USA*Engage and NFTC Statement on Introduction of New Iran Sanctions Legislation

Thursday, 19 December 2013
Washington, DC – USA*Engage and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released the following statement on the introduction of new Iran sanctions legislation.

“USA*Engage and the National Foreign Trade Council urge senators to oppose legislation introduced today by Senators Robert Menendez and Mark Kirk, and instead support the Administration’s effort to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear development to peaceful uses under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.

“The interim agreement, in fact, gives the P5+1 and their Iranian counterparts diplomatic space and time for the effort. It also retains intact the unprecedented multilateral sanctions regime directed at Iran’s economy. The indubitably modest sanctions relief will be implemented only upon verification that Iran stops the activities enumerated in the interim agreement.

“Given the minimal risk and the possibility of real success, we dispute the argument that Congressional passage of further prospective sanctions now will add leverage against Iran in the negotiations. On the contrary, such an action would violate the stipulation that no new sanctions be enacted during the course of the negotiations. It strains credulity to assert that passing prospective sanctions now will increase the prospects for a successful negotiation, still less legislating any sine qua non standard for an agreement.

“The Senate will retain the ability to pass further sanctions expeditiously down the road if the current diplomatic effort fails. Exercising appropriate restraint in the present will insure that the United States, the members of the European Union and the other countries that have allied to limit Iran’s nuclear program to verifiable peaceful uses remain united in the effort.”