New York November 24, 2014 - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace and UANI President Gary Samore issued the following statement on the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran to extend the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) until March 1, 2015 to reach a political framework agreement and until June 30, 2015 for a final comprehensive agreement:
“If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.”
The Iran and P5+1 nuclear negotiations have now continued for one year. At the start of the JPA in January 2014, President Obama stated, “If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.”
Over the period of the JPA the P5+1 and Iran have not agreed to materially roll back Iran’s breakout capacity which remains at 1-3 months.
We are concerned that there were no concessions agreed to by Iran as part of the extension of the JPA while Iran will directly receive additional sanctions relief totaling $5 billion and assuredly gain further indirect economic benefits.
There should be no doubt that the failure to achieve a workable agreement on Iran’s nuclear program falls squarely at the feet of the Iranian leadership. The P5+1 was more than generous in its proposals and compromise offers made to Iran in recent days. Iran should not expect that delaying an agreement or creating an impasse in negotiations will cause the P5+1 to become more generous over time. Simply put, the elements of a “bad deal” do not change. Any deal that leaves Iran with short term nuclear weapons breakout capacity, does not provide for a full and comprehensive verification system, and fails to fully resolve all questions related to PMD (Possible Military Dimensions) is a bad deal.
Iran has never shown the political will to roll back its nuclear program in order to extend its breakout capacity and it continues to research and develop delivery systems and advanced centrifuges.
The disagreement between the negotiating sides is well and clearly understood. Iran refuses to materially reduce its number and type of centrifuges. This disagreement was the same issue when the P5+1-Iran negotiations began in 2009, when negotiations resumed after Rouhani’s election on October 15, 2013, when the JPA was adopted on November 24, 2013, and when the JPA was last extended on July 20, 2014. It is the core of the disagreement now. There is little indication that continued extensions of the negotiations will cause Iran to back away from its political obstinacy and reduce its nuclear breakout capacity. There is therefore little likelihood for a diplomatic breakthrough.
It is time for Iran to understand the dire economic consequences it will face absent an agreement on its nuclear program. Accordingly, we call on the White House and Congress to take the following actions:
1. The White House and Congress should act now to specifically define, agree and authorize decisive sanctions if Iran violates the JPA or fails to accept the terms of a comprehensive nuclear agreement by March 2, 2015.
2. The administration must enforce existing sanctions more aggressively.
3. The White House and Congress must continue to communicate that Iran remains closed to business.
Iran has had ample opportunity to agree to a workable nuclear accord in an environment of sanction easing. Now Iran must return to the negotiating table and understand the real economic consequence of its failure of political will – the potential imposition of decisive sanctions. The United States and its P5+1 partners must understand as well that the status quo of negotiations and extension, followed by more negotiations and extension must not and cannot continue. Activity does not equal achievement. The calculus presented to Iran's leadership must be that Iran’s delays and failures to act have real consequences – that means the real and defined prospect of the most robust sanctions in history.