 negotiators should be applauded for their tireless dedication that got us to where we are today. In a region where armed conflict is all too common it is critical that we use our strength as an international leader to promote our interests, the security of our allies and prevent a nuclear Iran. We must not allow the proliferation of nuclear weapons, particularly in a region embroiled in turmoil.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI):

“The accord announced in Vienna today marks a watershed moment in our pursuit to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  I will review the final deal to ensure that it effectively prevents Iran from acquiring the material it would need to develop a nuclear bomb, has sufficient limits on Iran’s nuclear weapons-related infrastructure, and that the inspection and transparency regime for holding Iran accountable is robust and will protect the interests of the United States and its allies, especially Israel.  If this is a good deal, it is the first step in a long road to blocking Iran’s access to a nuclear weapon, and we must remain vigilant to ensure Iranian compliance.  Our guiding principle must continue to be distrust but verify.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-MA):

“I have always hoped for a negotiated resolution to the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The general outlines of the deal, made public this morning, appear reasonable and encouraging. However, I will carefully review the details and discuss the scientific aspects of the agreement with qualified scientists. I have never expected a perfect agreement because that is an impossible standard. For me, the most important question is, if this deal is not acceptable, then what does the United States do next? Some argue for continued sanctions but it’s clear to me that Russia and China won’t go along with that. Moreover, I fear Europe would not support the U.S. in continued sanctions so we would be left with unilateral sanctions and historically these have been ineffectual. Nor do I think a military option is prudent or feasible at this time. Congress has 60 days to review this agreement and I will carefully consider all aspects of it before making a final decision.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI):

“I would like to thank President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the countless U.S. officials who have been dedicated to this crucial task over the past two years. While Congress has a great deal of work ahead regarding the review of this agreement, we must not fail to recognize the historic achievement made today. I congratulate all those involved for their valiant efforts to stabilize the Gulf region and pave the path for peace and prosperity for the United States, for Israel, and for the world.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX):

“Negotiations have already made our families safer.   While demanding thorough scrutiny, this agreement appears to mark genuine progress for all who believe that peace will make us more secure than war with Iran.  The bomb-Iran naysayers for whom the only good deal is a dead deal will unceasingly raise obstacles, but ultimately reason will prevail and the President’s leadership will be sustained.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA):

“This is an historic accomplishment for President Obama, Secretary Kerry, the American negotiators, and the diplomatic process to prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions. I commend our diplomats for skillfully averting a global showdown and blocking Iran’s efforts to obtain the bomb.”

“We cannot allow a nuclear Iran and this deal will serve as a lasting deterrent to keep the United States out of another devastating war in the Middle East.  Now I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure this deal goes forward unhindered.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT):

“It is essential to America’s national security and to stability in the Middle East that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.  The United States and our allies have two options to achieve this vital objective – a diplomatic agreement, or military action.  Preventing a nuclear Iran through a verifiable and enforceable diplomatic solution is far preferable to yet another war in the region.  No one should doubt that Iran is a bad actor. It will not change its behavior overnight.  But it is far superior for America and our allies to challenge the belligerent foreign policy and human rights record of a non-nuclear Iran than one in possession of nuclear weapons.  I am optimistic, based on early reports, that the agreement announced this morning by President Obama includes aggressive and intrusive inspections.  And that, should Iran cheat, it will again be slapped with the same tough economic sanctions that brought it to the table in the first place.  I will be reviewing the agreement to confirm these reports and to ensure that it embraces the essential, clear-eyed approach to Iran of ‘distrust and verify’.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX):

“After years of negotiating, the President announced an historic agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program. I believe America and its international partners are taking an important first step in the right direction. In doing so, we are expanding the reach of our nation’s diplomatic powers and hopefully, eliminating the spread of nuclear arms. I applaud President Obama’s commitment to diplomacy and peace-building strategies and commend Secretary John Kerry and Secretary Ernest Moniz for their skilled leadership during the negotiations.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX):

“I commend Secretaries Kerry and Moniz for their tireless efforts negotiating this agreement and for their and President Obama’s steadfast commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This agreement has the potential to position the United States and our allies toward a future of peace and security. Initial readings of the deal’s text indicate it contains stringent accountability measures that protect against the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran. Congress will now have a say in how the United States proceeds, and I hope that my colleagues will take time to thoroughly and thoughtfully evaluate the details of the agreement our negotiators achieved.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO):

“We will carefully scrutinize the terms of this agreement. The stakes are high, and the details of this deal matter. A good deal could bring greater stability to the Middle East, more security throughout the world, and help avoid escalation in the region. Congress has an important responsibility in this process, and playing politics right now is the last thing we need.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

“Americans prefer a diplomatic solution that ensures Iran cannot develop or obtain a nuclear weapon. If early reports are correct, it appears the agreement the U.S. and other U.N. Security Council nations have finally reached with Iran is the kind of durable and verifiable agreement that is far preferable to further escalation and possible military action.”

