Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Decertify Iran Deal
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:
“When the Iran nuclear deal was voted on by Congress in 2015, I was cognizant that it was not a perfect agreement. I was particularly concerned about the eventual sunset of the limits on Iranian enrichment capacity. I was aware that while we could hope that the deal would signal a new opening to the West, strengthen the hand of the moderate faction in Iran, and over time temper Iran’s malevolent behavior, such an outcome was not guaranteed.
“However my judgment then was that the deal did one singularly important thing – it verifiably cut off Iran's path to a nuclear weapon and extended their breakout time beyond a year, rather than a few weeks or months. I also understood that the crippling sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place could not be maintained indefinitely and that if the United States walked away from the agreement, the international sanctions regime may well have crumbled, leaving Iran with many of the benefits of the JCPOA without the cost of heightened inspections and limited enrichment capacity.
“It is with that backdrop that I evaluate the President's announcement that he will not certify to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA. The decision to decertify is not based on a material breach of the JCPOA, as the Administration acknowledges that Iran remains in compliance. It was not based on the counsel of the President's senior national security team, as both Secretary Mattis and General Dunford have made clear their belief that in the absence of a breach, the President should provide certification to Congress. It appears it is simply based on the President's anger that he must certify that the JCPOA is working as intended, when he so often claimed the contrary without any factual basis.
“Among the many destructive and dangerous aspects of this decision is sowing further doubt that the United States will live up to its international commitments. If other nations do not believe that we will abide by our agreements, how can we credibly negotiate a diplomatic settlement to the North Korean crisis?
“The failure to certify triggers a 60 day period in which Congress can reinstate nuclear sanctions against Iran under expedited procedures. However, in the absence of a breach, Congress should not take any action which would be contrary to our commitments under the JCPOA. Instead, Congress should endeavor to do what the President failed to do – abide by the JCPOA, uphold America's global leadership role and credibility, and develop a strategy to counter Iranian influence and malevolence in non-nuclear areas.
“The President presented a list of the Iranian regime’s misdeeds – and there are many. What he did not provide is a coherent strategy to counter them, despite proclaiming a grand new approach. It would behoove the President and Congress to consider how much more difficult countering Iranian influence would be if the nuclear deal had not verifiably cut off their path to becoming a nuclear power.”