WASHINGTON, DC, - U.S. Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr joined a large number of senators from both parties in sending a letter to President Obama calling for a renewed sense of urgency in addressing Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Though Iranians recently elected a new president who has indicated a willingness to restart negotiations on the country's nuclear capabilities, the decision to move forward with a nuclear program ultimately lies with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"Mr. President, we urge you to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the process. Until we see a significant slowdown of Iran's nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran," wrote Hagan, Burr and colleagues. "We must be prepared to act, and Iran must see that we are prepared."
The U.S. intelligence community has indicated that Iran has the capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, but that it has not made a decision to do so. The country has previously used negotiations as a stalling technique while continuing the development of their nuclear program.
In the letter, the senators express support for four strategic elements necessary to achieve resolution of this issue:
· An explicit and continuing message that Iran will not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapons capability
· A sincere demonstration of openness to negotiations from Iran
· America's maintenance and toughening of sanctions
· The convincing threat of the use of force that Iran will believe.