Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew expressed the need for tough sanctions enforcement on Iran and reaffirmed the administration’s policy that it is “unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons.”
“We will exhaust all diplomatic and economic means we can,” Lew said on Feb. 13 during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee in response to a question from Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
Lew also noted that all options still remain on the table. “I firmly believe that these economic sanctions are far preferable to war, but we must pursue them vigorously,” he said.
Lew highlighted the impact sanctions are having on the Iranian economy and voiced hope that it would cause Iran to change its calculus. “It’s the only reason I have some hope that we might be able to resolve the issues that we have with Iran peacefully,” he said. “Sanctions are doing what they need to do. It’s crushing the Iranian economy. GDP is down, the value of their currency is down. Unemployment is up. Inflation is up.
“What we haven't seen yet, is whether that has changed the mind of the regime so that it's ready to, in a diplomatic process give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. That is the goal.”