Nuclear deal with Iran would be historic achievement

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington State took to the House Floor and delivered the following remarks on President Obama’s leadership in light of a potential nuclear deal with Iran.

Mr. Speaker:

I rise this morning on what could be the eve of a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, as U.S., European, and Iranian negotiators head back to Vienna for a final round of talks.

With so much of the region in turmoil right now, it seems hard to imagine that we could be on the verge of arguably the most important diplomatic achievement in the Middle East in recent U.S. history.

The leadership of President Obama, the tenacity of the U.S. negotiators, and the sincerity of President Rouhani and his team have set the stage for a landmark agreement that would turn the page on decades of distrust, dissension and cynicism.

Here is what a nuclear deal would mean:

* A profound reduction in the decades-long tension between Iran, the U.S. and our allies that had set us on a path to war.

* A contained Iranian nuclear program with verifiable internationally-accepted limits.

* Meaningful sanctions relief that bolsters Iran’s flagging economy and allows U.S. businesses access to a potentially vibrant market.

* An opening for a broader understanding between the U.S. and Iran, as well as an opportunity to court Iran as an ally in the fight against ISIS.

Like all compromises, there may be parts of this deal that some Americans may like and others may not like.  There may be parts of this deal the Iranians may or may not like. 

But such is the definition of cooperation: working toward something meaningful and building momentum toward a solution, even when the easier option is to walk away.

President Obama deserves enormous credit for his steely resolve in pursuit of a nuclear deal, especially in the face of those hoping that he would fail.

If we do not reach a nuclear accord next week, if a deal is delayed, or heaven forbid the talks collapse, I believe President Obama is still owed our thanks.

It’s fashionable around these halls and certainly in the media these days to deride the 44th president, to call him aloof when he acts methodically, to threaten impeachment when he acts decisively to promote the best interests of the American people. 

The fact that the president has the audacity to try with persistence and openness, in the face of withering doubt from friends and allies, is the mark of a true statesman.

Many in this chamber have already raised their strong objections to a potential deal, and they’ve made no secret of what they think of President Obama and his “fools errand.” 

But I am reminded of what Teddy Roosevelt said of leadership:

“Credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.”

Photo: Given its geo-political importance, cooperation with Iran could help solve some of the conflicts in the Middle East (CC).