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May 22, 2013

Congress Escalates Iran Standoff with Support for Israeli Strikes, Sanctions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: [email protected]

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council’s policy director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of S.Res.65, a resolution conveying U.S. support for potential Israeli military strikes on Iran:

“Apparently the Senate thinks the standoff between the U.S. and Iran suffers from a lack of brinksmanship. If threats and provocations were the key to resolving the nuclear impasse, Ahmadinejad would deserve a Nobel Prize. In reality, Washington and Tehran are stuck in vicious cycle of mutual escalation that can only be broken through the give and take of serious negotiations, not through further saber rattling. We know well how this resolution would be perceived in Washington or Tel Aviv if it were Tehran issuing the military threats. It certainly would not create space for diplomacy or compromise.”

“Congress should abstain from any more reckless threats or sanctions that push us closer to the brink of war with Iran.  Instead, Congress should ensure diplomacy can succeed by making it absolutely clear and credible that, in exchange for verifiable concessions that prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, sanctions will be lifted.”

Abdi also commented on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s approval of H.R. 850, a new sanctions bill that included an amendment by Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL) that removes the President’s sanctions waiver authority:

“Attacking the President’s waiver authority is a cynical attempt to weaken his hand at the negotiating table and sabotage diplomatic efforts. If the President can’t lift sanctions in exchange for concessions, the Iranians will have little incentive to cooperate. Some in Congress appear eager to turn the Iran sanctions into the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which tied our hands on sanctions and all but guaranteed a disastrous war.”

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