“I have not seen the details, and look forward to being briefed on its terms. Congress must now review the agreement to ensure that it will cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, and that the sharp limits it imposes on Iran’s nuclear program can be verified by international inspectors. This is one of the most significant national security issues Congress will face in a generation; it should not be subject to the kinds of partisan attacks and political ad wars we have seen in recent months. Congress should give this agreement the careful consideration and serious debate it deserves.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

“It would be ‘a catastrophe’ for us to walk away from the deal.” >> Full statement

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Il)

“The United States, working with our allies, has reached a historic agreement with Iran that, according to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I commend our negotiators for this critical effort. Finding a diplomatic solution will make our country, our allies, and the world a safer place.” >> Full statement

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

“After many years of painstaking negotiations, I am very encouraged by President Obama’s announcement this morning.  Diplomacy is far preferable to war, and if this agreement can achieve its goal and in so doing prevent the United States from being drawn into another open-ended and potentially catastrophic war in the Middle East, that will be a monumental achievement.

“It is unfortunate that some in Congress and elsewhere sought to derail this difficult and extraordinary diplomatic effort from the start, ignoring the fact that Iran’s nuclear program surged ahead despite U.S. sanctions, until these negotiations froze it in place.  The President has been unwavering in his insistence that the goal of this agreement is to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and I applaud him for his vision and his resolve.  It is now up to Members of Congress to carry out their oversight responsibility with hearings and a full debate, before reaching our own conclusions.  We should keep our focus on the national security interests at stake for our country, and for our allies.  To truly serve our national interests and the people we represent, congressional leaders should want to do everything possible to make it work, not to do everything possible to undermine it, even before they have a chance to read it.” >> Full statement

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)

“Today’s historic nuclear agreement between the U.S. and Iran is a major step forward for American diplomacy. This deal is built on the framework reached in April and the product of months of principled negotiation. I commend the President as well as Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz for their courage, determination, and leadership in working with the P5 + 1 partners to make this deal a reality.

“Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is essential to the security of the U.S., the Middle East, and countries around the world. With this agreement we have an opportunity to avert the unthinkable alternative of yet another war in the region and advance the broader goal of containing nuclear weapons globally. Along with my colleagues in Congress, I look forward to carefully reviewing the agreement and having a robust debate.” >> Full statement

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)

“Almost immediately, this agreement- which none of my colleagues has read- has been denounced for any number of reasons. To the harshest critic among us, let me say this. Cool your jets. Let’s read the document. Let’s meet with the Americans who’ve negotiated it and ask them the tough questions that need to be asked. And while we’re doing that, let’s ask ourselves, ‘What are the alternatives?’ At first blush, this agreement appears to track the framework laid out several months ago. If that’s true- and I hope it is- the most critical element of the deal for me is likely to be our ability, and the ability of the world, to verify strict Iranian compliance with the agreement. But for now, let’s hold our fire. Let’s do our homework and, then, engage over the next 60 days in a thoughtful, respectful debate that an opportunity like the one before us deserves. >> Full statement

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)

“The road leading up to tonight’s announcement has been long and arduous, but the P5+1 have returned a strong, verifiable nuclear deal with Iran. While I plan to thoroughly examine the final agreement, the terms announced today are in line with the positive framework agreed to back in April. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ensures that Iran can move forward with an exclusively peaceful nuclear program, subject to an unprecedented level of intrusive and permanent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Our negotiators, led tenaciously by Secretary Kerry and Ambassador Sherman, have shown tremendous grace under pressure. President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif also deserve enormous credit for their resolve and earnest pursuit of an agreement. The U.S. and Iran are burdened by a history of distrust, fraught with dissension and cynicism. Let us hope this nuclear deal proves to be the first stepping stone toward a more peaceful future for us both.” >> Full statement

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)

