September 01, 2006
Press Release | Contact: Danielle Langone (202) 225-6416
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio will send a letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging her to engage in direct diplomacy with Iran and to open up negotiation to a broad range of issues.
In the letter, DeFazio notes the similarities between the negotiating proposals put forth by Iran and the European Union since 2003 that could serve as the basis for a diplomatic solution. Also, by broadening the range of issues up for negotiation to include cooperation to combat terrorism and Iran's recognition of the state of Israel, DeFazio argues that the U.S. could improve its own national security.
Along with DeFazio, Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) also signed the letter.
The text of the letter is included below.
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Rice:
Like you, we were disappointed that Iran refused to suspend its uranium enrichment program as a precondition for beginning direct negotiations with the United States. And, while we recognize that the U.S. is likely to push for sanctions against Iran at the United Nations Security Council for defying the Council's resolution ordering a halt to the program, we do not believe that this, or Iran's refusal to agree to the pre-condition for direct talks, should pre-empt further diplomacy to resolve concerns about Iran's nuclear program. We strongly urge you to fully engage in direct diplomacy with Iran, without pre-conditions, and without limitations on the range of issues that can be discussed.
According to the intelligence estimates from your administration and our allies, even under the most pessimistic assumptions, Iran is years away from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is not an immediate crisis. There is plenty of time to conduct vigorous, credible diplomacy, which has not been tried by the United States to date.
After reviewing the various proposals and counter-proposals that have been made by Iran and the European Union (often with the implicit or explicit endorsement of the United States) since the spring of 2003, we were struck by the many areas of commonality that could serve as the basis for a diplomatic solution. For example:
Limits on Uranium Enrichment and Reprocessing
From Iran: Action by Iran - "Phase 2: Policy Declaration on the Ceiling of Enrichment at LEU level [low-enriched uranium, suitable only for power generation, not weapons]." (March 23, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"During May 2005: Policy Declaration on Iran's Open Fuel Cycle (No Reprocessing)." (April 29, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"Additional Confidence Building Measures...For six months, Iran will continue the suspension of all other enrichment related activities and will make every effort in intensive negotiations in the three Working Groups and the Steering Committee to implement each following phase after agreement with E3/EU." (Ibid)
From the EU/US: "Iran will...suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities to be verified by the IAEA..." (May 31, 2006 E3+3 proposal)
International Atomic Energy Agency Inspections and the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
From Iran: Action by Iran - "Phase 1: Approval of the Additional Protocol in the Cabinet" (March 23, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"Phase 2: Presentation of the Additional Protocol to the Majlis [Iranian Parliament] for Ratification." (Ibid)
"Phase 3: Allowing Continuous On-Site Presence of IAEA Inspectors, which can Include E3/EU Nationals at UCF and Natanz." (Ibid)
"During May 2005: Approval of the Additional Protocol in the Cabinet" (April 29, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"Additional Confidence Building Measures...Iran will begin allowing continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the UCF, which had original been envisaged for the Third Phase." (Ibid)
"Commencement of the work of Isfahan plant at low capacity and under full scope monitoring, while arrangements for import of the feed material and export of the product are worked out with you and other potential partners." (July 18, 2005 message from Dr. Hssan Rouhani, then Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, to E3/EU Ministers)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU and Iran will: stress the importance of universal adherence to and full implementation of and compliance with disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and the full implementation of the IAEA safeguards agreements and additional protocols..." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
"Cooperation would be conditional on Iran's...resolution by the IAEA of all questions raised under Iran's Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and continued cooperation with the IAEA." (Ibid)
"Iran would undertake to: make a legally binding commitment not to withdraw from the NPT and to keep all Iranian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards under all circumstances...ratify its Additional Protocal...by the end of 2005...allowing IAEA inspectors to visit any site or interview any person they deem relevant to their monitoring of nuclear activity in Iran." (Ibid)
"Iran will: commit to addressing all the outstanding concerns of the IAEA through full cooperation...resume implementation of the additional protocol." (May 31, 2006 E3+3 proposal)
Iranian Commitment Not to Pursue Nuclear Weapons, Right to Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program
From Iran: Action by Iran - "Phase 1: Presentation of Legislation on Peaceful Use of Nuclear Technology, including Permanent Ban on Production, Stockpiling and Use of Nuclear Weapons to Majlis." (March 23, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"During May 2005: Presentation of Legislation on Peaceful Use of Nuclear Technology, including Permanent Ban on Production, Stockpiling and Use of Nuclear Weapons to Majlis." (April 29, 2005 Iranian proposal)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU and Iran would: welcome Iran's commitment that, in accordance with Article II of the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, it does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
"The E3/EU recognise Iran's rights under Article IV of the NPT to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy." (Ibid)
"The E3/EU therefore declare...their willingness to support Iran to develop a safe, economically viable and proliferation-proof civil nuclear power generation and research program." (Ibid)
"The E3/EU recognise that Iran should have sustained access to nuclear fuel for the Light Water Reactors forming Iran's civil nuclear industry." (Ibid)
"We will take the following steps: reaffirm Iran's inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes...actively support the building of new light water power reactors in Iran through international joint projects...provide cooperation with the management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste." (May 31, 2006 E3+3 proposal)
"We will take the following steps: give legally binding, multi-layered assurances to Iran, based on participate as a partner in an international facility in Russia to provide enrichment services for a reliable supply of fuel to Iran's nuclear reactors." (Ibid)
Cooperation on Non-Proliferation
