The U.S. Senate released a letter Tuesday signed by 83 senators writing to President Barack Obama saying that specific guidelines should be determined before the United States reaches any agreement on Iran’s military nuclear program.
In the letter, the senators lay out “core principles” that they expect a permanent agreement to follow: Under an agreement in the P5+1 negotiations, Iran should have no right to nuclear enrichment as required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; Iran should be compelled to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons program to end all pathways to attaining a uranium or plutonium bomb; and it should close enrichment facilities like Fordow and the Arak heavy water reactor.
The senators’ letter also called on Iran to explain “questionable activities in which [the regime] engaged at Parchin and other facilities,” and to agree to a long-term, invasive process of inspection and verification.
“Most importantly, Iran must clearly understand the consequences of failing to reach an acceptable final agreement,” continued the letter. “We must signal unequivocally to Iran that rejecting negotiations and continuing its nuclear weapon program will lead to much more dramatic sanctions, including further limitations on Iran’s exports of crude oil and petroleum products.”
The senators also took a stand against what they believe to be sanctions relief being applied too early under the Joint Plan of Action, citing economic indicators that show gains in Iran’s oil industry since the preliminary agreement was signed.
“We believe, as you do, that the pressure from economic sanctions brought Iran to the table,” the senators wrote to the president, “and that it must continue until Iran abandons its efforts to build a nuclear weapon.”
The effort was led by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). It was also part of the legislative agenda of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference earlier this month.
AIPAC’s website lists a similar letter for members of the House which, according to a Capitol Hill staffer, is awaiting more signatures.