October 16, 2013

NIAC Applauds US-Iran Diplomatic Progress, Warns Congress Against Sabotaging a Deal

Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6408
Email: [email protected]

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council released the following statement after the conclusion of diplomatic negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran in Geneva:

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) applauds the U.S. and Iran for engaging in substantive, productive negotiations in Geneva over the past two days.  Both Iran and the U.S. and other members of the P5+1 have declared their commitment to reaching a solution that introduces verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear program and ends the nuclear standoff.  Such an agreement is possible and achievable if each side remains committed to the diplomatic track and halts escalatory measures that have prevented diplomatic progress in the past.

Ahead of new negotiations that are scheduled for November 7 and 8, it is critical that the U.S. Congress not interfere. New sanctions legislation would sabotage this promising but fragile process. The Senate must not complicate the talks by tying the hands of the President or undermining confidence that the U.S. can reciprocate in these negotiations. A verifiable agreement to reduce tensions, ensure Iran never develops nuclear weapons, and prevent war is possible if Congress gives diplomacy a chance to succeed. The consideration of new sanctions would undermine a deal. 

The new, positive atmosphere surrounding talks is due, in large part, to a shift in tone and approach from each party. The P5+1, critically, showed flexibility by agreeing to discuss the endgame with Iran, departing from their previous focus on short-term confidence building measures.  Each side must continue to focus on a pragmatic approach towards a shared vision for the endgame in order to overcome the deep, long-held mistrust that has fueled escalatory policies. 

Further credit should be given to the injection of political capital into the negotiating process.  Direct talks between Kerry and Zarif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and the historic phone call between Presidents Obama and Rouhani, have helped to break the taboo of diplomatic contact between the U.S. and Iran.  NIAC supports further bilateral discussions between the United States and Iran to continue progress on the nuclear issue, and to address other issues of concern at the earliest possible opportunity, including human rights and regional security.

However, in Congress, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a war authorization along with 14 other Republicans.  In the Senate, the Banking Committee is set to consider new sanctions that passed the House just days before the inauguration of Iran’s new President.  If either measure passes, it would reinforce Iranian fears that the United States is really interested in regime change and is unwilling or unable to deliver sanctions relief that is required by any deal. It is time for those in Congress who are serious about preventing war and finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff to stand up against efforts to sabotage talks and box the U.S. into a military confrontation.

About NIAC

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. NIAC’s mission is focused on promoting an active and engaged Iranian-American community, supporting aspirations for human rights and democracy in Iran, opposing war between the US and Iran, and celebrating our community’s deep cultural heritage.  NIAC accomplishes its mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by policymakers.

For more information, please visit niacouncil.org.





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