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​Foster Calls For Robust Funding For The International Atomic Energy Agency

Feb 8, 2016
Press Release

 Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and 34 Members of Congress wrote President Obama to request robust funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization that is responsible for ensuring that Iran fulfills its commitments as outlined in the recently negotiated nuclear agreement.

The letter asks the President to include robust funding for the accounts that support the IAEA in his fiscal year 2017 budget proposal. A copy of the letter is available here.  

“As the organization tasked with ensuring that Iran and other nations fulfill their commitments to nonproliferation, it is essential that the International Atomic Energy Agency has the necessary funds to carry out its work,” said Foster. “Nuclear proliferation is one of the greatest threats to U.S. and global security, and we cannot afford to short change those charged with reducing this threat.”

The letter was signed by Representatives Bonamici (OR), Chu (CA), Clarke (NY), Connolly (VA), Costa (CA), Delaney (MD), DeSaulnier (CA), Frankel (FL), Garamendi (CA), Grayson (FL), Himes (CT), Honda (CA), Keating (MA), Kelly (IL), Kildee (MI), Kind (WI), Langevin (RI), Lee (CA), Lowenthal (CA), Lynch (MA), McGovern (MA), Moulton (MA), Norton (DC), O’Rourke (TX), Pascrell (NJ), Peters (CA), Pocan (WI), Richmond (LA), Rush (IL), Schakowsky (IL), Schiff (CA), Smith (WA), Swalwell (CA), and Van Hollen (MD).

Full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President,

As you finalize your Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, we respectfully urge you to include robust funding for the accounts that support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Tasked with verifying that states comply with their commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other non-proliferation agreements, the IAEA plays an indispensable role in strengthening nuclear security and safety around the globe.

During the Cold War, the two global superpowers each maintained a credible nuclear deterrent to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. The United States and the Soviet Union knew that a nuclear exchange would be catastrophic for both countries. However, it has been twenty-five years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the world has transitioned into a new nuclear age – one where rogue regimes and clandestine organizations exhibit the ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. 

Our ability to monitor and detect illicit nuclear activities is largely based upon the will and support of the international community. With nuclear threats drawing increased global attention, member states are expecting more from the IAEA. Currently, 126 states party to the NPT have Additional Protocols in force that grant the organization expanded authority to verify their commitment not to produce or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. As a result, international inspectors are able to obtain a broader picture of such states’ nuclear programs, plans, and nuclear material holdings and trade, which ultimately helps to provide assurances regarding the absence of nuclear activities.

In the past, the United States has provided extra-budgetary contributions to the IAEA to maintain or enhance the ability of the IAEA to carry out its mission. By continuing to ensure that the IAEA has the funding necessary to fulfill its growing responsibilities, we will be one step closer to achieving our ambitious goals for global non-proliferation. 

We appreciate your consideration of our request and look forward to working with you to advance the cause of global nuclear security.