Congress Needs to Give Diplomacy a Chance to Succeed

Amanda Waldron

Angela Canterbury
202.543.4100 x2108

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved a bill first introduced by Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to provide Congress a role in lifting sanctions on Iran once a final deal is reach.

Below is the Statement from Angela Canterbury, Executive Director of Council for a Livable World and Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation:

While we continue to oppose the Corker bill and any legislation that might undermine completion of an agreement, we are somewhat relieved that President Obama is not overly concerned about the potential impact of the Corker bill on the diplomatic talks. We stand in strong support of the president’s diplomacy to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Congress does have a role to play, and should conduct oversight over any final deal. However, now is not the time for Congress to act—it risks derailing diplomacy, and no deal is a grave risk to our peace and security. We find it is more than ironic that some members of Congress who have been adamant about asserting congressional prerogatives regarding any deal with Iran are at the same time evading their constitutional responsibility regarding war in the Middle East.

Historic progress has been made on diplomacy: earlier this month, the P5+1 and Iran came to a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. We are truly on the brink of a comprehensive, verifiable, final deal to block Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Over the next two and a half months, some members of Congress will look for other opportunities to throw sand in the gears of diplomacy. Regarding Iran, Congress should adopt two principles: “Don’t trust, verify” and “First, do no harm.”

Members of Congress who argue that their support for the Corker bill is not intended to harm negotiations should make it clear that they will support a final deal that rolls back Iran’s nuclear program, provides verification, and blocks Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

The P5+1’s diplomacy with Iran has already achieved significant results. Congress has a responsibility to give diplomacy a chance. The alternatives are simply unacceptable: bombing Iran or Iran with a nuclear weapon.