In describing the bill’s purpose, Congresswoman Lee alluded to ‘the darkening clouds surrounding Iran’s nuclear program’ and stated, ‘We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.’
In order to ‘lift the ‘no contact’ policy and begin negotiations,’ the bill would appoint a special envoy to Iran and authorize Track II diplomacy (back-channel, or unofficial negotiations) with Tehran. The special envoy would be tasked with entering into ‘direct, sustained, bilateral, and multilateral negotiations with the government of Iran in order to prevent war and support human rights.’
J Street, a liberal advocacy group, backed the bill in a public letter to Pres. Obama initiated by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Gerry Connolly (D-VA). The letter, which also called for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, formed the basis for the J Street conference’s lobbying day, during which over 700 conference attendees met with 225 lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
35 cosponsors (34D, 1R)
Last major action: 3/8/12 referred to House Cmte. on Foreign Affairs.