December 06, 2010

As International Talks Of Iran’s Nuclear Program Begin, Gillibrand, Bipartisan Group Of Senators Urge U.S. To Ratchet Up Pressure On Iran Until It Halts Nuclear Ambitions

Senators Call For U.S. to Make Clear to Iran That Sanctions, New Measures Will Be Enforced Until Iran Stops All Nuclear Enrichment and Processing Activities

Washington, DC – Ahead of today’s talks on Iran’s nuclear program that are now underway between six world powers — the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – and Iran, Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with a group of bi-partisan Senate colleagues urged President Obama to continue to ratchet up the pressure on Iran through comprehensive enforcement of existing sanctions and new measures until Iran halts its nuclear ambitions and stops all enrichment and processing activities. The Senators asked that the United States not settle for anything less in the negotiations and expressed their support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to increase pressure on Iran. 

In a letter to President Obama, the Senators wrote, “We believe that it is absolutely essential that the United States and its partners make clear to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that we intend to continue ratcheting up this pressure, through comprehensive enforcement of existing sanctions as well as imposition of new measures, until the full, verifiable, and sustained suspension by Iran of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related activities, as demanded by multiple UN Security Council resolutions… We believe that it is critical that the United States and our partners make clear that, given the government of Iran’s pattern of deception and noncooperation, its government cannot be permitted to maintain any enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future. We would strongly oppose any proposal for a diplomatic endgame in which Iran is permitted to continue these activities in any form.”

The two-day talks between G5+1 and Iran, which began today in Geneva, are the first time negotiators have convened on this issue in more than a year. The letter was signed by Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Robert Casey Jr. (D-Penn.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Full text of the letter is below.

 

Dear Mr. President:

As diplomats from the United States join talks today between the P-5+1 and Iran in Geneva, we write to share some thoughts about these discussions, and our broader Iran policy. In particular, we wish to express our support for a set of principles that we believe are reflective of a consensus among a broad, bipartisan majority in Congress, who stand ready to work with you and your Administration to stop Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability -- a grave threat that would compromise our security and the security of all of our allies in the Middle East.

First, we strongly support the cascade of measures that have been put in place over the past several months by your Administration, in cooperation with our partners around the world, to increase the pressure on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  We applaud and are encouraged by the strong actions taken thus far by the Administration to secure meaningful economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Iranian regime, which are absolutely essential for any prospect of a peaceful resolution to this challenge. 

Second, we believe that it is absolutely essential that the United States and its partners make clear to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that we intend to continue ratcheting up this pressure, through comprehensive enforcement of existing sanctions as well as imposition of new measures, until the full, verifiable, and sustained suspension by Iran of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related activities, as demanded by multiple UN Security Council resolutions. The pressure track should likewise continue on its current trajectory until Iran resumes full cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol; resolves all outstanding concerns about its nuclear program; and complies with the steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors and multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions directed at its nuclear program. The government of Iran must understand that there is absolutely no possibility of any freeze or reduction in the momentum of the pressure track until these minimum requirements have been met.

Third, we remain concerned about the possibility that the Iranian regime will seek to buy time or otherwise dilute the focus of our diplomacy through unrelated “confidence-building measures” that fail to address the core concerns associated with Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. Such tactical maneuverings are of course no substitute for a real negotiation, and therefore should not be mistaken as such.

Fourth, we believe that it is critical that the United States and our partners make clear that, given the government of Iran’s pattern of deception and noncooperation, its government cannot be permitted to maintain any enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future. We would strongly oppose any proposal for a diplomatic endgame in which Iran is permitted to continue these activities in any form.

We thank you for your continued leadership on this matter of critical importance to our national security. We pledge to you our continued support to do all that is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.