Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Policy Director Jamal Abdi released the following statement regarding the “Royce-Engel letter” that was sent to the President today concerning nuclear negotiations with Iran:
The United States is closer than ever to securing an agreement that prevents war and limits Iran’s nuclear program to exclusively peaceful purposes.
We agree with those who signed the Royce-Engel letter that the White House and Congress should consult closely regarding the nuclear negotiations.
We believe that many—if not all—of those who signed this letter believe a diplomatic deal is better than a war.
However, there are now important considerations for Congress based on this letter.
There is an extreme danger that some in Washington want to block the U.S. from putting sanctions relief on the table necessary to secure a strong nuclear deal. Blocking a nuclear deal because of inflexibility on sanctions relief would completely undermine the rationale that led many in Congress to support the sanctions in the first place.
There is a risk that the intent of those who signed the Royce-Engel will be misconstrued and exploited to sabotage a deal by making sanctions relief contingent on demands beyond the nuclear negotiations.
That is why NIAC and 25 pro-diplomacy organizations urged the authors of this letter to make absolutely clear that it is not their intent to block necessary sanctions relief.
NIAC has also outlined a formula in a recent memo to ensure the U.S. can provide necessary relief from nuclear-related sanctions while retaining sanctions on other areas.
Unfortunately, others in Washington have called upon Congress to limit the President’s ability to provide sanctions relief and to construe the definition of “nuclear-related sanctions” so narrowly as to make a deal impossible.
These are the same people who claimed that diplomacy with Iran could never work and that the interim agreement was going to collapse the sanctions regime. Six months later, and the interim deal has frozen or rolled back Iran’s nuclear program and opened it up IAEA inspectors, while providing measured sanctions relief in return. The interim deal has been a complete success that has proven the claims of its opponents utterly false.
It is important to recall the inflexible counsel and ideologically-skewed information that Members of Congress and the American public received from those who took us into a war of choice with Iraq and who will take us into a war of choice with Iran if they have their way.
We hope that Members of Congress and the White House will work together to seize the moment to seal a peaceful nuclear deal instead of squandering this opportunity and allowing the country to be dragged into another war.
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