Policymakers React to the Signing of Iran Nuclear Deal

On July 14th, the P5+1 countries and Iran signed a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that seeks to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is used solely for peaceful purposes. The nuclear deal now awaits U.S. congressional approval within the next 60 days, as well as approval by the Iranian Parliament. During the announcement of the deal in Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted the significance of the deal, saying, “I believe this agreement actually represents an effort by the United States of America and all of its member – its colleagues in the P5+1 to come together with Iran to avert an inevitability of conflict that would come were we not able to reach agreement.”

In response to the finalization of the deal, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted, “Bringing negotiations to conclusion was a milestone; #IranDeal text, however, needs scrutiny and channeling into the defined legal process.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also tweeted, “Today is a new chapter to work towards growth & development of our dear #Iran; a day for our youth to dream again for a brighter future.”

Reactions from the U.S. side varied. President Barack Obama stated that the finalization of the deal was a powerful representation of “American leadership and diplomacy.” He urged Congress to fully review the details of the deal, engage in robust debates, consider the alternative, and to not “lose sight of the larger picture.” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) issued a statement also urging Congress to review the deal “at the highest of standards.” He wrote that Congress “has an obligation to vigorously and judiciously review the deal…with a seriousness of purpose.” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote in support for the deal, “A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to the United States…and unacceptable to the world. Aggressive restrictions and inspections offer the best long-term plan to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released a statement promising to thoroughly review the deal despite his belief that “all signs point to this being a bad deal.” He expressed his distrust in the Iranian government by suggesting that the deal “is built far too much on hope” and the “belief that somehow the Iranian government will fundamentally change in the next several years.” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) echoed McCain’s skepticism, writing, “Iran continues to be the lead sponsor of terrorism in the world and relieving sanctions would make the Tehran regime flush with cash and could create a more dangerous threat to the United States and its allies.” John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, pledged to do “everything we can to stop a bad deal with Iran.” He added that the deal is “Going to hand a dangerous regime billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear Iran.”