Mariana Islands Delegates’ Statement in Support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

Sep 9, 2015

Washington, D.C. – The Delegates representing the Mariana Islands—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam and Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands—today issued the following statement in support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement:

“As representatives of the people of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, we understand the dangers when hostile nations are able to obtain nuclear weapons. Our islands live under the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons.

“With that understanding we support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), now under consideration by Congress, as the best available means to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The JCPOA provides the United States and our allies with mechanisms to monitor and verify Iran’s compliance. The agreement has the support of the international community. And the JCPOA represents an opportunity to avoid direct military conflict with Iran.

“We have reviewed the agreement and have been briefed by Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who led the U.S. negotiating team. We find their explanations of the agreement’s details and arguments in favor of adoption to be compelling.

“It is important to recognize, however, that the agreement was not a unilateral effort by the United States, but rather was achieved in concert with the other P5+1 nations—the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany. Our partner nations all have a vested interest in an Iran free of nuclear weapons and find the agreement acceptable. To believe that these countries will continue to impose economic sanctions on Iran or agree to re-negotiate the agreement, should it be rejected by Congress, ignores political reality. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that ‘…they're all going to be moving forward. We're going to be standing in the sidelines.’ America does not belong on the sidelines.

“Lastly, we believe that diplomacy is always preferable to a military solution. Many men and women from the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam have willingly given their lives or been wounded in service to our country. And Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has noted that “…nothing in the Iran deal constrains the U.S. Defense Department in any way or its ability to carry out such a mission.” Military options remain viable should Iran violate the agreement, but we owe it to our service men and women only to put them at risk, when diplomacy fails.

 “While we cannot vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, it is our responsibility to make our position on an issue of such importance known to our constituents and to our nation. We support the JCPOA and urge our colleagues to reject the resolution of disapproval.”