The Senate will vote in the next few weeks on Senate Bill 1881, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, which would impose new sanctions on Iran. This shortsighted piece of legislation could undo the progress made in months of negotiations. Although both Pennsylvania’s senators, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey have co-sponsored SB 1881, now is not the time to give up on the needed steps toward peace, in violation of the interim agreement Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated and signed in Geneva.
From a Washington Post article printed Dec. 13 in the Post-Gazette (“U.S. Punishes Sanction Violators in Iran”), “both Iran and key U.S. allies abroad would perceive the U.S. as acting in bad faith, potentially undermining international support for the very sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table,” according to Wendy Sherman, State Department undersecretary for political affairs. This failure of diplomacy could then become a pretext for new threats of U.S. or Israeli aggression against Iran.
Even former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft have pointed out in a joint letter, “additional sanctions now against Iran will risk undermining or even shutting down the negotiations.” Sabotaging diplomacy would jeopardize the unprecedented progress our diplomats have achieved to guard against yet another war, and yet another nuclear-armed nation.
Let us not undermine our two countries’ first fragile steps toward peace.
JO SCHLESINGER Western PA Coordinator Coalition for Peace Action Edgewood
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