printer iconPrinter-friendly Version

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2013

SENATORS SCHUMER AND McCAIN URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA NOT TO LET UP ON IRAN SANCTIONS


Ahead of U.N. General Assembly Meeting & With Reports of Potential New Engagement from Iran on Nuclear Issues, Senators Urge President Obama to Keep In Place Tough Sanctions

Senators Schumer and McCain Write That Potential for New Talks Wouldn’t Even Exist Without Sanctions That Have Punished Iran for Last Several Years

Senators: Talk is Fine, But Sanctions Must Remain

WASHINGTON, DC – Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and John McCain wrote to President Barack Obama, urging him to keep in place tough sanctions that have punished Iran for their pursuit of nuclear weapons. Amidst reports that Iranian President Rouhani is open to new talks about the nuclear program with President Obama, the senators believe it is absolutely essential that the United States not ease up an inch on sanctions. Senators Schumer and McCain write that the Iranians are only expressing openness to diplomacy because they have been compelled by the crippling consequences of the sanctions.

The senators write, “we respectfully urge that any diplomatic outreach to Iran reemphasize that the United States will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and that any relief from crippling economic sanctions on Iran will only be provided if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable actions to halt its nuclear activities. Over the past several years, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress has worked with your administration to put in place the most rigorous sanctions on Iran. These measures have had an overwhelming impact on the Iranian economy, causing a sharp drop in the value of Iran’s currency and crippling key sectors of its economy, such as energy, banking and shipping. The impact of these sanctions may finally be bringing Iran to the negotiating table, and now is not the time to delay, remove or loosen these measures. Doing so now would be extremely counterproductive. Instead, we should continue to move forward with strong implementation of our sanctions unless Iran suspends its nuclear program.”

The full text of the Senators’ letter appears below:

Dear Mr. President:

As you prepare to address the United Nations General Assembly tomorrow and consider a meeting with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, we respectfully urge that any diplomatic outreach to Iran reemphasize that the United States will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and that any relief from crippling economic sanctions on Iran will only be provided if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable actions to halt its nuclear activities. Over the past several years, an overwhelming bipartisan majority in Congress has worked with your administration to put in place the most rigorous sanctions on Iran. These measures have had an overwhelming  impact on the Iranian economy, causing a sharp drop in the value of Iran’s currency and crippling key sectors of its economy, such as energy, banking and shipping.  The impact of these sanctions may finally be bringing Iran to the negotiating table, and now is not the time to delay, remove or loosen these measures. Doing so now would be extremely counterproductive. Instead, we should continue to move forward with strong implementation of our sanctions unless Iran suspends its nuclear program. 

As you know, the Iranian government, to this very day, has continued to press forward with its nuclear program. It has quintupled its stockpile of low enriched uranium since 2009 and has come much closer to possessing weapons-grade uranium by enriching up to 20 percent of it. Iran has also raced towards completion of its hardened Fordow enrichment facility, more than doubling the number of centrifuges installed there just since July 2012. These facts mean that Iran is very much in hot pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, and we must do everything we can to bring their ambitions to a halt. Your speech to the General Assembly and potential U.S. discussions with President Rouhani or other Iranian officials offer a possible opening to establish expectations for diplomatic talks and set the tone that an Iranian nuclear weapons capability will not be tolerated.

First, we strongly believe that it must be reemphasized that it is the policy of the United States that it will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. With the world’s attention on Syria and other matters, this is an opportunity to reinforce that there will be absolutely no relaxing of pressure on the Iranians until the entirety of their nuclear situation has been addressed. Iran must show it is serious about reaching a legitimate diplomatic solution accompanied by full and verifiable compliance. Talks cannot be merely a stalling tactic, while Iran continues to move forward with aggressive enrichment of uranium. This would require Iran to fully implement all of its obligations under numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities, as well as the removal from its territory of all uranium enriched to the twenty percent level.

Second, we believe that the United States must make use of all elements of our national power to pressure Iran, including the aggressive implementation of existing sanctions. Now is not the time to let up on this pressure. Removal of any existing sanctions must depend on Iran’s halting of its nuclear program. Conversely, the continuation or expansion of its nuclear activities will only lead to more sanctions led by the United States and our friends and allies. We must make it clear that the United States will not scale back sanctions unless accompanied by real, meaningful action by the Iranian regime.

Third, it is important that you reiterate to Iran the seriousness of our resolve. We believe no one should question American intent to act against Iran’s nuclear program. Strengthening the threat of force will be necessary if talks with Iran are to succeed.

We respectfully urge that any diplomatic outreach to Iran reemphasize that the United States will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability and that any relief of crippling economic sanctions on Iran will only be provided if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable actions to halt its nuclear activities.

We look forward to working with you on this important task.

Sincerely,

 

Chuck Schumer

John McCain

###

Resource Center
chuck around new york icon
Chuck in New York
See what Chuck has been doing in
your area lately
Casework Icon
Services for New Yorkers
For help cutting through the federal government's red tape
Tours Icon
Schedule a Tour
Plan your trip to Washington D.C.
Veterans Icon
Veterans Assistance
Help for those who have served our nation
Protecting Consumers icon
Protecting Consumers
Help and Resources for New York consumers
Grants Assistance icon
Grants Assistance
Guide to applying for federal grants
Financial aid assistance icon
Financial Aid Assistance
Guide to applying for federal financial aid
e-newsletter icon
facebook icon
twitter icon
youtube icon
flickr icon
CMF Bronze Mouse Award for the 111th Congress