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Let Diplomacy Work

Feinstein quote 2






by Jessica Hood, WAND Intern, Washington, DC

On January 14, 2014 Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, took to the Senate floor to deliver a powerful speech against the misguided effort to impose further sanctions on Iran. The Kirk-Menendez bill, known as the “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013,” would enact additional sanctions in violation of our interim agreement and torpedo our best chance of actually achieving a nuclear weapon-free Iran.

Most importantly, Sen. Feinstein does not mince words about where the bill would take us:

“The fact is we have reached agreement and that action is just about to take place, and we are going to jaundice it, we are going to hurt it, and we are going to collapse it….How does that make any kind of common sense? It defies logic, it threatens instant reverse, and it ends what has been unprecedented diplomacy. Do we want to take that on our shoulders? Candidly, in my view, it is a march toward war.”

The interim agreement only eases a small portion of the sanctions on Iran, but they will continue to lose $4-5 billion in oil revenue every month in addition to the $100 billion of its reserves that will remain frozen. In light of this Sen. Feinstein argued, “The sanctions are biting and they are biting deeply, and there is no need to put additional sanctions on the table at this time.” She noted that the U.S. is strictly enforcing the continued sanctions, punishing companies over sanctions violations and expanding the number of Iranian entities subject to sanctions.

“Passing additional sanctions now would only play into the hands of those in Iran who are most eager to see diplomacy fail,” Sen. Feinstein said. “Iranian conservatives, hardliners, will attack President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif for seeking a nuclear compromise. They will argue that Iran exchanged a freeze of its nuclear program for additional and harsh punitive sanctions.”

If passed, the Kirk-Menendez bill will bolster the political position of hardliners in Iran’s parliament, hardly an outcome that would lead to a safer Middle East or a safer world. If the Senate passes more sanctions, the U.S., not Iran, will be the country that breaks its word to the international community. “It says to the UK, China, Russia, France, and Germany that our country cannot be trusted to stand behind our diplomatic commitments,” Sen. Feinstein warned. “That is a very big statement.”

Call your Senators to prevent war with Iran!

Watch Sen. Feinstein’s speech.

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