Officials from the U.S., Iran and other nations have reached a deal to curb the Middle East nation's nuclear weapons program.
"Today after two years of negotiation the United States together with the international community has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon," President Barack Obama said Tuesday at the White House.
"This deal is not built on trust. It's built on verification," Obama added about the deal between Iran and the P5+1 nations, which are the U.S., United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and Germany.
The compromise essentially puts limits on Iran's nuclear weapons program in exchange for an easing of sanctions imposed against the nation. Specifically, the deal cuts the number of Iranian centrifuges by two-thirds, puts a 15-year cap on enrichments at 3.67 percent as well as stockpiles at 300 kg, calls for permanent access and inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a requirement that all spent fuel be shipped out of the country. The Obama administration states that the restrictions extend Iran's ability to build its first nuclear bomb out to about one year as opposed to two to three months, which is reportedly how close the nation currently is to building such a weapon. Obama is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday to answer questions about the deal, according to CNN.
Illinois Democratic lawmakers and politicos have reacted to news of the deal throughout the day. Here's a rundown of what some of them had to say about the deal:
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL):
The United States, working with our allies, has reached a historic agreement with Iran that, according to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I commend our negotiators for this critical effort. Finding a diplomatic solution will make our country, our allies, and the world a safer place.
U.S. Rep Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8):
I am encouraged by the President's comments this morning. It is imperative that members of Congress and the general public not rush to judgement on an agreement that will have enormous consequences not only for the Iranian nuclear program, but for U.S. national security interests throughout the region.
I am committed to standing by our ally Israel and remain cautious and concerned about Iran's intentions. As I review this agreement, my focus will be on making sure that any sanctions relief is tied to a strong, verifiable inspection regime.
Members of Congress have a critical responsibility to put politics and partisanship aside and carefully review the details of this agreement. My colleagues who condemn this proposed agreement without a viable alternative short of going to war are being reckless and irresponsible.
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D, IL-2):
After two long years of negotiations, and two decades of sanctions, the U.S. and international community have achieved an important victory in preventing a nuclear armed Iran. I commend the President, Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz for their leadership, tireless negotiations and willingness to extend an olive branch to usher in a more secure future in the Middle East and global community.
Without question, a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. It threatens not only the U.S. but our allies in Israel and the Gulf. Today begins the work of this Congress, and my colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in ensuring that Iran is held accountable and is unable to manipulate this agreement to a perverse gain. In pursuing a more diplomatic path, we must remain vigilant so as to not empower or incentivize Iranian nuclear expansion.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4):
This is a matter of war and peace. With the agreement, we are giving peace a chance. War is almost never the right answer to any question, but it is always an option. Skeptics and critics need to give this a chance to work because the consequences are so high and the prospects for a peaceful resolution of Iran's nuclear ambitions are fragile. If actions by Iran invalidate the agreement and necessitate a different, aggressive, military strategy, there is nothing that prevents that in the future.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9):
I want to thank President Obama for his persistent leadership to reach this historic deal. I am grateful to Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Energy Moniz, and all of our diplomats and other personnel who have worked to make this agreement a reality. I also want to acknowledge the hard work of our allies in the P5+1 who have been our partners in this effort.
I remain as committed as ever to ensuring that Iran never develops or obtains a nuclear weapon. I've received preliminary briefings on the terms of this deal and I look forward to studying the agreement in depth with other Members of Congress and the Obama Administration in the weeks to come. However, it appears that the deal has met our goal: creating a verifiable, enforceable agreement that closes off Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon for decades to come.
Under the terms of the agreement, strict verification mechanisms will be put into place: the International Atomic Energy Agency will have surveillance capability along the entire supply chain of Iran's nuclear program to ensure compliance. Strong enforcement mechanisms will accompany the verification regimen - snapback provisions will ensure that Iran plays by the rules to maintain the sanctions relief they earn through compliance.
As the President has said all along, 'no deal is better than a bad deal.' However, it is also true that a good deal is better than no deal. It is clear that pursuing these negotiations was the best way to address the dangers that a nuclear Iran poses to the United States and our allies, especially Israel. I am glad that we insisted on giving diplomacy a chance. The alternatives to diplomacy risked tying the United States into another lengthy and costly conflict in the Middle East.
This agreement will not solve every problem - and I stand with the President in his pledge to do even more to protect Israel's security and combat ISIS. But this deal will prevent Iran from posing the most serious problem - a nuclear threat. Now that our negotiators have succeeded, I stand ready to make sure this agreement moves forward.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11):
I commend President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz for their tireless efforts that have led to this historic agreement.
A nuclear armed Iran is not acceptable. As the only Ph.D. scientist in Congress, I will continue to be fully engaged on the Congressional oversight of the technical details of the proposed Iran nuclear agreement.
This agreement should be based on verification, not trust, and the technical details are crucial.
U.S. Senatorial candidate Andrea Zopp:
I welcome the announcement that the United States and our international partners have struck an agreement with Iran to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and I give my heartiest congratulations to President Obama and Secretary Kerry.
While it will take some time to analyze all the features of the agreement as it is multi-faceted and complex, what I do know - what is important - is that it appears to contain the important and critical factors of non-proliferation and verification to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. Equally important, is that in the coming days, Congress will have the opportunity to fully scrutinize the deal and its terms to confirm that they meet this primary objective.
President Obama is correct. Negotiations are the best pathway to security. The rejectionist path suggested by some Republicans is a reckless one - all too reminiscent of the overly aggressive attitudes that mired our nation in war since 2003.
Americans are sick of war, as I am sure the Iranian people are as well as indicated by their election of a moderate as their president.
Wars in the Middle East have brought us nothing but death and debt. I applaud President Obama's choice that has a much greater chance of leading to peace and prosperity for the people and nations of the region and the world.
Former congressman and 10th congressional district candidate Brad Schneider:
The news of a deal with Iran raises hopes but also carries great risks that must be understood before passing judgment. As I review the details of the deal with Iran and learn what was -- and was not -- agreed to, my approach remains more cautious than optimistic, more concerned than certain. Any deal must move Iran away from a nuclear weapons capability and make the entire region, and the world, more secure, as I have repeatedly said since the initial Joint Plan of Action was announced in 2013.
I want to see that the announced agreement truly achieved 'anywhere, anytime' inspections, ensuring that sanctions relief is explicitly tied to verifiable actions and completed commitments.
I want to be sure that the international community will have a comprehensive understanding of any previous potential military dimensions (PMD) of Iran's programs. I want to see that Iran's nuclear infrastructure is not just locked up for a period of time, but is put out of reach and out of commission. And there must be more than just verbal promises assuring that this agreement will be measured in generations as opposed to years--Iran must not be in a position to build a nuclear weapon for at least multiple decades.
This is the bar that was set when these negotiations began. It must be the bar that is met if these negotiations are to be deemed successful. It is now up to Congress and the American people to make that judgment.