USA*Engage Calls on Senate to Oppose Iran Sanctions Legislation

Monday, 27 January 2014
Washington, DC – Today, USA*Engage Director Richard Sawaya sent a letter urging the U.S. Senate to oppose S. 1881, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.

Sawaya wrote:

"… Against the common sense understanding of the interim agreement to engage in comprehensive negotiations – that for the duration of negotiations Iran will curtail or stop specified nuclear-related activities in return for modest, specified sanctions relief and the guarantee that no new sanctions will be implemented – the proponents of S. 1881 assert that the additional sanctions proposed are merely contingent on Iran's keeping its end of the bargain. And, because sanctions have forced the Iranians to bargain, the prospect of more crippling sanctions will motivate them to negotiate away their entire nuclear capability.

"… In other words, the bill quietly moves the goalposts far beyond the original intention of addressing Iran's nuclear ambitions, thus virtually guaranteeing the failure of the talks and the imposition of the bill's additional sanctions. Also, needless to say, nowhere in the bill is there any stipulation that in the event of a successful negotiation between the P5+1 and Iran, the existing sanctions would be repealed. One might be hard pressed to find in the annals of diplomacy among sovereign nations a more artfully designed booby trap.

"A comprehensive agreement that results in an empirically-based mechanism to guarantee that Iran will not stand up a nuclear weapon may or may not come to pass. But with the decomposition of the post-World War One colonial division of ‘the Middle East' gathering speed, it is unquestionably worth the effort to try.

"In the event of failure, Congress, as the Administration has stated, can double down on financial warfare quickly, but legislation to effectively force the issue now would be an historic mistake. I hope you will oppose S. 1881 should it come to the Senate floor for consideration."

Click here to read the full letter.