Washington D.C. - House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement commenting on negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon:

Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon remains our top national security priority in the Middle East. Iran continues to be a bad actor throughout the region – fostering unrest in Yemen, Lebanon, meddling in Syria and threatening the very existence of Israel, to name a few examples. Iran is a clear threat to our allies and interests even without a nuclear weapon.

Ensuring that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon is our paramount concern and we should pursue any potential path towards that outcome. Most importantly, we should exhaust every peaceful option to this end before other avenues are considered. Another military conflict in the Middle East would benefit no one, especially Israel.

Iran remains under significant economic pressure for a variety of issues outside of its nuclear program. A deal to restrain Iran’s nuclear weapons program will leave in place sanctions that were imposed for supporting terrorism and committing human rights abuses. So cooperation on the nuclear program will not heal all ills for Iran.

It is important that we do not take actions that prejudge or undermine a potential deal. Our sanctions were successful because they were multinational and we have to rely on those same partners to enforce any deal or impose additional sanctions, if negotiations fail. Congress should not risk the cohesiveness of the international coalition by taking actions to undermine negotiations. Doing so would provide Iran with an excuse to cast blame on the U.S. should negotiations fail and undermine our ability to achieve the outcome we all desire: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.