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Public Statements

Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Iranian Nuclear Weapon Capability

In advance of the resumption of discussions with Iran by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) in Baghdad this week, Representatives David Price (D-NC) and David Dreier (R-CA) are leading a bipartisan effort to convey congressional support for the use of vigorous diplomacy to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons capability. In a letter sent to the President Monday, the lawmakers and 69 of their colleagues, ask the Administration to apply maximum pressure through multilateral negotiations with Iran.

In the letter Reps. Price and Dreier write:

"We believe that a nuclear weapons-capable Iran poses a grave threat to the United States, to Israel, and to the global community. It is critical that we employ every available tool at our disposal to dissuade if possible--and prevent if necessary--the Iranian regime from developing nuclear weapons or the capability to produce them from stockpiled materials and components.

"The latest round of economic sanctions by the United States, members of the European community, and others has demonstrated that such measures can and do elicit a response from the Iranian regime and have contributed to a clear framework for the current multilateral talks. . . Given such facts, the United States and its P5+1 partners must not relent in leveraging pressure on Iran in these upcoming talks."

Reps. Price and Dreier cited several recent developments in support of redoubling diplomatic efforts. The representatives believe that China's and Russia's more serious involvement and the tightening of international sanctions demonstrate a strengthened collective acknowledgement of the threat posed by a nuclear-weapons capable Iran. Under pressure from a wider coalition, Iran has also shown a renewed willingness to engage in a diplomatic process, a willingness that needs to be tested. With the looming threat of harsher trade sanctions due to take effect in July, the P5+1 nations may be in a stronger position to obtain positive results in the Baghdad round.

The complete text of the Price-Dreier letter is below.

May 21, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

We write to convey our strong support for the prevention of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran through diplomacy. We share your commitment to the ongoing multilateral discussions on Iran's nuclear program and urge you to continue working with our P5+1 partners in pursuit of this goal.

We believe that a nuclear weapons-capable Iran poses a grave threat to the United States, to Israel, and to the global community. It is critical that we employ every available tool at our disposal to dissuade if possible--and prevent if necessary--the Iranian regime from developing nuclear weapons or the capability to produce them from stockpiled materials and components.

The latest round of economic sanctions by the United States, members of the European community, and others has demonstrated that such measures can and do elicit a response from the Iranian regime and have contributed to a clear framework for the current multilateral talks. Clearly, continued diplomatic engagement is essential and, as you prepare for the upcoming round of discussions this week in Baghdad, we believe there are two critical factors that support a redoubling of these efforts.

The first is the lengthened roster of partners: China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, and the United States. The P5+1 partners are working together in an unprecedented display of cooperation that demonstrates a collective acknowledgement of the threat of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. The second is the degree to which Iran, under intensified pressures, has appeared willing to engage in a serious and substantive discussion on its nuclear program.

We are aware of the possibility that the Iranian regime is simply "buying time" to further its nuclear ambitions, but we believe that Iran's declared openness to multilateral discussions--coupled with verifiable intermediate steps to bring its program toward compliance with international obligations--is sufficient to warrant renewed determination. Given such facts, the United States and its P5+1 partners must not relent in leveraging pressure on Iran in these upcoming talks. With the looming threat of harsher sanctions due to take effect in July, the P5+1 nations may be in a stronger position to obtain positive results in Baghdad.

Mr. President, as you recently stated, "...both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons." We agree, and we strongly believe that the United States must take full advantage of opportunities for diplomatic engagement, in concert with sanctions and other appropriate measures, to prevent a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.

Sincerely,

Current Signatories: Price, Dreier, Amash, Bass (CA), Becerra, Blumenauer, Braley, Butterfield, Capps, Clarke (MI), Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Cooper, Courtney, Cuellar, Davis (IL), Davis (KY), DeGette, DeLauro, Dent, Dicks, Dingell, Doggett, Edwards, Ellison, Eshoo, Farr, Filner, Fortenberry, Garamendi, Gonzalez, Granger, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hanna, Hastings (FL), Heinrich, Himes, Hinchey, Honda, Jackson, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Jones, Kaptur, Larson, LaTourette, Lee, Lewis (GA), Loebsack, Lofgren, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Miller (CA), Moore, Moran, Murphy (CT), Olver, Pingree, Rahall, Rangel, Scott (VA), Speier, Thompson (CA), Tierney, Visclosky, Watt, Welch, Woolsey, Yarmuth


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