Sen. Leahy Joins War Avoidance Drive Concerning Iran, Denouncing New Sanctions Bill
January 20, 2014 • 5:10AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, joined the strong voices for war avoidance and denounced the efforts in the Senate to ram through new sanctions against Iran that would destroy the negotiations and lead to war. "It's a mistake," he said bluntly.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, when he was asked whether the new sanctions would be a "march to war," Leahy replied, ``I think if we do that, we screw up the ability to have real negotiation.'' There is absolutely no need to impose sanctions now because, ``if the negotiations fail--if Iran is seen cheating,'' Leahy said, ``we will impose more sanctions in a nanosecond--both the House and the Senate will...''

At least nine other Senate committee chairmen have also opposed the sanctions bill while negotiations and the interim agreement, which begins on Monday, January 20, are going on.

Earlier this week, on Jan. 16, Gary Sick, a former National Security Council staff member during the Ford, Carter, and Reagan presidencies, published a USA Today op-ed in which he warned that the sanctions bill could ``be setting us on the path to a third major Middle East war.'' Sick recounted that he was working on the NSC at the White House when the Shah was overthrown and when the US hostages were taken at the Embassy in 1979, and with that experience, it is ``difficult to watch the foreign policy calamity'' taking place in Washington where the sanctions bill could ``derail an enormous opportunity to halt Iran's nuclear program.''