WASHINGTON – Ryan Costello, Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), welcomed a letter from Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) urging President Biden to address concerns over Iran’s nuclear program by returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):
“With important progress toward a synchronized return last week in Vienna, this important letter comes at a perfect time to show President Biden he has support from Congress to reseal the deal, and take other critical steps like supporting humanitarian trade with Iran. Many Members of Congress – including a clear majority of the Democratic caucus in the House and Senate – recognize that Trump’s maximum pressure policy was a resounding failure that brought us to the brink of war and pushed Iran to expand its nuclear program rather than curbing it as the JCPOA successfully accomplished.
“Critically, this letter was backed by more than half of Democratic Senators, while a separate letter unrealistically and unhelpfully calling for all problems to be resolved upfront, led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), received tepid support from Democrats.
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“Now is the time to take advantage of this diplomatic momentum and relieve sanctions inconsistent with the deal. The letter calls for a compliance-for-compliance return to the Iran nuclear deal and expresses support for humanitarian gestures to ensure the flow of medicine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Iranians hard and is surging once again. This is perfectly in line with President Biden’s own thinking, who has supported a compliance-for-compliance return and called on the Trump administration to take immediate steps to address sanctions that hurt Iran’s ability to combat the pandemic.
“Returning to the deal would deliver immediate nonproliferation benefits, re-establish American leadership and credibility in world affairs, and create a foundation for further diplomacy to address other concerns with Iran. Such lasting benefits can’t be delivered via sabotage that we have seen over the past year or rash military action, which risks poisoning the well for talks and convincing Iran to fortify and double down on its nuclear program.
“President Biden and his administration have been clear in their desire to restore the deal through mutual return to compliance, the participation of the U.S. in indirect negotiations with Iran in Vienna show their commitment to that end. But with Iran’s elections on the horizon in June the window to act is small. With the Kaine-Murphy letter, which builds on the letter from 150 Members of the House supporting return in December, President Biden has the support he needs to act boldly to get Iran back into full compliance by rejoining the deal.”