From Iran: "Iran and the E3/EU reaffirm their commitment to all relevant international instruments on the elimination and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and underline the imperative of universal adherence to these instruments." (January 17, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"The two sides restate their commitment to elimination as well as countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological and chemical, through full compliance with their obligations under relevant international disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements." (Ibid)
"Iran remains committed not to pursue nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction under any circumstances." (Ibid)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU and Iran would...reaffirm that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security...reaffirm their commitment to abide by security and non-proliferation treaties to which they are party...reaffirm their commitment to the objective of an effectively verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
Cooperation on Anti-Terrorism
From Iran: "The E3/EU and Iran condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and affirm their determination to combat it." (January 17, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"Iran and the E3/EU will deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts and prevent them from using their respective territories for those purposes and will cooperate to bring them to justice." (Ibid)
"Iran and the E3/EU restate their commitment to continue to freeze the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts." (Ibid)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU and Iran would commit themselves to: combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
From Iran: "The E3/EU and Iran restate their respect for each other's sovereign equality...emphasize their rejection of any threat of force against each other's national sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence...underline the inviolability of their respective internationally recognized boundaries...will settle disputes among them by peaceful means." (January 17, 2005 Iranian proposal)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU propose that...the following mutual commitments in conformity with the Charter o the United Nations: to the principle of the resolution of disputes by peaceful means...to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state...to the principle of the sovereign equality of all States." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
Regional Security Arrangements
From Iran: The E3/EU and Iran "will support the establishment of arrangements for security and cooperation in the Persian Gulf Region with the participation of all countries in the region, under appropriate United Nations umbrella." (January 17, 2005 Iranian proposal)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU would, as part of an overall agreement, commit to working with Iran to encourage confidence building measures and regional security arrangements. Such discussions would take place in close consultation with all the States of the region." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
From Iran: "The E3/EU and Iran agree that transfer of highly sensitive materials, devices and technology should not contribute to the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons." (January 17, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"Iran undertakes to adopt legal, procedural and other measures to prevent unauthorized access to its nuclear capability and enrichment technology by any individual, group or state and uncontrolled export to other states." (Ibid)
Action by Iran - "Phase 2: Strengthening of Legal Export Control Mechanisms" (March 23, 2005 Iranian proposal)
"Iran is prepared to start the following joint steps: Establishment of a Joint Export Control Task Force." (April 29, 2005 Iranian proposal)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU and Iran are obliged to implement export controls." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
Cooperation on Drug Trafficking
From Iran: "The E3/EU and Iran reaffirm that an effective fight against drug-trafficking and terrorism not only require political will but the capacity to do so. The E3/EU recognize that Iran should be supported as a country in a region which is highly affected by drug-trafficking and terrorism." (January 17, 2005 Iranian proposal)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU recognise that Iran has been and will continue to be a key international partner for the EU in stemming the flow of opiates to Eurpe and therefore commit to developing co-operation on key issues related to: illicit drug production, drug trafficking, chemical precursors trafficking, money-laundering, drug demand reduction..." (August 5, 2005 E3/EU proposal)
From Iran: "Declaration of EU Policy to Guarantee Iran's Access to EU Markets and Financial and Public and Private Investment Resources." (March 23, 2005 Iranian proposal)
From the EU/US: "The E3/EU would recognise the fundamental importance of energy cooperation to their long-term relationship with Iran...agree to continue and strengthen mutually beneficial practices in the areas of export credits and investment guarantees...welcome Iran's successful application to open WTO accession talks...promote the sale of aircraft parts to Iran...commit to developing long-term scientific cooperation with Iran
"We will take the following steps: Improving Iran's access to the international economy, markets and capital, through practical support for full integration into international structures, including the WTO, and to create the framework for increased direct investment in Iran and trade with Iran. Steps would be taken to improve access to key goods and technology [civil aviation, telecommunication, agriculture and high technology specifically mentioned]." (May 31, 2006 E3+3 proposal)
Recognition of the State of Israel and Stopping Support for Anti-Israel Terrorists
From Iran: "Iran accepts a dialogue 'in mutual respect' and agrees that the U.S. puts the following aims on the agenda...stop any material support to Palestinian opposition groups from Iranian territory, pressure on these organizations to stop violent actions against civilians within the borders of 1967...action on Hizbollah to become a mere political organization within Lebanon...acceptance of the Arab League Beirut declaration (Saudi initiative, two-states-approach)." (Spring 2003 Iranian proposal)
We believe the only way for diplomacy to be given a realistic chance of success is for the U.S. to be willing to negotiate directly with Iran on all of the aforementioned issues. We urge you to reconsider your rejection of a so-called "grand bargain," which could not only help resolve the nuclear issue but also lead to cooperation against al-Qaeda and recognition of the State of Israel by Iran, both of which would help improve U.S. national security. By imposing pre-conditions and rejecting broader negotiations, we are concerned that you are undermining diplomatic efforts and our security.
The administration must not merely view diplomacy as a box to check on the way to military action. Military action against Iran would have grave implications, including risking greater instability in Iraq and reversing even the minimal progress that may have been made; endangerment of U.S. troops in Iraq; retaliation against U.S. and Israeli interests around the world, including here at home; further volatility in the Middle East; an acceleration of Iran's nuclear program and certain pursuit of nuclear weapons; turning the Iranian people against the U.S.; massive spikes in oil and gas prices, and possibly starting a multi-year war, among others.
Thank you for your careful consideration of our concerns.
/s/ Rep. Peter DeFazio
/s/ Rep. Barbara Lee
/s/ Rep. Donald Payne
/s/ Rep. Bill Delahunt
/s/ Rep. Dennis Kucinich