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Members of Congress Say Let Diplomacy Work, Support Extension of Iran Talks

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)- “There’s only one safe and sensible way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon—diplomacy. The temporary agreement reached last year has yielded real benefits for the US and the broader world. The choice is whether we continue to build on this success or return to mutually destructive confrontation.  Denying our negotiators the time they need to secure an agreement would simply result in Iran unfreezing its nuclear program.  While some advocate for additional sanctions, these measures would counterproductively embolden hardliners in Iran’s government and put us back on a path to war.  Americans oppose the use of military force against Iran by a margin of 70 to 22, and for good reason: War with Iran would be disastrous for US interests and carry unacceptable costs in terms of lives and treasure. Americans know that we must give diplomacy a full opportunity to succeed so we can direct our limited resources towards urgently-needed rebuilding here at home.” [7/19/14]

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)- “Our families are safer from any potential Iranian nuclear weapons today than we were prior to these ongoing negotiations. Those who so loudly criticized the interim agreement were wrong. Regular, intrusive inspections have given us much more information and have frozen nuclear weapon development. Iran has received just enough sanctions relief to demonstrate the potential benefits of cooperation but not enough to rejuvenate its economy. With continued careful monitoring and more tough negotiating, this extension offers an opportunity to advance our security objectives by finalizing a solid alternative to war. Congress must not impede the progress.” [7/18/14]

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)- “We are on the edge of a significant moment in the history of diplomacy. Congress should not undermine our diplomats during negotiations with Iran’s representatives in Vienna. Since negotiations began, Iran has complied with the Joint Plan of Action. Transparency and access have increased. We now know more about Iran’s nuclear capabilities. If negotiators need more time to reach a comprehensive agreement, we should support them, not make it harder for them to do their jobs by passing more sanctions. It is in America’s best interest to continue on the path of diplomacy.” [7/19/14]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)- “I believe that the negotiations should take place. It’s always been known that there well could be an extension, and it seems to me that the key is whether there’s an agreement or no agreement.” [6/11/14]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)- “The P5+1 negotiations with Iran represent our best chance to peacefully ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and I very much hope they are successful. Over the past 6 months, Iran has complied with the terms of the interim agreement and the U.S.-led sanctions regime has kept the economic pressure on Iran. While significant progress has been made, it is clear more time is needed to reach a final agreement. I strongly support an extension of these talks because a diplomatic agreement is far better than any alternative. Since the interim agreement in November, Iran stopped enriching above 5 percent, ceased work on the Arak heavy-water reactor, eliminated its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium and provided unprecedented access to international inspectors. Clearly there is momentum toward an agreement and we have a responsibility to see it through—as diplomacy must be the preferred course of action.” [7/18/14]

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)- “News of a four month extension in negotiations with Iran means the prospect for an Iran without nuclear ambitions is still very possible. It also means peaceful and normalized relations are well within the scope of possibility. I am encouraged to see all parties involved continue the momentum towards that goal, and encourage them to take the time, space and steps needed to succeed where others have failed.” [7/19/14]

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)-“Last year’s first-step deal addressing Iran’s nuclear program was a diplomatic victory that directly reduces Iran’s ability to achieve breakout capacity. This extension will continue to restrict Iran’s nuclear capability while creating the diplomatic space and time for a long-term deal that supports U.S. national security interests and a more peaceful and secure world.” [7/19/14]

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)- “It is critical that Congress take no action that undermines the Administration’s diplomatic efforts during this extension which was provided for under the Joint Plan of Action. I continue to be hopeful that an agreement can be reached which will avert the threat of a militarized Iranian nuclear program.” [7/19/14]

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)- “I am certainly predisposed to support an extension. It’s unclear what the alternative is right now. And I think there has been small but important progress made in the first round of the negotiations. So if there is a request to extend the negotiations, I’ll likely be supportive of it. Clearly the request for an extension is going to provide room for those that want a new round of sanctions. That was a bad idea six months ago and it’s just as bad an idea today. It was potentially catastrophic to negotiations several months ago to insert into the discussion a crippling new sanctions bill that would have strengthened the hand of hardliners who say this isn’t really about honest negotiation for the Americans. This is just about trying to crater our economy so as to enact regime change.” [7/18/14]

Don’t see your Members of Congress listed? Contact them now to say, “let diplomacy work with Iran!”

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