“I commend Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz and the entire U.S. diplomatic team for their tireless and committed work at these historic negotiations. I plan to carefully examine the language of the proposed agreement and look forward to hearing from our nation’s top current and retired national security leaders about how this agreement will improve regional and global security. We need to ensure that this agreement has the most invasive inspections possible, the most intensive enforcement provisions possible, including expedited ability to reinstate sanctions if Iran violates the agreement, and the most aggressive means to remove the technological capability for Iran to quickly make a nuclear weapon. Our continuing and ultimate goal must always be to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran from ever emerging.” >> Full statement

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

“This agreement is an historic achievement. Three years ago, it was hard to imagine an Iran capable of coming to, and staying, at the negotiating table to make these concessions. Iran has consistently adhered to the Joint Plan of Action, and it appears the agreement aligns with April’s framework. We now have a path to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran that would unravel what little stability remains in the Middle East.” >> Full statement

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)

“This agreement demonstrates the power of American-led diplomacy and establishes a strict and robust monitoring and verification system.  If fully implemented, this deal will help control Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.”

“As President Obama points out, the accord is not built on trust, but on verification.  Any attempt by Iran to break the rules or covertly pursue nuclear weapons must be met with swift, forceful, and decisive action by the United States and the international community. It has taken nearly two years of persistent, rigorous negotiations to reach this point.  President Obama and his negotiating team – at every echelon, including our scientists and nuclear experts – deserve the nation’s thanks.” >> Full statement

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

“Whenever possible, I believe the U.S. should seek to advance our security goals through diplomacy rather than force. The President and his team, particularly Secretary Kerry, deserve tremendous credit for pursuing this diplomatic solution to one of our world’s most pressing security challenges. I now look forward to reviewing the details of the proposed deal in the weeks ahead to determine whether it truly meets our nation’s goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” >> Full statement

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)

“Rejecting this landmark agreement would be a flagrant rejection of the tremendous progress our diplomats and our allies have made to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, and the leadership our country has shown on the international stage.

In the coming weeks, both chambers of Congress are expected to vote on whether or not this agreement moves forward. I will be voting in support of this monumental diplomatic achievement and in support of peace. More than 30 renowned nuclear non-proliferation experts have concluded that the parameters of the deal are a “net plus for non-proliferation.” Additionally, US and Israeli security experts have long called for a negotiated settlement to Iran’s nuclear program.

We have an opportunity to choose peace. It is time for Congress to be on the right side of history.” >> Full statement

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

“As the President has said all along, ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’ However, it is also true that a good deal is better than no deal. It is clear that pursuing these negotiations was the best way to address the dangers that a nuclear Iran poses to the United States and our allies, especially Israel. I am glad that we insisted on giving diplomacy a chance. The alternatives to diplomacy risked tying the United States into another lengthy and costly conflict in the Middle East.”

“This agreement will not solve every problem – and I stand with the President in his pledge to do even more to protect Israel’s security and combat ISIS. But this deal will prevent Iran from posing the most serious problem – a nuclear threat. Now that our negotiators have succeeded, I stand ready to make sure this agreement moves forward.” >> Full statement

Rep. Raúl D. Grijalva (D-AZ)

“The historic agreement struck today between the United States, our allies, and Iran is a triumph of international relations. President Obama, Secretary Kerry and our P5+1 partners have proven that there is a better paradigm for foreign engagement than the constant threat of military action: it’s called diplomacy.  This deal is the responsible way to avert nuclear ambitions, and to ensure that we all share a safer and more peaceful world.” >> Full statement

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

“Today’s announced deal with Iran, if fully implemented, will prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon while ensuring greater stability in the Middle East. I applaud President Obama, Secretary Kerry and our P5+1 partners for their tireless work to obtain a deal that promotes global peace and security. In the coming weeks, the world’s attention will shift from Vienna to the halls of Congress. I hope my Republicans colleagues will put partisan politics aside and support this deal instead of pushing us one step closer to another war.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

“The historic nuclear agreement announced today is the product of years of tough, bold and clear-eyed leadership from President Obama.  I commend the President for his strength throughout the historic negotiations that have led to this point.  I join him in commending Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz for their leadership.

