Thursday, January 16, 2014

Open Letter To Congress

Dear Speaker Boehner, Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, and Representative Pelosi:

We write in support of efforts to enforce Iranian compliance with the Joint Plan of Action that Iran agreed to on November 24, 2013, and in support of the ultimate goal of denying Iran nuclear weapons-making capability. Congress has a chance to play an important role in making clear the consequences of Iranian violations of the interim nuclear deal, in clarifying expectations with respect to future nuclear talks with Tehran, and in creating incentives for Iran to conclude a comprehensive nuclear agreement that protects the national security interests of the United States and its allies.

We support the use of diplomacy and non-military pressure, backed up by the military option, to persuade Iran to comply with numerous U.N. Security Council Resolutions and verifiably abandon its efforts to attain nuclear weapons-making capability. Congressional leadership has been indispensable in creating the framework of U.S.-led international sanctions that brought Iran back to the negotiating table. However, given Tehran’s long history of violating its international nuclear obligations—and the lack of any explicit enforcement mechanisms in the Joint Plan of Action’s text—congressional leadership is once again required to set clear standards for enforcing Iranian compliance with the interim nuclear deal.

As talks go forward, it is critical that Iran not use diplomatic talks as subterfuge for continued development of various aspects of its nuclear program. It is worth recalling Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani’s claim that, when he served as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator a decade ago, he used diplomatic talks to buy time for Iran to advance its nuclear program. Congressional leadership can help prevent Iran from using future negotiations as cover to further the growth of its nuclear weapons-making capability.

Congress should also use this opportunity to describe its expectations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. Such an agreement would irreversibly close off Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon through uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing, bring Iran into compliance with its international obligations for full transparency and cooperation regarding its nuclear program, and permit extraordinary inspection measures to safeguard against any undeclared Iranian nuclear activities.

Commenting on the likelihood of getting Iran to agree to a comprehensive nuclear agreement, 44 recently commented, “I wouldn’t say that it’s more than 50/50.” We can do better than a coin-toss. Congress now has the opportunity to make clear the consequences for Iran if it violates the interim nuclear deal or fails to conclude a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Congressional action can thus subtantially improve the prospect that Iran’s growing nuclear threat will be verifiably and irreversibly halted without the use of force. We urge Congress to seize this opportunity.

Elliott AbramsJames Kirchick
Dr. Fouad AjamiIrina Krasovskaya
Dr. Michael AuslinDr. William Kristol
Congresswoman Shelley BerkleyDr. Robert J. Lieber
Josh BlockSenator Joseph I. Lieberman
Dan BlumenthalTod Lindberg
Max BootMary Beth Long
Ellen BorkDr. Thomas G. Mahnken
Ambassador L. Paul BremerDr. Michael Makovsky
Dr. Eliot A. CohenCourtney Messerschmidt
Ann Marlowe
Senator Norm ColemanClifford D. May
Ambassador William CourtneyRobert C. McFarlane
Seth CropseyDavid A. Merkel
Jack DavidThomas C. Moore
James S. DentonDr. Joshua Muravchik
Dr. Paula J. DobrianskyGovernor Tim Pawlenty
Dr. Michael DoranDr. Martin Peretz
Mark DubowitzDanielle Pletka
Dr. Colin DueckJohn Podhoretz
Dr. Nicholas N. EberstadtArch Puddington
Ambassador Eric S. EdelmanStephen G. Rademaker
Douglas J. FeithDr. Michael Rubin
Dr. Jeffrey GedminRandy Scheunemann
Reuel Marc GerechtDr. Gary J. Schmitt
Abe GreenwaldDan Senor
Christopher J. GriffinLee Smith
John P. HannahHenry D. Sokolski
Peter R. HuessyDr. Ray Takeyh
Dr. William C. InbodenWilliam H. Tobey
Bruce Pitcairn JacksonDr. Daniel Twining
Ash JainPeter Wehner
Dr. Kenneth D. M. JensenDr. Kenneth R. Weinstein
Ambassador Robert G. JosephLeon Wieseltier
Dr. Frederick W. KaganDr. Dov S. Zakheim
Dr. Robert KaganRoger Zakheim
Lawrence F. KaplanRobert Zarate