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Letter to President Obama

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today joined 10 of his colleagues in signing a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging the administration to maintain its pressure on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the United States and its global partners consider resuming talks with Iran.

In the letter, the senators urge the president to embrace four basic principles to guide its relationship with Iran and the prospect of resumed talks. These principles are:

Continue and expand the U.S. campaign and international pressure on the Iranian regime.
Make clear to the Iranian government that the United States and its partners intend to continue ratcheting up this pressure through comprehensive sanctions and other measures.

Refuse to tolerate tactical distractions on the part of the Iranian government that will allow it to buy time.

Make clear that any enrichment or reprocessing activities on Iranian territory will not be tolerated.

In addition to Sen. Toomey, the letter is signed by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

A copy of the letter is below:

February 17, 2012

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you know, senior Iranian officials have recently expressed interest in resuming talks with the P-5+1. As the United States and its partners consider whether such engagement is likely to be productive at this time, we write to express our support for a set of principles that we believe should inform any discussions that take place with Tehran and that we believe reflect a broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress on this important matter.

First, we strongly believe that any hope for diplomatic progress with Iran depends upon a continuing and expanding campaign of U.S. and international pressure on the regime. In fact, the recent, sudden interest of Iranian leaders in multilateral negotiations is most likely a direct consequence of this pressure track and in particular, measures that will deny the regime the ability to derive revenue from oil sales. To this end, we are encouraged by the recent actions of your Administration to ensure our allies and partners in both Europe and Asia stop doing business with the Iranian Central Bank and end their consumption of Iranian oil as quickly as possible. We hope you will continue to mobilize the full weight of the U.S. government in this effort, and stand ready to support you in Congress.

Second, we believe it is absolutely essential that the United States and its partners make clear to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that we intend to continue ratcheting up this pressure-through comprehensive implementation of existing sanctions as well as imposition of new measures-until there is a full and complete resolution of all components of illicit Iranian nuclear activities. This must include, at a minimum, the full, verifiable, and sustained suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related activities, as required by multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

The pressure track should likewise continue until Iran fully cooperates with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the Additional Protocol; resolves all outstanding questions and concerns about its nuclear activities, including possible military dimensions of the program as recently outlined in detail by the IAEA; and enters into full compliance with all resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Council.

Third, we remain extremely concerned that the Iranian government will seek to buy time or otherwise dilute the focus of our diplomacy through proposals that either suspend or reverse the current momentum of the pressure track in exchange for partial measures by the Iranians that fail to address the totality of their nuclear program. Such tactical maneuverings are a dangerous distraction and should not be tolerated. For instance, we would strongly oppose any proposal that caps or limits sanctions against the Iranian regime in exchange for anything less than full, verifiable, and sustained suspension of all enrichment activities, including both 3 percent and 20 percent enrichment. The time for confidence-building measures is over.

Fourth, we believe it is critical that the United States and our partners make clear that, given the current Iranian regime's pattern of deceptive and illicit conduct, it cannot be permitted to maintain any enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future, or continue to possess its current stockpile of both 3 percent and 20 percent low enriched uranium. We would strongly oppose any proposal that recognizes a "right to enrichment" by the current regime or for a diplomatic endgame in which Iran is permitted to continue enrichment on its territory in any form.

We appreciate your continued leadership on this matter of critical importance to the security of our nation and the world. We pledge our continued support to do all that is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

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