Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today released the following statement on the nuclear agreement with Iran:
“While I am seeking more information on this interim agreement, it does appear that, if implemented, this agreement could modestly slow Iran's nuclear ambitions during the next six months. I am, however, concerned by particular elements of this agreement and some other elements that are left out.
“For example, this agreement does not require Iran to resolve some of the outstanding concerns of the IAEA, which has rigorously documented Iran's pattern of lies and deceptions regarding its nuclear program. Iran also would not have to stop building completely its Arak nuclear facility and may never have to destroy it altogether. Similarly, Iran would only be required to ‘address’ U.N. Security Council resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program, rather than fully complying with those resolutions, especially the U.N.'s demand that Iran fully suspend its enrichment activities. This means that, under this agreement, the centrifuges will continue to spin. What's more, this agreement is silent on the question of Iran's nuclear weaponization efforts and development of delivery systems, such as ballistic missiles, that are key components of its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Problems and omissions such as these are compounded by an easing of sanctions that could make it harder to sustain the international will and cooperation to continue enforcing existing sanctions.
“The bigger problem, however, is that the ‘comprehensive’ agreement envisioned in this accord would have an expiration date, beyond which Iran would be allowed to retain a large-scale domestic enrichment program. In other words, what is envisioned does not appear to be a final settlement that could eliminate fully Iran's capability to develop nuclear weapons. That is problematic, because when this ‘comprehensive’ agreement expires, it is highly unlikely that the Iranian regime will have given up its support of terrorism and the many other malign activities that currently threaten our friends and allies in the Middle East and our own national security interests.
“I am concerned this agreement could be a dangerous step that degrades our pressure on the Iranian regime without demonstrable actions on Iran's part to end its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability – a situation that would be reminiscent of our experience over two decades with North Korea. For this reason, I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to keep the pressure on the Iranian regime, including by action on additional sanctions.”