J Street Strongly Opposes Introduction of Senate Iran Sanctions Bill

December 19th, 2013

J Street strongly opposes the introduction today of a bill in the Senate to impose new sanctions on Iran while the United States and its international partners are trying to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have made it very clear that this bill threatens to derail the negotiations with the Iranians. It is therefore difficult to understand why some Senators feel the need to act now, if they do indeed wish to see a diplomatic resolution. Legislative action at this time runs the risk of derailing diplomacy and of increasing the likelihood that Iran continues its nuclear program or of military action.

The whole world knows that the US Congress stands ready to impose new sanctions should the talks fail or should the Iranians violate the terms of the first step agreement reached in November. J Street too is ready to support new and tougher sanctions in that event.

This bill is therefore entirely superfluous -- and could be immensely damaging.

We note that ten Senate committee chairs, including Sens. Boxer, Feinstein, Levin and Johnson, have put out a statement strongly opposing action at this time. We urge lawmakers to listen carefully to them, to the administration and to our international partners. This bill should not proceed.