HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, released the following statement from the 2013 Halifax International Security Forum on the first step agreement reached on Iran’s nuclear program. Kaine is leading a U.S. Congressional delegation to the forum with Senator John McCain:
“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death, I recall his wise commencement speech delivered at American University in June of 1963. He spoke of the hard work of peace-making during the midst of disarmament talks with the Soviet Union. Many challenged the talks and whether there was any possibility of working toward peace with an enemy. But President Kennedy reminded us that ‘we can reduce tension without relaxing our guard’ and advocated the need for nations to take concrete steps along a path to total disarmament.
“I look forward to reviewing the P5+1 (United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China + Germany) first stage deal with Iran in the coming days. We will not tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapons because that will make the region – and the world – dramatically less safe. If this interim deal reduces stockpiles of enriched uranium to levels appropriate only for civilian use, halts uranium enrichment above dangerous levels, reduces technology that can be used to enhance enrichment, and imposes intrusive daily inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency that can give the world immediate warning if Iran plans to move toward nuclear weapons, it will be an important trust building step toward our ultimate goal.
“This deal could bring us closer to a world less threatened by weapons of mass destruction. We should now press forward to do even more in pursuit of peace.”