Press Releases

Larsen To Support ‘Best Available Option’ To Prevent A Nuclear-Armed Iran

Agreement gives the international community the right tools to verify Iran’s actions with stringent restrictions and inspections

Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today announced his support for the international agreement to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

“I have decided to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While the agreement is not perfect, it is a major step in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I spent the last month reading the text, listening to my constituents, and talking to experts on all sides. We all agreed that the goal of U.S. policy must be to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. I believe that this agreement is the best available option toward achieving this end.

“The agreement restricts Iranian stockpiles, enrichment, and technology. Iran’s compliance with these requirements will be verified with concrete evidence, not trust. The international community will have the tools and access to verify Iran’s progress toward upholding their end of the deal, tools we would not otherwise have.

“Some I spoke to were concerned that the agreement did not give international inspectors sufficient access to all sites. I agree this is a pivotal consideration. For nuclear sites, the agreement gives us 24-hour access and the use of a variety of monitoring technology. For anywhere else, if the International Atomic Energy Agency has concerns, the process for getting access to the site can take up to 24 days. While a shorter period would be preferable, this still represents an unprecedented level of intrusiveness to the Iranian nuclear program and military. And international oversight of the nuclear supply chain increases the likelihood of detecting cheating.

“Some have suggested renegotiating an agreement that included more concessions from the Iranians. Our partners in these negotiations, including the United Kingdom, France and Germany, are ready to move forward with this agreement. Russia and China appear likely to lift sanctions soon. Going back to the drawing board is not an option. Nuclear sanctions are going to be lifted. At this point, members of Congress have to decide if Iran should get something for nothing. I think it is better for national security if sanctions relief comes with stringent limitations on the Iranian nuclear program and a robust inspections regime.

“I am under no illusions that this agreement represents a change in Iranian behavior, and I recognize we cannot change the whole regime through an agreement designed to address only nuclear weapons. Iran continues to hold Americans prisoner, foment terror in the region, and call for the destruction of our ally, Israel. However, you do not need to negotiate agreements like this with your friends. I applaud the Administration for its diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and I will vote in favor of the agreement.

“Now the work of implementation begins. The Obama administration must devote its full attention to carrying out the agreement and leave the next administration in a position to ensure continued Iranian compliance,” Larsen said.