Senate Democrats

Reid, In Letter To Clinton, Calls For Swift Action To Complete Iran Sanctions Legislation And To Ensure The Security Of Israel

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today requesting that she work with Congress to complete swift action on Iran sanctions legislation and that the U.S. support direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.  Reid expressed his concern about the threat Iran’s nuclear weapons program poses and his desire for the Obama administration to “do everything possible to reduce recent tensions with Israel while reaffirming the need to move forward with the peace process.”  Reid also noted that U.S. involvement in both of these situations was “crucial to ensure the security of Israel” and “that a secure Israel is in our national interest.”   Excerpts of Reid’s letter to Secretary Clinton:   “I strongly believe that our relationship with Israel makes the United States more secure. We cooperate on critical intelligence matters, work together on weapons systems, and rely on Israel as our ally in a volatile part of the world.”  “I am deeply concerned about the continuing threat from Iran’s nuclear weapons program which is why I have taken action in the Senate to get new US sanctions in place.  While I support the Administration’s decision to pursue sanctions at the United Nations, I think congressional action can further our mutual goal to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons activities.” “I hope that the Obama Administration will do everything possible to reduce recent tensions with Israel while reaffirming the need to move forward with the peace process.  I urge you to encourage both sides to participate in direct negotiations, which Prime Minister Netanyahu has already agreed to do.”   Below is the text of the letter to Secretary Clinton:   April 23, 2010   The Honorable Hillary Clinton Secretary of State 22001 C Street, NW Room 7226 Washington, DC 20520-0001   Dear Secretary Clinton:   I am writing to ask you to work with Congress to quickly complete action on the Iran sanctions legislation and to encourage you to support direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.     I am deeply concerned about the continuing threat from Iran’s nuclear weapons program which is why I have taken action in the Senate to get new US sanctions in place.  While I support the Administration’s decision to pursue sanctions at the United Nations, I think congressional action can further our mutual goal to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons activities. The Senate has already passed S. 2799, The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, and the House and Senate have appointed conferees to negotiate a final version of the legislation.   I worked hard to get this bill passed in the Senate because I believe we must do everything possible to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  That is why we should get the final version of the legislation finished quickly.  I look forward to working with you to ensure there are no impediments to swiftly completing this legislation.   I also believe that the United States should clearly, and unequivocally, state our continuing support for Israel and reiterate the unbreakable bond between the two nations.   I recently hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu in a meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators because I believe we must demonstrate our commitment to our democratic ally in the region.  I hope that the Obama Administration will do everything possible to reduce recent tensions with Israel while reaffirming the need to move forward with the peace process.  I urge you to encourage both sides to participate in direct negotiations, which Prime Minister Netanyahu has already agreed to do.   We are at a decisive moment both with Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations; it is at such moments that US leadership is crucial to ensure the security of Israel.  We cannot allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon which would threaten Israel, our allies in Europe, and our own national interests.  We must move forward with a peace process that protects the security of Israel.  I strongly believe that our relationship with Israel makes the United States more secure. We cooperate on critical intelligence matters, work together on weapons systems, and rely on Israel as our ally in a volatile part of the world.  I know you share my commitment to the national security of the United States and recognize that a secure Israel is in our national interest.  I hope we can work together to address these critical issues.   Sincerely,       HARRY REID Majority Leader

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