Ameinu Opposes New Senate Iran Sanctions Bill

Categories: Letters From Leadership

Ameinu Press Release – For Immediate Release, January 6, 2014

With the United States Senate returning to work, and consideration expected on a bill threatening new sanctions on Iran (S. 1881),  Ameinu, the largest grassroots progressive Zionist organization in North America, today released a statement expressing grave concern over the legislative proposal.

“Ameinu is taking this step because the President and Secretary of State Kerry are managing very delicate negotiations with Iran, and they have clearly opposed further Congressional sanctions,” declared Kenneth Bob, Ameinu president.   “The pending legislation serves only to disrupt the diplomatic process, and would diminish the chances of successfully halting Iran’s drive toward nuclear weapons.”

Gideon Aronoff, Ameinu’s CEO, added, “We oppose Senate consideration of S.1881 and will urge all Members of Congress to refrain from taking action on this proposal unless the diplomatic process fails.  Ameinu believes this approach is in the best interest of the United States, the Jewish community and Israel, and should be supported by all who seek to reduce threats of violence in the Middle East.”

Ameinu’s Statement on New Iran Sanctions Legislation Follows:

(January 5, 2014)  Ameinu, the largest grassroots progressive Zionist organization in North America, is deeply concerned by the recent introduction of U.S. Senate legislation that threatens new sanctions on Iran.  At a time when the current international sanctions regime and intense diplomatic efforts by the P-5+1 group of international powers have brought Iran into negotiations over their nuclear program, and an interim deal has been struck, it is time to focus on seeking a negotiated resolution to the crisis rather than additional sanctions and threats of war.

Ameinu is fully cognizant of the serious danger that Iranian nuclear ambitions pose to the United States, Israel and the entire world and believes that the United States and its partners are taking necessary steps to best reach a negotiated agreement that will end the threats from Iran.  We applaud these efforts to address this dire situation through diplomatic means.

Certainly, further sanctions and other tools to compel Iran to give up its quest for nuclear weapons will continue to be available to the Congress and the Administration should the parties fail to reach a comprehensive agreement or should the terms of the current interim agreement be violated.  But now is not the time to undermine the process with additional sanctions legislation.

Ameinu does not question the sincerity of the Senators who introduced S. 1881.  However, this proposal remains extremely controversial.  The Obama Administration, as well as the Intelligence Community, strongly oppose the bill, arguing that it could fatally undermine the negotiations with Iran.  And numerous members of the Senate who are staunch supporters of Israel and of a strong U.S. military — including Carl Levin, Chair of the Armed Services Committee, and Diane Feinstein, Chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence – are working actively to block the new bill from advancing in Congress.

Ameinu believes that it is crucial to proceed without illusions about the dangers from Iran, but also that wise policy demands giving peaceful alternatives every chance to succeed.  We therefore call on the sponsors of S. 1881 to withdraw the legislation now, to support the Administration’s efforts to reach a settlement with Iran, and to return to new sanctions only if the process fails.  Premature sanctions efforts, like S. 1881, can have the effect of guaranteeing failure for the negotiations, a result that would cause immeasurable harm to the United States, Israel and our other allies.

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