January 16, 2014, Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Community, expressed opposition to the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 (S.1881). The legislation, which has currently gained 59 co-sponsors, sets to expand and impose additional sanctions against Iran.
Feinstein expressed concern that passing S.1881 would collapse current diplomatic initiatives between Iran and the P5+1 and pave the path to war.
Feinstein addressed criticism of the current interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1. She noted that the agreement does not unravel core oil and financial sanctions on Iran, and most importantly, it “freezes Iran’s nuclear progress while a comprehensive, verifiable agreement is being negotiated over the next six months.”
“The interim agreement with Iran is strong, it is tough, and it is realistic. It represents the first significant opportunity to change a three-decade course in Iran and an opening to improve one of our most poisonous bilateral relationships,” she said.
Feinstein cautioned that passing additional sanctions at this time would not strengthen the U.S. position in negotiations, as some have argued. Rather, it could strengthen hardliners inside Iran, who are most eager to see diplomacy fail, and splinter the international coalition that enabled sanctions to succeed in the first place.
“It says to the UK, China, Russia, France, and Germany that our country cannot be trusted to stand behind our diplomatic commitments. That is a very big statement.”
Lastly, she warned that the collapse of negotiations would most likely result in the use of military force.
“The bottom line: If this body passes S. 1881, diplomatic negotiations will collapse, and there will be no final agreement,” she said. “Iran’s nuclear program would once again be unrestrained, and the only remaining option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon would be military action.”
She noted that the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act threatens “the best opportunity in more than 30 years to make a major change in Iranian behavior- a change that could not only open all kinds of economic opportunities for the Iranian people, but help change the course of a nation.”
Agree with Senator Feinstein?