WASHINGTON, March 3 – In a statement after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today renewed his support for diplomatic efforts by the United States and other world powers to negotiate an agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“More than a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us thousands of lives and trillions in treasure and made a difficult situation even worse. Those experiences should reinforce our resolve to make every diplomatic effort to avoid another rush to war,” Sanders said.
“It goes without saying that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. It goes without saying that the United States will stand by our long-standing friendship and support for the nation of Israel. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not offer any serious alternatives to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“At this point, harsher sanctions won’t stop Iran’s nuclear program. Neither would a dangerous resort to military action. The sanctions currently in place have brought Iran to the bargaining table and current negotiations resulted in Iran freezing its nuclear program. And for the past year, Iran has been subject to heightened international inspections. All of those things have made us safer.
“I commend President Obama for his continued cooperation with the United Kingdom, France, China, Germany and Russia to reach a final agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Sanders said.
Sanders did not attend Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress. He had said beforehand that the address, arranged without consultation with the White House, improperly interfered with President Barack Obama’s leading role in charting U.S. foreign policy. With Israeli elections set for two weeks from now, Sanders also said it was inappropriate for any foreign leader to use an appearance before Congress for their own domestic political purposes.