J Street, Americans for Peace Now Pressing Congress Not to Obstruct Iran Deal

The letter, delivered Friday, is aimed at proposals by Republicans to add new sanctions to the Iran Sanctions Act.

John Kerry, Javad Zarif and their respective advisers discuss the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action outlining Iran's nuclear program, Vienna, January 16, 2015.
U.S. Department of State

Two dovish pro-Israel groups joined a letter to Congress urging it not to obstruct the Iran nuclear deal.

The letter delivered Friday to the congressional leadership and copied to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate counsels against any “poison-pill provisions and measures that would seek to re-impose sanctions lifted under the JCPOA, albeit under a different justification.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the formal name for the deal reached last year between six major powers, led by the United States, and Iran, exchanging sanctions relief for a rollback of nuclear development in Iran.

The letter was initiated by NIAC Action, a lobbying group affiliated with the National Iranian American Council. Among the signatories are J Street and Americans for Peace Now, liberal Jewish Middle East policy groups.

The letter is aimed at proposals by Republicans to add new sanctions to the Iran Sanctions Act, the current sanctions law which lapses at the end of this year.

Democrats in Congress want to reauthorize the Act as a means of warning Iran that the United States will remain vigilant in overseeing the deal, but oppose adding new sanctions.

The Obama administration does not oppose the “clean” reauthorization Democrats favor – under current law, the president is permitted to waive sanctions – but also says reauthorization is not needed to reimpose sanctions should Iran break its promises. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, also favors a “clean” reauthorization, meaning one without new sanctions.

“There have been numerous efforts to undermine confidence in the JCPOA, both from Congressional opponents of the JCPOA and hardliners in Iran,” the letter said. “Any consideration of an ISA extension must not become an opportunity for opponents of the JCPOA on either side to re-litigate or renege on the accord.”