Sherman Statement on Iran Extension
Washington DC - Congressman Brad Sherman issued the following statement on the announcement today that the P-5+1 group of countries and Iran have agreed to an additional extension for the talks aimed at ending Iran’s nuclear program until the end of June, 2015.
After one year of negotiations, a final accord to limit Iran’s nuclear program remains elusive. With this second extension, a disturbing pattern has emerged, one that provides the Iranian regime too much breathing room on sanctions while allowing it to continue to enrich uranium.
President Obama misspoke yesterday when he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “The good news is that the interim deal that we entered into has definitely stopped Iran’s nuclear program from advancing...”
Throughout the interim deal, Iran's centrifuges have been spinning at full speed, enlarging Iran's dangerous stockpile of enriched uranium oxide.*
With each passing day, Iran’s centrifuges continue to spin and its economy improves.
I am disappointed that we have been required to pay again for an extension that was necessary due to Iranian intransigence. Over the 7 months of this extension, Iran will continue to enjoy access to approximately $700 million per month in funds that have been effectively frozen in foreign bank accounts.
The IAEA investigation into Iran's weapons development program has been stonewalled by the Iranians, further demonstrating that Iran will not be honest with the international community and has been, and continues to be, set on developing nuclear weapons.
We should work to pass tough sanctions now, and these sanctions should go into effect immediately. In the months ahead, if the President submits a final agreement to Congress to verifiably and permanently end Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return for sanctions relief, it should receive immediate consideration by Congress.
I am certain that Congress would approve a good agreement. And I am certain that immediate strong new sanctions give us the best opportunity to negotiate a good agreement. Modest sanctions have achieved modest results. It’s clear now we need strong sanctions to achieve a good deal.
*Technical note: Turning uranium ore into low enriched uranium constitutes the most significant part in creating the fuel for a nuclear bomb. This process has continued unabated since the original interim deal was announced a year ago, and during the last year Iran has added about one bomb’s worth of low enriched uranium to its stockpile. While Iran has been obliged to oxidize this additional stockpile, this is a process the can be reversed in weeks.