Press Release

More than 50 Democratic National Committee Leaders Urge President Biden to Lift Sanctions to Rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal

May 10, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Quincy Institute, 202.279.0005/ [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, more than 50 national Democratic Party leaders and DNC members including Minnesota Attorney General and former DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and current and former Democratic Party chairs and vice chairs from red, blue, and purple states, sent a letter to President Biden urging a return to the Iran nuclear deal and the lifting of Trump’s bad-faith sanctions. 

The letter, organized by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, states “as elected and appointed members of the Democratic National Committee and state party leaders from across the country, we write in strong support of the U.S. rejoining the Iran nuclear deal. Moreover, lifting Trump’s bad-faith sanctions – which he explicitly imposed on Iran in order to make a return to the JCPOA next-to-impossible – should not be treated as a concession to Iran, but rather as an effort to restore U.S. credibility and enhance American security. We urge you not to cave to pressure from proponents of Trump’s failed approach to Iran.” 

“It is essential for the United States to return to the Iran nuclear deal, which necessitates the lifting of Trump’s bad-faith sanctions,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and former DNC Deputy Chair. “The Democratic Party should fight to end rampant militarization and promote multilateralism that enabled the United States to resolve the nuclear issue with Iran without a single shot being fired.”

“Returning to the JCPOA is essential for reassuring the world that the United States’ word is good,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “As Democrats, we must put diplomacy at the center of our foreign policy and prove that America fulfills its commitments as a responsible actor on the world stage.”

“Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal and lifting Trump’s bad-faith sanctions is not only supported by rank-and-file Democrats in red, purple, and blue states, but also by our Democratic Party leaders from all across the country,” said Yasmine Taeb, human rights lawyer and former Virginia Democratic Committeewoman. “President Biden pledged to chart a new course and called for a foreign policy for the middle class that will end forever wars and focus on the immediate domestic crises and that begins by rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal and rejecting Trump’s failed approach on Iran.” 

“A majority of Americans support a return to the nuclear deal, especially Democrats and young Americans,” said Michael Kapp, Chair of the DNC’s Youth Council and a DNC Member from California. “Young people want a future where the United States takes a peaceful approach to solving global problems, and this is an important step in that direction.”

The letter, and the full list of signers, can be accessed here, and is also included below. 

May 10, 2021

Dear President Biden,

As elected and appointed members of the Democratic National Committee and state party leaders from across the country, we write in strong support of the U.S. rejoining the Iran nuclear deal.

The landmark nonproliferation accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), sealed off Iran’s potential pathways to developing nuclear weapons, peacefully resolved the Iran nuclear crisis, and as a result, made America and the world safer. 

The deal imposed the most intrusive and restrictive nuclear verification, monitoring, and inspection mechanisms ever negotiated. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) consistently confirmed that the deal was working to prevent the risk of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

In May 2018, the Trump administration recklessly reneged on the Iran deal and pursued a so-called “maximum pressure” campaign to ostensibly reach a “better deal” with Iran. The only result has been a vastly expanded Iranian nuclear program, increased regional instability, near US-Iran war on multiple occasions, and severe economic sanctions that have contributed to a dire humanitarian crisis inside Iran. As a result, America’s credibility has been severely damaged and its national security damaged. Trump’s decision made America less safe.

We commend you for pledging to return to the JCPOA and for beginning a multilateral diplomatic process with other world powers to return all sides to compliance with the accord through the compliance-for-compliance formula. In that regard, the JCPOA is of such critical value to U.S. national security that the issue of who goes first should not become an obstacle. Moreover, lifting Trump’s bad-faith sanctions – which he explicitly imposed on Iran in order to make a return to the JCPOA next-to-impossible – should not be treated as a concession to Iran, but rather as an effort to restore U.S. credibility and enhance American security. 

We urge you not to cave to pressure from proponents of Trump’s failed approach to Iran. We have seen the net effect of that policy: A larger Iranian nuclear program and a greater risk of war with Iran.

The Obama administration did not only prove that diplomacy with Iran works, it also proved that no other policy tool advances American security more effectively than diplomacy. We urge you to continue on this proven path of success.

Please contact Yasmine Taeb at [email protected] with any questions or to discuss this issue further. 

