Washington DC – March 14, 2014 – News Release “ Congressional leaders are preparing to release a series of letters supporting ongoing diplomatic negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran. These bipartisan letters show overwhelming support for negotiations as the preferred path to ensure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.
“This is a significant departure from the conversation in Congress only a few months ago,” said Laicie Heeley, Director of Middle East and Defense Policy. “Opponents of talks have, until now, pushed for new sanctions or legislation demanding unworkable end-terms for a final deal. This shift is a testament to the diplomatic progress achieved by the talks.”
A House letter led by Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and a Senate letter led by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) carefully avoid setting conditions regarding the sensitive and complex issue of Iran’s domestic enrichment capability. Another letter, led by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), is deliberately ambiguous on this point.
“This is an important change, because Iran has said it will not negotiate on the issue of domestic enrichment. An attempt to define the end-state of negotiations in a way we know will not succeed dooms the entire process to failure when it’s only just begun,”said Heeley. “This is not the time to interfere.”
Under the first-step deal inked in November by the P5+1 and Iran, Iran will convert its stockpile of twenty percent enriched uranium, cease enrichment of uranium above five percent and open its facilities for daily inspections in exchange for limited sanctions relief. Implementation has so far gone smoothly, with a recent report showing that Iranâ€™s stockpile of twenty percent enriched uranium has decreased for the first time in four years.
Council for a Livable World is a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to increasing national security, particularly through reducing of the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation. The Council advocates for a strong and sensible national security policy and helps elect congressional candidates supporting those ideals.