“A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to the United States, unacceptable to Israel, and unacceptable to the world.  Aggressive restrictions and inspections offer the best long-term plan to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon.  Congress will closely review the details of this agreement.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

“I am pleased that the White House worked with Senators Cardin and Corker to ensure that Congress will have the opportunity it deserve to review this agreement. As Congress now turns to the business of examining this agreement with great scrutiny, I want to express my appreciation to the countless U.S. officials who have been working tirelessly on these negotiations.” >> Full Statement

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

“Concluding an agreement will not only promote long-term security in the Middle East, but also remove the short-term specter of a destructive military confrontation. While I plan to meticulously examine the proposed deal and consult closely with administration officials and the intelligence community in in the coming days, we have every reason to believe that this deal will make the Middle East and the broader world safer.”

“The American people have been clear—they strongly prefer a negotiated agreement to the alternative of war and bloodshed.  Today’s announcement is an important step towards achieving peace.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CN)

“The best way to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is through diplomacy, not war. At a time when the Middle East is awash in crippling violence, we have an opportunity to address one of the most dangerous threats to the United States and the region through a negotiation, and I congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and their team for the agreement that was reached today. I know it was a long road.”

“Over the coming hours and days, I will carefully review the terms of the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action ‎to ensure the agreement adequately protects the interests of United States and our allies. And as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I look forward to a congressional review process that is fair and deliberative.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

“I congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the leaders of other major nations for producing a comprehensive agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling and could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East. I look forward to learning more about the complex details of this agreement to make sure that it is effective and strong.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)

“Today’s announcement is a historic step for international cooperation and our shared goal of reducing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. I have always believed that constructive diplomacy is the best way to achieve a safer Middle East, and I congratulate our team of negotiators on reaching this agreement.”

“The next critical step is for Congress to review the agreement, and I will be carefully considering the details, as well as the alternatives. It is vital for Congress to hear from our experts, including those at New Mexico’s national labs, in order to understand how this deal will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. I urge Congress to study the agreement thoughtfully – not with an eye to U.S. politics but on what will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon or the materials to develop one. We all agree that a nuclear-armed Iran is a serious threat that must be prevented. This is the greatest nuclear nonproliferation challenge of our time, and it is a challenge that we must meet.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM):
 
“Preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is absolutely critical to the safety and security of our allies in the Middle East.  We must stop the spread of nuclear weapons.  I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz and our allies for their commitment to halting Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.  Congress must carefully consider the terms of this agreement, and I will take a close look at all of the details.  It is critical that it includes strong safeguards and transparency provisions that hold Iran accountable.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)

“I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the agreement announced today. We cannot let our desire for a deal allow us to accept a bad deal. And we cannot allow politics to stand in the way of a good deal. In the coming days, Congress will have the opportunity to scrutinize the deal presented today. It is my hope that Congress takes advantage of this time to honestly review the deal and determine whether it is in the best interest of the United States to move forward. This potential agreement comes on the heels of a long history of mistrust and cheating by Iran. Consolation with our allies and a strong inspections and verification regime will be vital to the success of this agreement.”

Again, I applaud the Obama Administration for the progress it has made thus far and look forward to reviewing this agreement in far greater detail.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

“Throughout negotiations, I’ve been adamant that the United States must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that hardnosed diplomacy is the preferred means of doing so. Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation, which I supported, that allows the House and Senate to consider this weighty agreement in all its detail.  It is critical that Congress take the time necessary to conduct this review. My support for this deal hinges on whether we can verify that Iran’s paths to obtaining a nuclear weapon are thoroughly blocked. I want to congratulate Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz and the rest of the negotiating team for their tremendous persistence in reaching this agreement, and I look forward to a thorough review with my colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA)
 
“As the terms and consequences of this agreement become clear during the period of Congressional review, I would urge my colleagues to give the measure the serious thought it deserves.  If the agreement is flawed it should be rejected; at the same time, we must not compare the proposal to an ideal, but rather to any credible alternative. Will rejection of the deal lead to additional sanctions and an «Iran» willing to concede more, or to renewed enrichment and a path to war?  These are the stakes and our decision should be made with sober thought and a minimum of partisan demagoguery.” >> Full Statement (CQ subscription needed)

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

“I applaud the U.S. negotiating team for its hard work to find a diplomatic solution to peacefully limit Iran’s nuclear program.  A nation’s commitment to diplomacy is every bit as important as its commitment to military strength.  Now that the negotiations have concluded, Congress must give the deal a thorough and independent review to ensure it cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE):

