Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Congress not to pass more Iran sanctions that may interfere with current negotiations between the P5+1 powers and the Islamic Republic. Instead, Clinton said, lawmakers should work together with the Obama administration to send a unified message to Iran.
Iran reached a preliminary six-month agreement on its nuclear program with the P5+1 powers during diplomatic talks in Geneva in November. According to the deal, Iran promised to stop enriching uranium beyond 3.5 percent and dilute all existing stockpiles already enriched to 20 percent down to 5 percent. The country cannot install any new centrifuges and must allow regular monitoring by international nuclear inspectors. In January, talks between Iran and world powers on the details of the deal hit a snag with the revelation that the Islamic Republic has built a new advanced nuclear centrifuge.
Clinton expressed her views on Iran sanctions in a three-page letter to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Now that serious negotiations are finally under way, we should do everything we can to test whether they can advance a permanent solution… As President Obama has said, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed, while keeping all options on the table,” she wrote.
Currently, 59 Republicans and Democrats back legislation to impose more sanctions on Iran. The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), would increase the financial and industrial penalties on Iran only if it violates the six-month deal or does not reach a final agreement with world powers on the issue of nuclear weapons.
Clinton did acknowledge that a nuclear accord “will not suddenly remove every other concern we have with the Iranian government’s behavior, whether in Syria, in the wider region, or towards its own people.”
“So long as Iran remains a sponsor of terrorism and a threat to global security, we will have to remain vigilant in defense of our allies and partners, including Israel,” she wrote.