Senate Resolution Supporting Nuclear Negotiations with Iran

January 28, 2015, Washington D.C. – On January 26, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a non-binding resolution supporting the diplomatic efforts between the P5+1 and Iran to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

The Feinstein-Murphy resolution (S.Res.40) asserts that re-imposing previously waived sanctions on Iran, as well as adding new sanctions, should only be considered if negotiations fail to reach a final comprehensive agreement, or if Iran violates the Joint Plan of Action or any final deal on its nuclear program.

The resolution takes a different approach from the Kirk-Menendez bill pending in the Senate Banking Committee, which would impose “trigger” sanctions on Iran if negotiators fail to strike an accord by the June 30th deadline.

The Obama Administration has asked members of Congress to hold off on the implementation of new sanctions legislation while talks with Iran are in progress. They believe new sanctions on Iran at this time could risk derailing the diplomatic process and splinter the international coalition cooperating on sanctions.   According to Senator Feinstein, her resolution offers an alternative for Members of Congress seeking to weigh in on the nuclear negations with Iran without adversely impacting diplomatic efforts.   

“For those who agree that the sanctions bill in the Banking Committee is detrimental, this resolution provides an option in support of diplomacy,” said Feinstein in a press release following the resolution’s introduction. “The resolution states that if negotiations fail or if Iran violates any agreement, then it is appropriate for Congress to swiftly pass sanctions.”

The resolution stipulates that any future sanctions on Iran may target Iran’s energy, financial and economic sectors, as well as Iran’s foreign currency transactions. In addition, the legislation reaffirms the Senate’s support for universal rights and the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.

The resolution has drawn the support of several Senators who have signed on as co-sponsors including, Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), John Tester (D-MT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Under the provisions of the current Joint Plan of Action extended last November, the P5+1 and Iran must negotiate a political framework agreement by March 24th and achieve a final comprehensive deal by June 30th

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