November 24, 2014


WASHINGTON - Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) released the following statement on today’s announcement by Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna that the P5+1 and Iran have agreed to extend the Iran nuclear negotiations. This extension will maintain the current freeze of Iran’s nuclear program in return for limited sanctions relief as negotiations toward a final agreement continue.
“I support this interim agreement to continue to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in return for limited sanctions relief, while negotiators work to finalize a comprehensive agreement in the next few months.  As Chairman of the Banking Committee and author of many of the sanctions that helped force Iran to negotiate, I have urged my Senate colleagues to hold off on legislatively imposing new sanctions during ongoing P5+1 negotiations with Iran. While substantial progress has been made, and Iran continues to comply with its agreements, more must be done to give the US and the international community confidence they could detect and stop any move by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, either through a “breakout” using existing nuclear facilities or a “sneak out” using clandestine sites. Having Congress impose new sanctions on Iran or place unworkable timetables and conditions on negotiators now would be grossly counterproductive, potentially shattering the international coalition formed to isolate Iran and escalating toward war.
“Members of the President’s national security team are consulting closely with Congress on the talks, and Congress should continue to ask tough questions of negotiators. But a diplomatic resolution is within reach, and we in Congress should support efforts to reach a final agreement which closes down Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon in return for sanctions relief which can be quickly reversed if Iran fails to comply, and provides for intrusive verification.”