AJC Supports Bipartisan Senate Bill on Iran Sanctions

Dec 19, 2013, 15:33 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC applauded Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for spearheading a new bipartisan Senate bill on Iran. AJC is urging Senators to move expeditiously to adopt the measure, the Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2013, introduced today with 26 Senators co-sponsoring.

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"Until there are tangible, verifiable deeds by Iran to permanently end its quest for nuclear-weapons capability, Congress is doing the right thing, sending a strong message to Iran that it will pay a heavy price if a permanent agreement on its nuclear program is not achieved," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. AJC earlier this month sent a letter to all Senators urging them to support the preparation of new sanctions.

AJC has conveyed appreciation for the efforts of the Administration and the other P5+1 governments negotiating with Iran. At the same time, Harris emphasized that the new sanctions should be held in reserve to "underscore the seriousness of America's determination -- and the consequences of an Iranian failure to act in good faith."

"AJC has long believed in a diplomatic, not a military, solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, and has advocated for the toughest possible economic measures to persuade Iran to desist from its nuclear-weapons quest," said Harris.

"Sanctions work," said Harris. "What prompted Iran to come to the negotiations in Geneva with the P5+1 nations – the increasing toll of sanctions -- remains essential for ensuring that Tehran is committed to negotiating a final agreement to end its nuclear-weapons program."

Numerous questions have arisen since the Geneva deal announced on November 23, and at least one P5+1 country, France, has expressed serious doubts about the Iranian commitment to reach a final deal.

"Iran's charge that Congress will cause the collapse of the interim deal is a diversionary tactic," said Harris. "If Iran is serious about a deal, then Iran has nothing whatsoever to fear from the bipartisan Senate initiative."

The Senate measure includes a provision for President Obama to waive sanctions if the Administration can certify that Iran is complying with the Geneva deal and negotiating in good faith on a final agreement.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee