Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Letter from Condoleezza Rice Opposing Iran Sanctions Act of 2008

The Bush Administration expressed its opposition to the Iran Sanctions Act introduced by Senator Max Baucus on June 16. In letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on June 17, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice writes:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I am writing you about S.970, the “Iran Sanctions Act of 2008,” which I understand will be marked up in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow. As you know, the Administration has worked long and hard to gain multilateral support for sanctions against Iran. We have joined other nations in adopting three United Nations Security Council resolutions sanctions Iran. I understand fully the sentiment which motivates S.970.

However, as S.970 is currently drafted, two serious problems remain. First, the bill will serve to divide the multilateral coalition that has come together to oppose Iran’s nuclear program. The requirement to list and to impose extra-territorial sanctions on firms from other nations will be vigorously opposed by our strongest allies in the effort to isolate Iran. It will be seen as paving the way for more targeted sanctions against those allied-countries’ firms. This would be particularly ill-timed in light of the President’s successful discussions on Iran sanctions with European leaders this week. I urge you to drop these provisions.

Second, the current draft includes a provision barring entry into force of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement (123 agreement) which the United States and Russia recently signed, and which we have submitted to Congress. This provision is highly counter-productive and jeopardizes the progress which we have made with Russia on Iran nuclear issues. I urge that you strike this provision from the bill. I would be pleased to discuss this with you more fully. Meanwhile, I would note that the Chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have serious concerns about this provision as well.

I look forward to working with you to craft legislation that will advance, and not set back, our shared goal of terminating Iran’s enrichment program.


/s Condoleezza Rice

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