September 23, 2013
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As you prepare to deliver remarks to the United Nations later this week, we urge you to re-state the United States position that we will not permit Iran to achieve a nuclear weapons capability and demand verifiable action from Iran that will permit the possibility of a diplomatic accord with the international community.
Like you, we viewed the election of Hassan Rouhani as an indicator of discontent amongst the Iranian people and we have taken note of recent diplomatic overtures by Iran. However, whatever nice words we may hear from Mr. Rouhani, it is Iranian action that matters. We would welcome a credible and verifiable agreement with Iran. A real agreement would have real benefits for Iran.
We also recall, however, Iran's prior use of negotiations as a subterfuge for progress on its clandestine nuclear program, as well as Iran's continued financing of terrorist activities -- from those carried out by its own Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to its support for Hezbollah whose actions have most recently strengthened the brutal hand of Bashar al-Assad. Iran is not a friend whose word can be taken as a promise. The test of Iranian seriousness must be verifiable action by Iran to terminate its nuclear weapons program, including compliance with the mandates of four UN Security Council Resolutions.
In the letter sent to you on August 2, signed by 76 Senators, we expressed our belief that there are four strategic elements necessary to achieve a resolution of this issue: an explicit and continuing message that we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, a sincere demonstration of openness to negotiations by Iran, the maintenance and toughening of sanctions and a convincing threat of the use of force. We reiterate those views in this letter.
The national security implications of a nuclear Iran are unimaginable -- threatening the very existence of our ally the State of Israel, as well as launching an all but certain nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.
As you prepare to address the United Nations next week in New York, we urge you to make clear the United States' goal of achieving a diplomatic solution, but also our resolve to take whatever action is necessary to prevent Iran from become a nuclear state.Sincerely,
Senator Robert Menendez
Senator Lindsey Graham