NEW YORK, July 19—AJC welcomed the limited extension in the P5+1
nuclear talks with Iran announced early today in Vienna.
“Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability poses profound risks to global
peace and security, and must be blocked by every effective means,” said AJC
Executive Director David Harris. “In the context of continued, and biting,
financial, energy, and other targeted sanctions – and readiness, as a last
resort, to take military action to prevent the preeminent state sponsor of
terrorism from acquiring nuclear weaponry – a limited extension of the
negotiations makes sense."
“The preferred option to relieve the Middle East and the world of the threat of
Iranian nuclear capability is a diplomatic one. While we remain doubtful that
Iran will relinquish its military nuclear ambitions, we recognize that the P5+1
diplomatic process has resulted in, among other things, more extensive
inspections of the Iranian program, as well as the dilution of highly-enriched
uranium stockpiles. Thus, it is worth continuing to pursue for a limited time.”
In the agreement announced today by the P5+1 powers – the United States, the
United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – and Iran, the six-month
negotiating window, set to close on July 20, 2014, would remain open for an
additional four months, to Nov. 24. The original P5+1 “Joint Plan of Action”
with Iran provided for a possible six-month extension.
"That the extension is for only four months, not the full six months,
sends Tehran an important message -- be warned that our patience is not
infinite," Harris noted.
According to senior U.S. officials with whom AJC met yesterday in Washington,
the existing sanctions on Iran would remain in effect throughout the four-month
period, with Iran gaining access to $2.8 billion in oil revenues locked in
restricted international accounts. More than $100 billion of Iranian oil assets
have been frozen. The Joint Plan of Action initially freed $4.2 billion of
those funds in exchange for Iran's agreement on inspections, dilution of its 20
percent stockpile of enriched uranium, and other concessions.
“It is essential that sanctions against Iran, which were adopted by Congress,
successive administrations, and our international partners – and which were the
reason Iran came to the bargaining table to discuss its illicit nuclear program
– remain fully in place,” Harris concluded. "Iran's hope of finding a way
around the sanctions, or driving a wedge in the international community
regarding the issue, must not succeed."
“As talks proceed, we urge the administration to keep Congress fully informed.
We, and all who recognize the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iran, will be
monitoring developments very closely.”