During floor debate on H.R. 3461, a resolution to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal struck between Iran and six world powers in July, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, led several Democrats in expressing their support for the deal on the House floor.
Waters remarks also emphasized growing support for the deal and touted it as the best alternative to any potential military action in Iran.
She delivered the following remarks.
“Mr. Chairman, I would like to start by thanking Democratic Leader Pelosi for her tireless and unyielding advocacy for the Iran nuclear deal agreed to between Iran and six major world powers, with the unanimous support of the U.N. National Security Council.
I very much share the Leader’s view that diplomacy and peace must be given every chance in our dealings with Iran before we contemplate the use of any other options.
I also want to acknowledge the fact that – acting with the President’s full support – Secretary of State John Kerry has done a masterful job of holding the P-5 + 1 coalition together. It was far from certain that Russia and China, intent as each of them is on reducing America’s influence in the world, would continue their participation in the tough multinational effort necessary to get us to this point.
This agreement proves that world leaders, despite being divided on a range of issues, can still work together and reach an agreement with profound implications for international peace and security. This is truly extraordinary.
I support this agreement not because it is perfect – but because it’s a deal that stands up extremely well as a barrier against nuclear proliferation for at least 15 years. It also establishes an intrusive inspections regime to ensure that Iran’s program remains heavily monitored and exclusively peaceful for even longer.
One of most important provisions of this deal allows any permanent member of the UN Security Council, who can show that Iran has violated the agreement, the ability to “snap-back” the tough sanctions that had previously been in place.
I know there are critics who believe that by rejecting the deal and increasing sanctions on Iran, the U.S. can somehow coerce the leaders of Iran to completely dismantle its nuclear program.
As effective as the current sanctions have been in bringing Iran to the table to negotiate, they have not stopped Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear state.
If Congress rejects this deal, it will not lead to a better one. If the U.S. walks away from this deal, we will have squandered the best chance we have to solve this problem through peaceful means.
In fact, U.S. rejection of the deal is more likely to isolate the U.S. -- rather than Iran -- from the rest of the world. It would reinforce questions around the world about our commitment to multilateralism and American political dysfunction.
Furthermore, it would seriously undermine our ability to lead any future diplomatic efforts on terrorism and on a range of other issues important to our national security interests.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, which is necessary for the success of the nuclear deal, the preservation of the international financial sanctions architecture, and for maintaining the credibility of U.S. diplomatic commitments in the future.”
While acknowledging that it is impossible to predict in what direction Iran will go post agreement, she expressed hope that given that more than half the Iranian population is under 30, the increased openness to the world reflected in the deal will help animate the more peaceful, outward looking feelings in the Iranian people.
“Mr. Speaker, I would like to discuss a point that I do not think has not been given enough attention yet in this debate.
Iran could move in any direction over the next 15 years, and the post-agreement dynamics in Iran could play out in a number of ways. We are aware of the less benign scenarios. But there’s also the scenario in which the agreement helps to amplify the voices of those in Iran who want peace and regional and international accommodation.
And I have hope with respect to this latter possibility. And I’ll tell you why. It is because more than half the population of Iran today -- almost 55 percent – is under 30 years old, and the youth unemployment rate is somewhere between 27 and 40 percent.
I have hope that these young people, given the opportunity to work, to achieve prosperity, and to live peacefully, will, in fact help animate the kind of change in Iran that will indeed move it to become a responsible member of the world community.
This is a possibility that I urge members to keep in mind when they vote on the resolution before us today.