Letter from Madeline Albright, Former Secretary of State
I join Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft in support of President Obama’s decision to determine whether the new Iranian government is prepared to reach an agreement that would give confidence to the United States and the world community that it will not build a nuclear weapon. A first step agreement that could be achieved in the next few days would slow Iran’s nuclear program and make it more transparent until a more comprehensive solution is reached.
American Presidents have worked effectively with Congress since the 1990’s to press Iran with sanctions while offering its leaders a chance to change course. I supported President Clinton’s initiatives in the late 1990’s to determine whether Iran’s leadership at the time was ready. It was not. As a result, the sanctions regime was made more effective and more international by the administrations of Presidents Bush and Obama, with bipartisan support and urging from the Congress. The United States and its closest allies have maintained an impressive record of speaking with one voice over the years to bring pressure on Iran to reach an agreement that would prevent them from building a nuclear weapon.
I agree the Obama Administration should test the words of this new Iranian government and work to turn them into deeds in order to open a path to a peaceful solution to this long worrisome and growing nuclear concern. I support the efforts of Secretary Kerry to reach this first phase agreement that would allow each side to test the intentions of the other. Should such an agreement be reached in the next few days, in return for meaningful limits to Iran’s nuclear activities, the United States would provide some temporary sanctions relief without undermining the basic architecture of the sanctions regime that has been set in place over these many years by Democratic and Republican Administrations. If Iran does not live up to its commitment over the coming months or fails to reach the needed comprehensive agreement on their nuclear program, the Congress and the Administration could impose additional sanctions.
While the complete end to Iran’s nuclear program would be the best solution, an accord by which Iran would curb its nuclear ambitions under strict and intrusive inspections program would greatly improve the long-term security of the United States and our closest allies in the Middle East.
Former Secretary of State