August 05, 2013

Kaine Joins Seventy-Five Senators In Bipartisan Letter Calling For Renewed Urgency on Iranian Nuclear Program

Letter to the President endorses tougher sanctions and a credible military threat to accompany dialogue with Iran; authored by Senators Menendez, Graham, Casey, Blunt, Kaine and Ayotte

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined seventy-five U.S. Senators in a bipartisan letter sent to President Obama to call for tougher sanctions against Iran.  

The letter was circulated by Senators Kaine, Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

In their letter to President Obama, the 76 Senators write: “But until we see a significant slowdown of Iran’s nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran.”

The letter appears below and here.

August 2, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 

Dear Mr. President:

With the election of Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian people signaled their clear dissatisfaction with Iran’s government and its policies. We hope such a surprising and convincing electoral outcome will persuade Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to abandon Iran’s nuclear weapons quest. But until we see a significant slowdown of Iran’s nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran.  

We deeply sympathize with the plight of the Iranian people, who have suffered under the Khamenei regime. We note that President-elect Rouhani has pledged re-engagement with the P5+1 and promised to bring transparency to Iran’s nuclear program. At the same time, Iran has used negotiations in the past to stall for time, and in any event, Khamenei is the ultimate decision-maker for Iran’s nuclear program. Moreover, Iran today continues its large-scale installation of advanced centrifuges. This will soon put it in the position to be able to rapidly produce weapons-grade uranium, bringing Tehran to the brink of a nuclear weapons capability.

Accordingly, Mr. President, we urge you to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the process. We need to understand quickly whether Tehran is at last ready to negotiate seriously. Iran needs to understand that the time for diplomacy is nearing its end. We implore you to demand immediate serious moves on Iran’s part. Iran should move quickly toward compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding it suspend enrichment. Iran must cease installing centrifuges, agree to the removal of 20 percent enriched uranium from Iran, and cease work on the heavy water reactor being built in Arak.

We believe there are four strategic elements necessary to achieve 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, the maintenance and toughening of sanctions, and a convincing threat of the use of force that Iran will believe. We must be prepared to act, and Iran must see that we are prepared. 

Mr. President, we share your conviction that Iran must not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.  We want you to know that you will have our support in doing all you can to resolve on an urgent basis this most pressing challenge to international security.

Sincerely,

Senator Robert Menendez                                                                            
Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Robert P. Casey Jr.                                                                          
Senator Roy Blunt
Senator Tim Kaine                                                                            
Senator Kelly Ayotte 

List of Cosigners (76)

  1. Graham
  2. Menendez
  3. Ayotte
  4. Blunt
  5. Kaine
  6. Casey
  7. Boozman
  8. Crapo
  9. Flake
  10. Ron Johnson
  11. Burr
  12. Manchin
  13. Roberts
  14. Grassley
  15. Moran
  16. Cornyn
  17. Inhofe
  18. Hoeven
  19. Isakson
  20. Begich
  21. Coons
  22. Cardin
  23. Hatch
  24. Wicker
  25. Murray
  26. Hagan
  27. Mikulski
  28. Fischer
  29. Lee
  30. Thune
  31. Risch
  32. Collins
  33. Portman
  34. Schatz
  35. Stabenow
  36. Cruz
  37. Rubio
  38. Schumer
  39. Markey
  40. Donnelly
  41. Nelson
  42. Heller
  43. Pryor
  44. Coats
  45. Gillibrand
  46. Bennet
  47. Vitter
  48. Chambliss
  49. Enzi
  50. McCaskill
  51. Barrasso
  52. Toomey
  53. McConnell
  54. Brown
  55. Warner
  56. Reed
  57. Blumenthal
  58. Hirono
  59. Cochran
  60. Shaheen
  61. Whitehouse
  62. Scott
  63. King
  64. Cantwell
  65. Merkley
  66. Klobuchar
  67. Johanns
  68. Franken
  69. Sessions
  70. Landrieu
  71. Alexander
  72. McCain
  73. Chiesa
  74. Heitkamp
  75. Murphy
  76. Warren