J Street Calls on US Government to Continue Talks with Iran, Cautions Congress on Inspectors vs. Boots on the Ground

July 17, 2014

WASHINGTON—With Iran nuclear negotiations approaching their target completion date, J Street today called on the US Government to continue talks beyond July 20 if necessary to achieve a final agreement that will ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

“Continuing diplomacy along the lines set forth in the interim agreement would keep Iran’s nuclear program frozen and under daily inspections while negotiators hammer out the details of a deal,” said Dylan Williams, J Street’s Director of Government Affairs. “It’s far better to give our negotiators the time they need to secure a good deal than to let the interim agreement expire and allow Iran to unfreeze its nuclear program.”

The initial agreement under which six months of intensive negotiations have taken place expressly provides the parties with the option to renew the deal by mutual consent. The agreement effectively froze and rolled back Iran’s nuclear program during the course of talks.

Williams also warned against any effort by opponents of diplomacy in Congress to exploit the possible extension of talks as an opportunity to frustrate negotiations. “Legislating new sanctions or unworkable terms for a final deal would kill the talks and likely lead to the collapse of international sanctions, while Iran unfreezes its nuclear program and kicks out inspectors,” said Williams. “It would also vastly increase the chances of another war in the Middle East—a war that military and security experts say would not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program and could spur the regime to dash for a nuclear weapon, all while putting US troops and allies in harm’s way.”

Added Williams, “Congress should understand that this could very well be a question of having inspectors on the ground or boots on the ground.”

Williams also reiterated J Street’s call for Iran to immediately cease its support and supply of weapons to terror groups such as Hamas, including rockets now being launched against Israel from Gaza. “Iran’s outrageous record of supporting and arming terror groups is a key reason why it is so critical to ensure that it never acquires a nuclear weapon,” said Williams.