“Under no circumstances should Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. This agreement must demonstrate in a verifiable manner that it will stop and reverse Iran’s march toward the bomb. The deal will be met with much skepticism from Congress, and we should be circumspect about the limits of what we can achieve with—or without—an agreement. It is my job to scrutinize the details of any deal, debate the merits, and examine added options. There are two risks involved: the risk of an agreement, and the risk of no agreement.” >> Full Statement 

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM):
 
“I welcome the fact that this accord will prevent Iran from being able to build a nuclear weapon and threaten its neighbors and the world. This deal breaks each and every pathway to a weaponized nuclear device, including any potential covert effort. In the first eight years of this century, Iran’s nuclear program surged ahead rapidly, adding thousands of centrifuges, building complex nuclear facilities, and stockpiling enough highly enriched uranium to build a number of bombs. Today’s accord slashes that stockpile to a mere fraction of the material necessary to build a single device, unplugs thousands of centrifuges, and it opens those facilities to international inspection. We should welcome each of those developments as a major step toward regional and international security.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA):
 
“A nuclear-armed Iran represents a significant threat to the United States, to our allies in the Middle East, and to the world. Diplomacy represents our best hope of ending that threat, far better than the alternative of escalating tensions and war. President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz deserve great credit for working with our allies to reach a negotiated solution to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran without resorting to military action. In the coming weeks, I look forward to reviewing the details of this agreement to determine whether they are tough, verifiable, and effective.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI):

“I’m proud that America led six countries toward an historic international agreement with Iran.  I will now take the time to carefully review this diplomatic agreement and make a judgement on it based on whether it is built on verification, achieves the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and serves America’s national security interests.” >> Full Statement

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY):
 
“This historic agreement is a victory for American diplomacy and international security. We now have a clear plan to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, which ensures a safer world and a more stable Middle East. As President Obama stated this morning, this agreement is not built on trust—it is built on verification. I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz, and our entire negotiating team for their hard work, and I thank our fellow P5+1 nation partners for their dedication in reaching this landmark deal.” >> Full Statement
 
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI):
 
“Over the past several months, I’ve engaged with the White House on the status of the negotiations and just this morning received an update on the specifics of the deal, which comes after years of tireless work by President Obama and his Administration. While Congress will spend the next several weeks using our authority to thoughtfully examine the agreement with great scrutiny, Iran will have to earn sanctions relief through consistent compliance. The pathway to implementing a deal to effectively prevent Iran from obtaining or developing a nuclear weapon is in sight.” >> Full Statement
 
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR):
 
Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in the effort to preclude Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon. It is essential for the surety of the United States and for our allies, that this agreement foreclose every possible path that Iran might have to a nuclear weapon. The devil is in the details. I will be deeply engaged in examining the details in preparation for the upcoming review by Congress.” >> Full Statement
 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):
 
“The agreement announced today between the world’s major powers—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany—and Iran is historic. It offers a verifiable, diplomatic resolution to one of our most pressing national security challenges. This is a strong agreement that meets our national security needs and I believe will stand the test of time. I stand behind the U.S. negotiating team and will support this agreement in the Senate.” >> Full Statement
 
Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL):
 
“I am encouraged by the President’s comments this morning. It is imperative that members of Congress and the general public not rush to judgement on an agreement that will have enormous consequences not only for the Iranian nuclear program, but for U.S. national security interests throughout the region.” >> Full Statement
 
Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN):
 
“I applaud the President, Secretary Kerry, and our international allies for reaching this agreement. While the announcement of the deal is indeed historic, and the Administration and our allies should be commended for their tireless work, the people, through their elected representatives in Congress, will have the final say. We cannot accept a bad deal, nor can we allow ideology to undermine a good one. Congress must act in good faith, make the hard choices, and do the job we were elected to do. Over the coming days and weeks, I look forward to reviewing the deal vigorously.” >> Full Statement
 
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA):
 
“I congratulate President Obama and Secretary Kerry on the painstaking effort required to reach a nuclear agreement between Iran and the international community. The framework under which the current deal was negotiated is the best available option to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
 
“We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Without this deal, Iran would be able to resume development of its nuclear program without international supervision and enrich enough uranium for a bomb in as little as three months. Furthermore, if America were to simply walk away from this deal, it’s likely that the strong multilateral sanctions regime would collapse. The military option is just as bad: it would only set Iran’s program back by a few years, destabilize an already volatile region, and possibly lead to a wider military confrontation.” >> Full Statement
 
