J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams issued the following statement after the conclusion of this week’s round of talks in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program:
J Street welcomes with cautious optimism the joint statement issued by the the member countries of the P5+1 and Iran characterizing the talks– the first since Hassan Rouhani assumed Iran’s presidency– as “substantive” and “forward looking.” The parties also committed to another round in early November, with technical teams to meet in the interim.
J Street has long argued for a combination of tough sanctions and rigorous diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, to press Iran to come into compliance with its international nuclear obligations, and ultimately to offer it a path to re-integrate into the international community with the opportunity to develop its economy to its full potential.
We believe US and multilateral sanctions against Iran– each tranche of which J Street has supported– have contributed to the potential opening we are seeing today on the diplomatic front.
We support maintaining sanctions that can be carefully calibrated by the President to maximize the prospects for Iranian compliance with its nuclear obligations. Sanctions should be scaled back only in exchange for material, verifiable concessions on the part of Iran.
In light of the positive movement over two days of negotiations in Geneva and Iran’s commitment to continue substantive negotiations, now is not the time for new sanctions legislation to move through Congress, which might undermine President Rouhani’s standing and ability to conclude an agreement.