Bipartisan letter backs diplomacy, eschews imposing unworkable demands on Iran

March 18th, 2014

WASHINGTON—J Street applauds the 395 Members of Congress who today sent President Barack Obama a letter expressing strong bipartisan support for diplomacy with Iran. In backing negotiations, the letter led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-&) and Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD-5) carefully avoids setting conditions for a final deal-- particularly regarding the sensitive and complex issue of Iran's domestic enrichment capability-- that would undermine talks. Further, the letter constructively contemplates Congress' role in repealing relevant sanctions statutes if and when a final agreement is achieved. J Street lobbied in support of the letter.

"This letter shows just how far Congress has come in recent months in their approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear program," said J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams. "In half a year, the debate has swung away from bellicose saber-rattling and toward an overwhelming consensus in favor of a workable diplomatic resolution that ensures Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon."

The letter highlights very real concerns with Iran's nuclear program and related actions, while expressly noting that its signers "do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear energy program."

"It speaks volumes that, far from backing calls for military action, new sanctions or onerous conditions for a final deal, Congress has instead chosen to throw its weight behind diplomacy," said Williams.