Rep. Mark Takai (D-HI):
 
“I have consistently advocated for diplomatic solutions to our nation’s foreign policy objectives, and appreciate the Administration’s efforts to reach an agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear program.  In May, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which gives Congress 60 days for review of the agreement before it can be implemented.  I look forward to an open debate on the merits of this deal, and hope that in the end it will meet standards that will help improve the regional security in the Middle East.  The objectives of verification and dismantlement must be of the highest quality, which will in turn improve the national security of both the United States and our allies.” >> Full Statement
 
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY):
 
“The Obama Administration has shown tremendous leadership on the world stage in a challenging process that could have been derailed if the Administration was not firmly committed to a multiparty process.  This demonstration of strength and willingness to engage multilaterally enhances America’s leverage now and for future generations. While all options must remain on the table, the announced deal is a positive development that deserves the thoughtful consideration of Congress so that we can give diplomacy and peace the chance to prevail over conflict that could lead to war.” >> Full Statement
 
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA):
 
“Absent the implementation of an acceptable nuclear agreement with Iran, the Iranian nuclear program would once again be opaque and no longer restrained by strict limitations. The countries of the world that have a strict policy of preventing a nuclear Iran, including the U.S. and a number of our allies, would be left with a scenario that could demand immediate and decisive action. Our remaining options would be limited in both variety and efficacy. During General Michael Hayden’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa in November 2014 he affirmed that the euphemistically termed “kinetic” option would ‘guarantee that which we are trying to prevent, an Iran that will stop at nothing, in secret, to develop a nuclear weapon.’”
 
“The diplomacy conducted by Secretary Kerry and his negotiating team has offered the world a potential alternative to the “kinetic” option. As a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will be carefully reviewing the text of the agreement to determine if it meets the high standard to which we should hold a nuclear agreement with Iran.” >> Full Statement

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN):
 
“This is a complex issue, and I’m glad that our negotiators have been able to reach an agreement. In the days to come, I will have to review the deal closely. Obviously, a diplomatic resolution to Iran’s nuclear program is preferable to military action. I hope that the deal will verifiably block Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI):

“The goal of negotiations between world powers and Iran has always been to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Secretary Kerry and his team should be commended for their hard work to achieve this goal. It is important to remember that an alternative to a diplomatic resolution is at best uncertain and at worst very dangerous.I am encouraged about today’s development and will examine this nuclear agreement with Iran closely, ultimately judging the agreement on if it makes the world a safer place. >> Full Statement

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV):

“Today’s historic accord is the result of years of hard work by President Barack Obama and his administration. The world community agrees that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable and a threat to our national security, the safety of Israel and the stability of the Middle East. Now it is incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)

“Since this process began nearly 20 months ago, I believed we must give diplomacy a chance. I salute President Obama and Secretary Kerry for their relentless pursuit of diplomacy with verification. I look forward to reading the details of today’s historic announcement and working with my colleagues to ensure that Iran and the international community meet all promises and commitments to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)

“The best way to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program is through a comprehensive, international agreement like this one.  We will get a chance to talk about the details in the days ahead, but I hope my colleagues in Congress don’t let partisan politics stand in the way of approving what could be a historic deal to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.” >> Full Statement

Rep. Luis V. Gutérrez (D-IL)

This is a matter of war and peace.  With the agreement, we are giving peace a chance.  War is almost never the right answer to any question, but it is always an option.  Skeptics and critics need to give this a chance to work because the consequences are so high and the prospects for a peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear ambitions are fragile.  If actions by Iran invalidate the agreement and necessitate a different, aggressive, military strategy, there is nothing that prevents that in the future.” >> Full Statement

Rep. David Price (D-NC)

“The JCPOA isn’t perfect, but it is remarkably strong in its surveillance and enforcement provisions.  This isn’t just my opinion:  it is the view of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, and Russia; the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, Energy, and Treasury; members of the Iranian diaspora; prominent academics and regional experts; current and former diplomats; and many Israeli military and intelligence experts.  No other viable diplomatic alternatives exist.

“For the U.S. Congress to unilaterally reject the JCPOA would likely destroy the multilateral sanctions regime and leave Iran free to resume its nuclear program. Doing so would threaten not just our credibility on the international stage, but also our national security and that of our allies.  That is not a risk I am willing to take.”  >> Full Statement