Washington, DC – National Iranian American Council Policy Director Jamal Abdi released the following statement concerning the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s consideration of S.615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act:
“NIAC has consistently opposed S.615 because of our concern that it threatened to undermine negotiations and derail a deal. The compromise amendment that was struck by Senators Corker and Cardin does not change the fundamental problems with this bill. It still threatens to derail the talks and kill a deal, and we remain opposed to it.
“The passage of this bill will make already difficult negotiations with Iran even more difficult. The stakes for war and peace, nonproliferation, and the future of the region could not be higher. This is a historic moment and the Senate risks sabotaging it.
“As written, this bill would delay the implementation of a deal by 30 to 82 days, and risk blocking implementation completely. This is not oversight, this is interference. This bill undercuts U.S. negotiating leverage by casting as an open question whether the U.S. can honor it commitments. This does not help our negotiators, it hamstrings them and undermines our credibility.
“The bill risks sending an open invitation to hardliners in Iran to interfere with the negotiations. There is no shortage of actors in Iran who will view this as an opportunity to stand up to the U.S. and play bad cop, if not spoiler. Hardliners in Iran’s Majles are poised to respond to this legislation in kind and add restrictions to elements already agreed to in the framework. We know how such actions by Iran to renege or adjust the terms of the deal after the fact would be perceived in the U.S. Passage of S.615 will be interpreted the same way in Iran and threatens to set off a chain reaction of counter escalations.
“We have already seen the lengths that 47 Senators were willing to go to undercut the President and these negotiations. It is difficult to envision how they will act more responsibly if they are rewarded with increased powers to kill an agreement.
“We are hopeful that, because the Administration has indicated they can live with this version of the bill, there is a plan in place to ensure it will not derail a deal. We are concerned, however, that this bill only drives up the cost of securing a deal with Iran. The uncertainty the bill creates regarding U.S. ability to provide sanctions relief, combined with the backlash that it could generate in Iran to limit their negotiators’ maneuverability, could very well mean greater U.S. concessions will be necessary to secure a deal.”
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