MoveOn.org Civic Action and CREDO Action:
Deal with Iran in sight: Progressives applaud negotiators for taking the time they need to get it right
“Members of Congress must avoid any new sanctions or other measures that could undermine negotiations and put our nation on a path to another war.”
Washington, D.C. — On the eve of their self-imposed cutoff to finalize a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, negotiators representing the P5+1 — the United States, Russia, China, the UK, France, and Germany — and Iran have extended the deadline for completing their final agreement until July 1, 2015. The November 2013 deal which initially froze Iran’s nuclear program will remain in effect until the final agreement is complete.
Negotiators are tasked with securing a major win, seeking to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons and locking in comprehensive safeguards. If successful, their efforts will put the U.S. on a solid path to better relations with Iran and its people.
“The agreement being negotiated has the potential to stand as a powerful example of an important U.S. foreign policy milestone, demonstrating the power of tough, principled diplomacy in lieu of a rush to use military force. It’s worth the additional time it will take to get these complex issues right,” notes Anna Galland, MoveOn.org Civic Action Executive Director.
Becky Bond, CREDO Action’s Political Director, adds, “A small group of Democrats are poised to join reckless hawks like John McCain and pass legislation that will sabotage President Obama’s diplomatic efforts and could put us on the path to war.”
Today, CREDO Action and MoveOn, representing millions of Americans, are putting those Democrats on notice: They will be held accountable if they stand with John McCain and attempt to derail the significant and hard-won progress made to-date.
Reports indicate that negotiators from the P5+1 will extend nuclear talks with Iran to July 1, with the aim of achieving a framework agreement by March. The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and its sister organization, Council for a Livable World, applaud the U.S. commitment to diplomacy, but hope to see negotiators from the P5+1 and Iran continue to work with the same sense of urgency they’ve sustained for the past year.
“News that the talks will continue indicates that real progress is being made by our negotiators. A deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran is within reach and worth more time to get it right,” said Angela Canterbury, Executive Director of the Center and Council.
“Over the past year, Iran has complied with the interim agreement,” said Laicie Heeley, Policy Director at the Center and Council. “By continuing the talks, Iran’s nuclear program remains frozen, and negotiators can continue to work out the details of a good deal.”
But this historic moment must not be lost. A deal that verifiably constrains Iran’s nuclear program is within reach. Now is the time to make tough decisions.
“Negotiators must be careful not to lose the sense of urgency they’ve maintained over the past year,” said Heeley. “The U.S. and its allies should work to achieve a deal in advance of the new July deadline to ensure that this historic moment is not lost.”
Congress, for its part, should support this continued effort to achieve a good deal.
Canterbury added, “The stakes are too high to allow hardliners in the US and Iran to torpedo a deal. That means Congress must ask tough questions, but allow negotiators the space to press for a good deal, and then verify it makes us safer.”
Angela Canterbury, Laicie Heeley and other members of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation are available for further comment and broadcast bookings by contacting Amanda Waldron at 202.546.0795 X 2115 or [email protected]
Largest Peace Group Supports Extending Iran Negotiations
Washington, DC — November 23, 2014 — In response to various sources citing that the P5 + 1 (the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) and Iran will extend their negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program beyond today’s deadline until July, Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. released the following statement by its policy and political director, Paul Kawika Martin who has been working on the issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in Iran:
The recently announced extension of international talks with Iran over their nuclear program will continue to roll back Iran’s nuclear program and provide time to negotiate final difference and come to an agreement that guarantees Iran will not pursue a nuclear weapon makes the U.S. and the world a safer place and paves the way for more discussions that will reduce Middle East tensions and increase economic opportunities benefiting world markets.
The U.S. has come along way from the days when Vice President Dick Cheney tried to sway the Bush administration to bomb Iran, to today when the Obama administration is key to international negotiations that we hope will lead to an agreement with Iran that will roll back its nuclear program and ensure it does not build a nuclear weapon even if it wanted one. International verification and monitoring will guarantee compliance. This extension of talks with Iran over its nuclear program is yet another example that diplomacy is working and is far less expensive in blood and treasure than military intervention.
Unfortunately, there are some in Congress and the Israeli Government who take the Cheney tack that war is the answer. But, this seven-month extension of talks with Iran is better than any imaginable alternative. Military strategists have said over and over again that a military intervention into Iran would at best slightly delay any nuclear program and at worst force Iran to engage or speed up getting a nuclear weapon even if they had no such program. Additionally, it could start another Middle East war that the U.S. cannot afford and Americans oppose.
It is vital that Congress not scuttle an agreement with Iran now that the parties are so close . Any letters or legislation that offers more sanctions or ties the hands of the countries, preventing them from coming to an agreement, is clearly a poison pill to kill the negotiations. That would be very short sighted, as an agreement with Iran on their nuclear program would likely lead to productive negotiations on other items of concern with the Iranian Government, not to mention, to open up important economic channels to help world financial woes.
With bad news coming out of the Middle East nearly every day, continued negotiations with Iran is something to lift up not bring down. This is a key time to lessen tensions in the Middle East. The extension of talks continues to heavily limit Iran’s nuclear program while providing significant safeguards and inspections to guarantee non-weapon uses of nuclear technology.
Peace Action will join dozens of other organizations to have our supporters call on their congressional delegation to publicly support the talks with Iran by asking them to make a floor statement, write an OP-ED and release a positive statement.
WAND Statement on the Extension of the Iran Nuclear Talks
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) makes the following statement on the extension of the nuclear talks to guard against a nuclear Iran.
The negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council – U.S., UK, Russia, China, France – plus Germany) have been important for American and international security. They have rolled back and increased transparency on Iran’s nuclear program, making it more difficult for Iran to build a nuclear weapon.
Additionally, the negotiations have succeeded in preventing a military confrontation, which would threaten U.S. security and interests in the Middle East, our troops stationed abroad, and Iranian citizens caught in the crossfire. This diplomacy also strengthens the larger global efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons at an especially crucial time as we look ahead to the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.
Because the Joint Plan of Action has been extended, Iran’s pathways to a bomb remain closed. In the meantime, positive avenues for peace become increasingly possible. A future deal creates the potential for U.S.-Iran economic, security, and diplomatic cooperation, for increased accountability of Iran’s human rights practices, and for a better future for the Iranian people. None of these outcomes will happen immediately; but without these negotiations they would not exist at all.
WAND believes the U.S. Congress has an important role to play on this issue. Congress, together with the Obama administration, imposed economic sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table. Congress will also have a role when a final deal is agreed to in overseeing its implementation and turning sanctions on or off depending on Iran’s compliance.
A comprehensive agreement is within reach; WAND strongly urges U.S. Members of Congress to refrain from legislative actions that would undermine the extension. Taking such action could shift responsibility from Iran to the United States for successfully completing a deal. Moreover, it could unravel the agreement altogether. Iran would be free to go back to spinning centrifuges with much less international oversight. Prospects for war would increase. We encourage actions that support this diplomatic process such as press statements and statements for the Congressional record.
Nuclear Weapons Policy Director