WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement in response to discussions about the Senate debating a new round of sanctions on Iran, possibly during consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act next week. The new sanctions are being discussed in Congress as leaders from the P5+1—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany— are currently in negotiations to put in place verifiable restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program:
Over the last several years, the United States and the international community have imposed tough, crippling economic and political sanctions on Iran to show in very clear terms that its belligerent threats and evasion of its responsibilities under the Nonproliferation Treaty wouldn’t be tolerated by the community of nations. The end goal of these sanctions has always been to force Iran to the negotiating table to forge an agreement to abandon any ambition to develop nuclear weapons.
Now, the United States and the P5+1 are close to obtaining a verifiable commitment from Iran to halt activities that could eventually lead to the development of a nuclear weapon. This agreement, should it be finalized, will send a powerful message about the world community's commitment to nonproliferation and substantially advance the security of Israel and other nations in the region. At this critical juncture in these negotiations when Iran may be on the verge of making serious concessions regarding its nuclear program, I worry it would be counterproductive for Congress to authorize a new round of sanctions, diminishing American leverage and weakening the hands of Secretary Kerry and his counterparts in the P5+1.
The P5+1 and Iran return to the negotiating table on November 20th, with a deal for a framework agreement reportedly very close. Congress should be clear that a failure of Iran to come to an agreement with the P5+1 will prompt the imposition of another round of sanctions; but for the time being, Congress should let our negotiators do their job.