FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Washington, DC – Three Congressional letters are being sent to the President regarding nuclear negotiations with Iran. The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is pleased that Congress is not passing sanctions or measures that will restrict negotiators. The new political reality in Washington is that there is overwhelming support for a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran and efforts to undermine negotiations have proven unsuccessful.
“The status quo, in which Netanyahu visits Washington, addresses AIPAC, and Congress agrees to slap new sanctions on Iran, has been turned on its head,” said NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi. “The White House, leaders in Congress, outside organizations, and the American people have all put their foot down and said that we don’t want a war and more sanctions, we want to give diplomacy a chance.”
Of the three letters being sent, NIAC opposed one but remained neutral on the others because the letters met key principles outlined in ajoint organizational letter and in correspondence between NIAC and members of Congress.
The letter opposed by NIAC, led by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Menendez and Senator Graham, includes guidelines for negotiations that can easily be construed by opponents of a diplomatic solution to force the U.S. to violate the terms of the preliminary agreement. NIAC urges those who signed the letter to clarify that this letter does not require zero enrichment or dismantlement of a civilian Iranian nuclear program, and that they do not support a vote on new Iran sanctions.
Conversely, while NIAC had concerns with some language in letters organized in the House by Majority Leader Cantor and Minority Whip Hoyer, and in the Senate by Armed Services Chairman Levin, these letters ultimately honor the terms of the preliminary agreement between Iran and the P5+1 and do not set preconditions for negotiators.
Most importantly, all three letters indicated that Congress will work with the administration to lift sanctions if a final deal is struck.
“As negotiations have progressed, some in Congress have wasted a lot of valuable time talking about ratcheting up Iran sanctions almost as if by force of habit,” said Abdi. “More and more in Congress are now realizing that we may soon see a final deal that takes an Iranian nuclear weapon off the table for good, but that the sanctions will need to be lifted in order to lock that deal in.”