WASHINGTON, DC– U.S. Senator Ben Cardin joined a bipartisan group of Senators in issuing the following statement today about the meeting that will take place in Baghdad tomorrow of the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — the P-5+1 — with Iran. Including Senator Cardin, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),James Risch (R-ID), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) released the following statement:
“Tomorrow’s P-5+1 meeting in Baghdad is the latest in a decade-long string of opportunities for the Iranians to reach a peaceful settlement with the international community by abandoning their pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. We hope they will seize this chance. Given the Iranian regime’s long track record of delay and deception, however, we remain extremely skeptical about its willingness to engage in good faith diplomacy. For this reason, we also believe that it is critical for the United States and our partners to be guided by four principles in these talks, which we outlined in a letter to the President earlier this year:
? The Iranian regime has come to the negotiating table only because of increasingly crippling pressure from sanctions. Therefore, any hope for real diplomatic progress depends upon a continuing and expanding campaign of economic pressure on the Iranian regime.
? The pressure campaign against Iran should continue until there is a full and complete resolution of all components of the Iranian nuclear problem.
? We should expect that the Iranians will seek to buy time and fragment international unity by offering partial measures that fail to address the totality of their illicit nuclear activities. Such tactical maneuverings are a dangerous distraction and should not be tolerated.
? Given the Iranian regime’s pattern of deceptive and illicit conduct, it cannot be trusted to maintain any enrichment or reprocessing activities on its territory for the foreseeable future—at least until the international community has been fully convinced that Iran has genuinely decided to abandon any nuclear weapons ambitions. We are very, very far from that point.
“We agree with President Obama that the window for diplomacy is closing, and that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. No option should be taken off the table in order to achieve this goal.”