Following passage of United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran this morning, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement hailing the resolution:
"I applaud today's United Nations Security Council vote to significantly expand both the scale and scope of Iran sanctions. These measures give the Obama Administration and the international community important new political and economic tools to moderate Iran's behavior and curtail its nuclear weapons ambitions. These are the fruits of tireless diplomatic efforts, and I commend the work of all those involved.
"President Obama helped lay the groundwork for today's Security Council resolution through his outreach to the Iranian people and its leaders. His efforts to find a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear program demonstrate the United States' commitment to multilateralism and increased international cooperation. The vote today is tangible evidence of growing international consensus on this matter.
"For those opposed to diplomatic engagement with Tehran, let me be clear: Iran's nuclear program cannot be peacefully resolved without direct dialogue with the leadership in Tehran. While today's action puts wind in the sails of this process, it is only the first step. We need more diplomatic creativity, energy and a clear vision of what is possible. On June 22nd, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will conduct a hearing with Undersecretaries of State and Treasury William Burns and Stuart Levey on the impact of these new sanctions and U.S. policy options toward Iran going forward.
"In the coming days, pressure on Iran will only grow. I am part of a conference committee that is finalizing the reconciliation of the House and Senate versions of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act. Furthermore, I expect a number of countries to soon enact their own bilateral national measures expanding on today's resolution.
"The timing of today's action is particularly significant as Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Iran's flawed presidential elections. In the unrest that followed, Iranian security forces were responsible for widespread violence and abuse against the Iranian people. The world witnessed, with horror, beatings and killings on the streets of Tehran. Dozens of democracy activists have been killed and thousands more have been thrown in jail without due process.
"Our ultimate goal is a peaceful and prosperous Iran. However, the political repression of the past year has been an ominous turn in the wrong direction. I look forward to the day when the Iranian peoples' right to free expression has been restored."