U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today released the following statement after the “Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2015” passed out of the Senate Banking Committee by a majority vote of 18-4. Schumer is a co-sponsor of the bill, which would impose additional sanctions on Iran if international negotiations do not yield a final nuclear deal by the P5+1 June 30th deadline. Schumer was one of six Democrats to vote for the legislation in committee.
“The only way Iran will voluntarily stop their march for nuclear weapons is if they know that tougher and tougher sanctions will be enacted if they fail to come a strong agreement that prohibits them from obtaining nuclear weapons. That is why I support the Kirk-Menendez bill that would increase sanctions on Iran if they are unwilling to come to a deal by the Administration’s extension deadline of June 30th. Sanctions brought Iran to the table. Additional, tougher sanctions are more likely to cause the Iranians to give in, and give in more quickly to reach a final deal that will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.
“Since a strong, negotiated agreement is the best solution, a solution that I hope we achieve, I, along with a group of my colleagues – many of whom who are sponsors of the original Menendez-Kirk legislation – have said we will not vote for the bill on the floor of the Senate until then. If by March 24th the Iranians haven’t come to an agreement, I will vote for the bill on the floor of the Senate at that time.
“Making clear that there will be additional sanctions, pending a failure to reach a strong agreement, is a good step forward. This bill spells out in no uncertain terms that if the Iranians dither, if they don’t come to a tough, strong agreement that rules out an Iranian nuclear weapons program, there will be further sanctions and further actions by Congress.
“There are numerous elements of a successfully negotiated agreement. Most importantly the agreement must contain strong language that allows inspections anywhere at any time, unannounced. This is the only way to ensure Iran complies with the agreement since we have little faith with the Iranian leadership.”
–U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer