Press Releases

Senators Introduce Resolution Supporting Nuclear Negotiations with Iran

Sanctions should only be considered if diplomacy fails or Iran violates agreement

Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today led a group of senators on a resolution in support of ongoing P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran. The resolution states that the Senate is prepared to enact additional sanctions against Iran if current diplomatic efforts fail, but refuses to prejudge the outcome.

This resolution represents a different approach than that of the sanctions bill pending in the Senate Banking Committee. That bill would enact new sanctions against Iran now, while negotiations are ongoing. As President Obama said during his State of the Union address, “new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails.”

In addition to Senators Feinstein and Murphy, the resolution is cosponsored by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), John Tester (D-Mont.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Senator Feinstein released the following statement:

“Enacting new sanctions before the end of the negotiating period would gravely undermine our efforts to reach an agreement with Iran. For those who agree that the sanctions bill in the Banking Committee is detrimental, this resolution provides an option in support of diplomacy. The resolution states that if negotiations fail or if Iran violates any agreement, then it is appropriate for Congress to swiftly pass sanctions.

“Whether or not Iran is willing to make the compromises necessary to rejoin the community of nations remains to be seen. But we have an obligation to give our negotiators the time and space needed to test that possibility. We must see this diplomatic opening through.

“This is not just a matter for the United States, it’s the major world powers that have come together in negotiation with Iran. With the international community united and a temporary accord in place, this is the best chance we have to resolve this matter peacefully. The opportunity is there. To torpedo it would be reckless and dangerous.”

Senator Murphy released the following statement:

“There should be no doubt that the United States Congress stands ready and willing to pass new sanctions if Iran fails to live up to its end of the bargain in these negotiations. Senator Feinstein and I introduced this resolution because we strongly believe that a comprehensive diplomatic agreement is the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and that passing new sanctions legislation at this time would be counterproductive.

“But this resolution makes clear that if Iran walks away from the table, or if talks fall through because they’re no longer negotiating in good faith, the United States will not hesitate to respond with debilitating new sanctions.”

The resolution:

  • Reaffirms the policy of the United States that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon;
  • Supports ongoing diplomatic efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran;
  • Affirms that support for the prompt reimposition of suspended sanctions as well as the imposition of additional sanctions against Iran would be strong and widespread in the Senate should:
    • negotiations fail to achieve a comprehensive agreement,
    • Iran violate the Joint Plan of Action, or
    • Iran violate any final comprehensive agreement on its nuclear program;
  • Agrees that future new sanctions against Iran may target Iran’s energy, financial and other sectors, its foreign currency transactions and some Iranian officials; and
  • Supports the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran.