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Sen. Coons calls for stronger focus on Iran nuclear deal enforcement

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s junior senator is calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to make sure proper implementation of the Iran nuclear deal doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to call for a renewed focus on enforcing the agreement.  He says while attention in recent months has rightly turned to other issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis and the fight against ISIS – the Iran deal cannot be allowed to slip off the radar.

“I see my colleagues and constituents focusing less and less on Iran, but we must maintain our focus for the months and years to come," said Coons.  "Given the 24/7 news cycle, and the media’s incessant focus on the crisis of the moment, we will be tempted to turn our attention elsewhere, but adoption day was not the end of the agreement with Iran, but in fact it signified just the beginning.”

Coons notes some progress has been made in implementing the agreement, including disabling centrifuges and improved monitoring of Iran nuclear activity, but he says much more must be done.

“I believe how effectively and aggressively we enforce the JCPOA in these early months and years will set the table for how we respond when Iran commits major violations later," said Coons. "Whether we respond now, when Iran commits minor violations around the boundaries of the nuclear deal, will send a critical message to our allies and adversaries alike.”

With that in mind, Coons says he wants to see some specific plans developed to handle violations of the deal that do not call for full snap-back to the sanctions in place before the agreement.

“In coordination with our allies, we must develop a menu of responses that allow us to respond quickly and precisely to minor violations of the deal – because there are no real minor violations of the deal," said Coons.

Coons also wants to ramp up efforts to seize illicit Iranian arms shipments, and publicize those efforts to deter future efforts by Iran to destabilize the region.

He argues failing to take steps like these now will only embolden Iran.

“Otherwise, Iran will little by little eat away at the constraints of this agreement.  And deterrents and our credibility will collapse," said Coons.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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