October 10, 2012
Dear Mr. Perry:
Thank you for your comments regarding Iran. I appreciate hearing from you.
The Iranian regime has taken advantage of the international community’s willingness to repeatedly return to the negotiating table in order to buy time and advance its nuclear program. As the failed P5+1 negotiations have demonstrated, the Iranian regime has little desire to compromise and appears committed to pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.
If Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon, it would be a national security disaster for the United States, Israel, and the world, and would likely spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Additionally, the Iranian regime has a long history of working through proxies and associating with terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, suggesting Iran might share nuclear weapons with terrorist groups, who could then use them to attack Americans and our allies.
U.S. and international sanctions have placed significant restraints on Iran’s ability to export oil and have exacted a serious toll on its economy and the ability of Iranian financial institutions to conduct business. Despite the crippling effect of these sanctions, the regime in Tehran remains steadfast in its determination to violate international law and pursue a nuclear weapons program. I believe it is crucial that the United States fully implement existing sanctions and adopt additional measures to increase the pressure on Iran until it meets its international obligations. Failure to pursue the strongest possible economic sanctions now will likely leave the United States little choice in the future but to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
As you may know, on August 10, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-158). The bill expands the multilateral sanctions targeting Iran, as well as sanctions related to Iranian petroleum resource development. The bill also directs the president to block U.S.-controlled property of individuals that provide ships, insurance, or other services to transport goods that contribute to Iranian weapons proliferation or terrorism-related activities. Additionally, the bill creates sanctions focused on members of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps and their associates, as well as those tied to human rights abuses in Iran.
You may also be interested to know that, on February 16, 2012, I joined a bipartisan group of 35 Senators to introduce Senate Resolution 380 (S. Res. 380), which expresses the sense of the Senate regarding the importance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. On September 22, 2012, the Senate agreed in a 90 to 1 vote to Senate Joint Resolution 41, which in addition to the goals stated in S. Res. 380, urges Iran to comply with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and to participate in the P5+1 talks. Additionally, I cosponsored the Iran Transparency and Accountability Act of 2011 (S. 366), which would require companies to disclose any sanctionable investments in Iran in their quarterly and annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission and would require U.S. banks to report sanctionable activities by their foreign correspondent banks. I also cosponsored the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Consolidation Act of 2011 (S. 1048). In August 2011, I signed a letter to President Obama calling for tougher sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, and in December 2011, I voted to support the Kirk-Menendez Senate Amendment 1414 to increase sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. This provision was included in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 112-81).
Most recently, on September 20, 2012, I joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to introduce S. Res. 574, which was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If enacted, the resolution would call on all UN member states to fully implement existing Security Council resolutions sanctioning Iran and to take additional stronger unilateral diplomatic and economic measures to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The resolution would also call for the Security Council and all member states to consider targeted sanctions, travel bans, and other measures aimed at stopping Iran’s incitement to genocide.
Please be assured that I will continue to pursue policies that I believe will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you regarding the current issues affecting our nation. Please do not hesitate to be in touch again if I may be of further assistance.