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Bill F.
Democrat IL 11

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  • Support Funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency

    by Representative Bill Foster

    Posted on 2015-12-18

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    FOSTER of illinois in the house of representatives Friday, December 18, 2015 Mr. FOSTER. Mr. Speaker, on December 7, 2015, I, along with 60 of my colleagues, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging robust funding for the accounts that support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an international organization tasked with verifying that states comply with their commitments under the Non- Proliferation Treaty and other non-proliferation agreements.

    Whether or not Members of Congress supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we have a foremost responsibility to the continued security of the United States and our allies. Funding the organization that is tasked with monitoring and verifying Iran's nuclear activities is essential to that security. As such, I submit the following letter from the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

    December 17, 2015.

    Withholding Funding from the IAEA is Ill-Advised and Dangerous.

    Dear Members of Congress: As individuals who have dedicated our professional lives to national security and nuclear nonproliferation, we strongly urge that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) receive full funding to monitor Iran's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

    The United States, its international negotiating partners, and Iran continue to move towards full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which will restrict and monitor Iran's nuclear activity in exchange for relief from economic sanctions related to its nuclear program. The nuclear watchdog organization, the IAEA, is responsible for verifying that Iran is in compliance with the agreement through an unprecedented system of intrusive inspections and safeguards.

    IAEA monitoring is essential for deterring and detecting illicit nuclear behavior by Iran; without adequate funding, the international community cannot responsibly verify that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful and in-line with its commitments. According to Director General Yukiya Amano, the IAEA requires an additional $10.6 million per year to undertake this task. This additional funding will pay for new inspectors, the installation and maintenance of safeguard and verification technology, and other monitoring activities that exceed the surveillance normally conducted by the IAEA.

    [[Page E1840]] Unfortunately, some key members of Congress advocate blocking any U.S. contribution to these additional funds. On December 3, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) introduced House Resolution 553, supported by several House committee chairs, urging that additional funding be blocked unless the IAEA releases confidential documents between it and Iran.

    Release of these documents would violate the confidentiality of the IAEA, which has been universally regarded as necessary to ensure the cooperation of countries with inspection and verification agreements. Though the resolution is not legally binding, it sets a dangerous precedent for future legislation.

    It is difficult to understand why Members of Congress would block verification of Iran's nuclear activities. Such a self- defeating move would only increase the potential for Iran to hide violations of the agreement by reducing the likelihood of detection.

    We strongly urge Congress to ensure that the IAEA receives full funding to effectively monitor Iran's implementation of and compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Doing so will make the United States, its allies, and the world safer.

    Sincerely, Hans Blix, Director General Emeritus, IAEA; Maj. General Roger R. Blunt, USA (Ret.); Amb. Kenneth C. Brill (ret), Former ambassador to the IAEA, Founding Director of the U.S. National Counterproliferation Center; Matthew Bunn, Professor, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, Harvard University; Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret.); Charles D. Ferguson, Ph.D., President, Federation of American Scientists, Former Naval Nuclear Officer; Trevor Findlay, Associate, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, Harvard University; Brig. Gen. Evelyn ``Pat'' Foote, USA (Ret.); Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA (Ret.), Chairman Emeritus, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation; Richard L. Garwin, Contributor to design and test of nuclear weapons, IBM Fellow Emeritus; Amb. Thomas Graham Jr. (ret.), Chairman, Lightbridge Corp.; Lt. Gen. Arlen D. Jameson. USAF (Ret.); Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, USA (Ret.), Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, National Defense University.

    David Kay, Former IAEA Chief Weapons Inspector in Iraq (after first Gulf War); Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.); Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association; Maj. Gen. Frederick H. Lawson, USA (Ret.); Edward P. Levine, Ph.D., Retired senior professional staff member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program, Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Martin Mallin, Executive Director, Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, Harvard University; Laura Rockwood, Executive Director, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Former Section Head, IAEA; Joan Rohlfing, President and COO, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Andrew K. Semmel, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Policy; Lt. Gen. James M. Thompson, USA (Ret.), Vice Chair, Boise, ID Committee on Foreign Relations; Jim Walsh, Ph.D., Security Studies Program, MIT; Honorable Andy Weber, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.


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