Earlier today, as the world waited in suspense to see if a nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 would emerge from the talks in Vienna, I testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on what a nuclear deal with Iran could mean for a Middle East engulfed by chaos, sectarian tensions, and civil war. It is by no means certain whether the negotiators will be able to overcome the remaining obstacles and reach a final deal, but even if they do, we simply do not know how they will handle critical issues such as the lifting of sanctions, the access rights of inspectors, and the process of reapplying sanctions in the event that Iran is caught cheating.
This naturally makes me very wary of commenting on the advantages or disadvantages of a deal where so many key uncertainties remain. But what I can (and did) comment on is whether a nuclear deal with Iran is likely to lead to greater stability or greater instability in the Middle East and thus whether it will ultimately benefit or undermine American national security.
Watch the testimony:
Part I: Opening statements
Part II: Witnesses
Read my prepared testimony in full here.
For all of us who care about preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, what’s the best way to keep preventing that? [The JCPOA is] not perfect, but it’s something. These conventions are never based on the premise that all the parties are telling the truth, it’s about enforcement mechanisms. No arms control agreement is based in trust.