This Thursday, we mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The importance of this agreement cannot be overstated. The P5+1 -- the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany -- spent enormous time and effort to address one of the most pressing dangers of our time: the possibility of a nuclear Iran. This hard-fought agreement demonstrates the power of diplomacy. The JCPOA ensures that Iran will never have access to a nuclear weapon.
Since the signing of the agreement, Iran has removed over two-thirds of its centrifuges. Iran has reduced its stockpile of fissile material to less than 300 kilograms -- a reduction of 98 percent. The remaining material is far below the level of enrichment needed to create a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency continues to aggressively and intrusively inspect and monitor Iranian facilities, and the core of the Arak reactor has been filled with concrete, rendering it unable to produce the material needed to develop or create nuclear weapons.
In exchange for these significant Iranian concessions, the U.S. and its P5+1 partners have fulfilled our obligations. This includes the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions. However, contrary to what opponents of the nuclear deal would have you believe, this has not created a windfall for Iran. Instead, as Secretary Kerry said in April, Iran has received roughly $3 billion in sanctions relief, far short of the feared $150 billion. What's more, these are unfrozen Iranian funds - not taxpayer dollars.
At the same time, the U.S. has not abandoned holding Iran's feet to the fire on issues outside of the JCPOA. In January, the Administration levied addition sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program. Sanctions remain in place for their support of terrorism and their human rights abuses.
The JCPOA has made the world safer. The deal ensures that Israel does not have to live with the threat of a nuclear Iran in its backyard. Many Israeli military and defense officials are now openly supportive of the JCPOA. Former Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, said on June 16, that because of the JCPOA, Iran's nuclear program, "has been frozen in light of the deal signed by the world powers and does not constitute an immediate, existential threat for Israel."
Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives remain determined to undo all of this progress. This week, they are bringing a series of bills to the floor that are designed to undermine and undo the agreement that made us safer. They are wasting our time on wrongheaded legislation in the last week before the House takes a seven-week break. At a time when the country faces significant challenges from gun violence to Zika, Republicans are refusing to act on issues of importance. Instead, they are dangerously politicizing our safety and the safety of our closest allies, while ignoring their responsibility to the American public.
As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it is time for Republicans to stop playing games with our safety. The JCPOA is working -- preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It's time for the Republicans to start working too.