USA*Engage Welcomes Report Finding Iran Sanctions Ineffective

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

In welcoming the task forces conclusions, USA*Engage co-chairman Bill Reinsch said, "This is an extremely important statement on U.S.-Iranian relations by a group of leading foreign policy professionals. USA*Engage has long advocated a policy of engagement with Iran that would include lifting the sanctions that prohibit trade with and investment in Iran. We share the task force's belief that 'the prospect of commercial relations with the United States could be a powerful tool in Washington's arsenal.'"

Given the United States' heavy reliance on punitive measures and their clear failure to influence Tehran, Reinsch expressed the hope that the administration would heed the task force's judgment, which concluded that "given Iran's pressing economic challenges, the most powerful inducements for Tehran would be economic measures: particularly steps that rescind the comprehensive U.S. embargo on trade and investment." Reinsch enthusiastically welcomed the task force's endorsement of a step that USA*Engage has long advocated: the authorization of "executory contracts," or legal instruments that permit U.S. businesses to negotiate with Iranian entities, while deferring implementation of agreements until further political progress has been made.

USA*Engage, a coalition of more than 600 U.S. companies and organizations, has long opposed the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act and advocated lifting the executive orders of 1995 and 1997 that ban trade and investment. The Council on Foreign Relations task force report "makes it clear that the policy we have advocated is squarely in the U.S. national security interest," Reinsch concluded.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of over 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at