Sincerely, 

Attorney General Keith Ellison; DNC Deputy Chair (2017-2018) 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Zahra Abbas, DNC Member, Michigan 

Nadia B. Ahmad, DNC Member, Florida 

Winston Apple, DNC Member, Missouri (2016-2020)

David Atkins, DNC Member, California; Regional Director, California Democratic Party  

Evangeline M. Beechler, Chair, Idaho Democratic Party (2019-2021); Vice Chair, DNC LGBTQ Caucus (2017-2021)

Valdez Bravo, First Vice Chair, Oregon Democratic Party (2017-2019)

Jessica Sell Chambers, DNC Member, Wyoming 


Howard Chou, Vice Chair, Colorado Democratic Party  

Alan Clendenin, DNC Southern Caucus Chair

Larry Cohen, DNC Member-At-Large, Maryland; Board Chair, Our Revolution; Communications Workers of America President (2005-2015)

Joshua Cole, DNC Member, Virginia; Virginia State Delegate (HD-28)


Bart Dame, DNC Member, Hawaii 

Michelle Deatrick, DNC Member, Michigan (2016-2020); Founding Chair, DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis 

Sean Dugar, DNC Member, California; Co-founder, California Young Democrats Black Caucus 

Adrianne George, DNC Member, Democrats Abroad; Democrats Abroad Sweden Black Caucus Chair

Megan Ellyia Green, DNC Member, Missouri (2016-2020); 15th Ward Alderwoman, St. Louis Board of Aldermen  

Elizabeth Guzman, DNC Member, Virginia; Virginia State Delegate (HD-31)

Daraka Larimore-Hall, Fmr. Vice Chair, California Democratic Party; Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party Labor Caucus

Mike Hamrick, DNC Member, Colorado (2016-2020) 

Tim Jerman, Vermont DNC Committeeman; Vermont State Representative (2005-2017) 

Michael Kapp, DNC Member, California; Chair, DNC Youth Council 

Matt Keating, DNC Member, Oregon; Eugene City Councilor

Thomas Kennedy, DNC Member, Florida 

Aaron Kruse, DNC Member, Democrats Abroad

Sandra Lowe, DNC Member, California  

RL Miller, DNC Member, California; Co-founder, Climate Hawks Vote 

Cliff Moone, DNC Member, North Carolina (2016-2020)

Radhika Nath, DNC Member, Colorado   

Travis Nelson RN, DNC Member, Oregon; Western Director of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus

Kylie Oversen, Chair, North Dakota Democratic-NPL (2015-2021)

Sanjay Patel, DNC Member, Florida 

Khary Penebaker, DNC Member, Wisconsin; DNC Black Caucus Treasurer

Martha McDevitt Pugh, DNC Member, Democrats Abroad; Co-Chair, Democrats Abroad LGBTQ+ Caucus 

Melahat Rafiei, DNC Member, California; California Democratic Party Secretary 

Sen. Sheikh Rahman, DNC Member, Georgia (2016-2020); Georgia State Senator

Joseph Salazar, DNC Member, Colorado; Colorado State Representative District 31 (2013-2019)

Susie Shannon, DNC Member, California 

Jeri Shepherd, DNC Member, Colorado 

Tanya Shively, DNC Member, Oregon (2016-2020); Fmr Secretary, Democratic Party of Oregon  

Joseph Smallhoover, DNC Member, Democrats Abroad 

Kathryn Solon, Democrats Abroad DNC Member; Democrats Abroad International Chair (2013-2017)

Mary Sullivan, DNC Member, Vermont; Vermont State Representative 

Yasmine Taeb, Virginia DNC Committeewoman (2016-2020) 

Ted Terry, First Vice Chair, Georgia Democratic Party; Commissioner, DeKalb County (6th District); City of Clarkston Mayor (2014-2020)

Andre Treiber, DNC Member, Texas 

Terry Tucker, DNC Member, Colorado (2016-2020)

Nina Turner, DNC Member, Ohio; Congressional candidate (OH-11); Ohio State Senator (2008-2014)

Tim Vandeveer, Chair, Hawaii Democratic Party (2016-2018)

John Verdejo, DNC Member, North Carolina; Treasurer, DNC Southern Caucus  

Curtis Wylde, DNC Member, Missouri (2016-2020)

Elly Zaragoza, DNC Member, Minnesota (2016-2020) 

*Affiliations noted for identification only