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Working for civil liberties in Iran

Coalition Calls for Diplomacy, Not Sanctions

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, SASC Chairman Levin, SASC Ranking Member Inhofe, SFRC Chairman Menendez, SFRC Ranking Member Corker, SBHUAC Chairman Johnson, and SBHUAC Ranking Member Crapo, The undersigned coalition of Iranian American organizations – International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, National Iranian American Council, Pars Equality Center, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, and United for Iran – are writing to express our deep concern regarding the imposition of new sanctions against Iran during this critical inflection point in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. We strongly urge the U.S. Senate to hold off on additional punitive measures on the Iranian economy as the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continue. Administration officials believe they have made significant progress towards an interim agreement with Iran that will address immediate proliferation concerns by freezing essential parts of Iran’s nuclear progress in exchange for limited sanctions relief, while negotiations on a comprehensive final agreement would take place. We are confident that a negotiated settlement that limits Iran’s nuclear capability and allows for stringent international monitoring is in the best interest of the United States. Further sanctions on Iran at this time would undermine U.S. credibility, splinter the international coalition cooperating on sanctions, and drive Tehran from the negotiating table. New economic penalties would strengthen hardliners in Iran, who want to see the collapse of diplomatic initiatives, and would alienate the Iranian people, who want their country to move in a different direction and engage the international community in a positive way. Furthermore, successful negotiations will both alleviate the economic hardship of the Iranian people and increase Iran’s engagement with the international community. This, in turn, will strengthen the international community’s efforts to hold Iran accountable to its human rights obligations. Finally, if the passage of new U.S. sanctions now would cause the breakdown of the diplomatic process, then war—or an Iranian nuclear weapon—would become more, not less, likely. A 2013 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans shows that a solid majority of Iranian Americans support President Obama’s handling of Iran’s nuclear program and more than two-thirds would support the removal of sanctions if the Iranian regime reached an agreement with the U.S. and the international community concerning its nuclear program. The Iranian American community shares your concern over Iran’s nuclear program and commends efforts to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes. Diplomacy is the only way to achieve this goal and we must give our diplomats a chance for the negotiations to succeed. U.S. and international efforts were intended to bring Iran to the negotiating table. It is now time to allow these negotiations to continue without interruption and put diplomacy to the test. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our concerns. Sincerely, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran National Iranian American Council Pars Equality Center Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans United for Iran