Washington DC â€“ December 13, 2013 â€“ News Release â€“ In recent days, the Senate has shelved legislation that would have killed a first-step deal with Iran to dismantle and verify its nuclear program. This effort was only possible thanks to the leadership of Congressman Steny Hoyer.
â€œCongressman Hoyerâ€™s leadership has created an opportunity for one of the most important foreign policy initiatives in a decade to succeed,â€� said Laicie Heeley, Director of Middle East and Defense Policy at Council for a Livable World. â€œCongressman Hoyer has been a champion of policies that make sense and ensure U.S. security. This is what the first-step deal achieves.â€�
In a first-step deal negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran last month, Iran will neutralize its 20 percent enriched uranium stockpile, halt uranium enrichment beyond five percent and open its nuclear facilities for daily inspections in exchange for very limited sanctions relief and the promise of no further sanctions while a long-term deal is negotiated.
â€œThis isnâ€™t a perfect deal, but itâ€™s a good first step. Itâ€™s important to remember that this agreement has the support of the international community,â€� said Heeley. â€œThis deal moves us leaps and bounds ahead of our current position in terms of ensuring the national security of the United States and our allies, especially Israel. If Iran fails to live up to its promises and agree to a final deal, weâ€™ll still have set their program back by six months.â€�
The Congressional environment was not friendly to Congressman Hoyer. He ran up against anti-diplomacy factions headed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) who attempted to push further sanctions that would have dismantled the newly won deal.
â€œFor the moment, there are no new sanctions. But that could change. Congressman Hoyer has assured the public that Democrats will immediately act if the first-step deal collapses,â€� noted Heeley. â€œWe could also see a new push to pressure the Senate from Cantor and Scalise when the House returns in January. For now, though, the space for a diplomatic solution to one of Americaâ€™s greatest foreign policy challenges remains open.â€�
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.