Issue Memo

AIPAC's analysis of current issues, policy and legislation.

  • Issues Memos

    Beyond The Nuclear: Iran's Extremism Persists (PDF)

    January 21, 2014

    The interim agreement between Iran and P5+1 on Tehran's nuclear program has now entered into force, kicking off negotiations on a final deal. Ideally, these negotiations would be accompanied by Iranian actions calculated to build trust. However, Iran’s new government has actually worsened its radical behavior at home and throughout the Middle East. Tehran has increased its repression domestically, its support for terrorism abroad, and its backing of the Assad regime in Syria. Even in the nuclear arena, Iran’s leaders have made clear that they have no intention of coming into compliance with their international obligations. As final negotiations commence, the United States must continue to avoid illusions. Among other key prevention measures, the United States must insist on unusually tough verification standards to protect itself and its friends from Tehran’s ongoing threats to peace and stability.

  • Issues Memos

    Congress Must Act to Ensure Iranian Compliance (PDF)

    January 14, 2014

    The interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 goes into effect on January 20, with ongoing concerns remaining about Iran’s continued nuclear program and the extent of sanctions relief it will receive. As implementation of the agreement begins, Congress must take three important steps: (1) strictly oversee Iranian compliance; (2) lay out the contours of an acceptable final agreement; and (3) advance legislation that will spell out the consequences for Tehran if it violates the interim deal or rebuffs a verifiable final pact ending Iran’s nuclear weapons pursuit.

  • Issues Memos

    Israeli Actions Building Atmosphere for Peace (PDF)

    January 10, 2014

    Since the resumption of peace talks in the summer of 2013, Israel has taken important low-key steps to improve the daily lives of the Palestinians and enhance the prospects for productive dialogue. The international community should acknowledge Israel’s efforts for peace and encourage the Palestinian leadership to match them and cease its hostile rhetoric of incitement.

  • Issues Memos

    American Public Opinion on Iran (PDF)

    December 20, 2013

    Three recent national polls were conducted to gauge the American public’s opinion on Iran. This document presents questions and answers from those surveys.

  • Issues Memos

    Key Lawmakers Urge Increased Pressure on Iran (PDF)

    December 04, 2013

    Key congressional leaders from both parties are continuing to scrutinize the recent interim agreement signed with Iran. A senior bipartisan group of senators is arguing the importance of confronting Iran with prospective additional sanctions if it violates the agreement or continues its nuclear weapons quest. Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz have echoed these sentiments, insisting that any deal with Iran be “something other than a tactical pause on Iran’s march toward a military nuclear capability.”

  • Issues Memos

    The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act (PDF)

    November 27, 2013

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  • Issues Memos

    U.S. Must Prevent a Nuclear-Capable Iran (PDF)

    November 25, 2013

    Now that the P5+1 has inked an initial agreement with Iran, America must not only ensure full Iranian compliance but also insist that any final deal deny Tehran a nuclear weapons capability. Tough sanctions legislation passed by Congress and vigorous diplomacy pursued by the administration have brought Iran to negotiations. However, the initial agreement raises many concerns—including implicit acceptance of Iranian enrichment. Congress has provided the leverage to spur Iran to seek talks; now it must press the administration to negotiate a verifiable agreement that will prevent Iran from ever building nuclear weapons. Congress must also legislate additional sanctions, so that Iran will face immediate consequences should it renege on its commitments or refuse to negotiate an acceptable final agreement.

  • Issues Memos

    Israel Takes Robust Steps to Advance Peace Prospects with the Palestinians (PDF)

    November 15, 2013

    Israel has initiated a variety of important measures over the past six months to improve the daily lives of the Palestinians and enhance the atmosphere for peace negotiations. The international community should acknowledge Israel’s steps for peace and encourage the Palestinian leadership to match them.

  • Issues Memos

    Iran Has No 'Inalienable' Right to Uranium Enrichment (PDF)

    October 17, 2013

    In the run-up to the P5+1 nuclear talks with Tehran this week, Iranian leaders asserted an “inalienable” right to enrich uranium. In reality, as U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman has clearly asserted, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) does not speak about the right of enrichment. Even if there were such a right, Iran’s extensive decades-long violations of the NPT would have negated it. The international community has spoken explicitly to that issue through United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions directing Iran to suspend enrichment. These resolutions constitute the highest form of international law. Tehran must comply forthwith and halt all of its illicit nuclear activities. Instead, Iran has the uncontested ability, utilized by many other countries, to pursue peaceful nuclear energy without domestic enrichment.

  • Issues Memos

    Iran Must Suspend Nuclear Activities for Diplomacy to Succeed (PDF)

    October 07, 2013

    The United States and its partners are on the verge of renewing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. To provide the necessary time and space for discussions, Tehran must suspend all enrichment and reprocessing activities. Iran’s nuclear activities have brought it so close to a nuclear weapons capability that time for successful negotiations will run out if the regime continues on its present course. To avoid any misunderstanding in Tehran, America must clearly signal that it will consider no easing of sanctions until Iran has verifiably suspended its nuclear program. If Iran’s nuclear activities continue, the United States and the international community should escalate sanctions and reinforce President Obama’s message that a credible military option is on the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

  • Issues Memos

    Negotiations with Iran Must Be Backed by Strength (PDF)

    September 20, 2013

    As world leaders gather in New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, international powers are expected to renew talks soon with Iran about its nuclear program. Washington can improve the prospects of success for such talks by taking steps to expand sanctions against Iran and to enhance the credibility of the option to use force. The international community should only consider sanctions relief if Iran complies with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that require suspending its nuclear activities. Any such relief must be commensurate with the extent of Tehran's actions.

  • Issues Memos

    Iran Nuclear Capacity Grows (PDF)

    August 30, 2013

    Iran continues to expand its capacity to enrich uranium, shortening the time it would need to produce sufficient highly enriched uranium for a nuclear device. Since President Hassan Rouhani’s election, Iran has installed some 2,000 additional centrifuges, according to a new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.  While the United States should test whether President Rouhani is serious about nuclear negotiations, we must toughen sanctions until Tehran begins to change course.

  • Issues Memos

    As U.S. Pushes for Peace, Abbas Continues to Reject Talks (PDF)

    June 20, 2013

    The United States and Israel have demonstrated their commitment to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace, but Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas continues to spurn direct talks without preconditions. Secretary of State John Kerry has travelled repeatedly to the region and launched a major investment plan for the West Bank. Simultaneously, Israel has urged immediate resumption of negotiations. The Palestinians must quit stalling and sit down with Israel.

  • Issues Memos

    After Election, U.S. Must Judge Iran by Its Actions (PDF)

    June 18, 2013

    Iran last week elected a new president, regime loyalist and former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani campaigned on a platform of improved relations with the West. But to mend ties with the West, Iran must comply with its international obligations, including ending its nuclear weapons quest. The international community should provide sanctions relief only after Tehran takes concrete positive steps to halt its nuclear activities. Until that time, the United States should maintain a steady policy that couples a genuine willingness to negotiate with increased sanctions pressure.

  • Issues Memos

    Peace Requires Commitment to Talks, Rejection of Preconditions (PDF)

    May 15, 2013

    As the Obama administration works to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it should stick to the key principles that have fostered progress in prior peace efforts. America should eschew any effort to impose a solution, deal privately with disagreements between the parties, and reject attempts to impose preconditions. Washington should also urge Arab states to broaden their support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and for peace talks well beyond their recent effort to revive the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. American diplomats should insist that the Palestinians stay at the negotiating table, end incitement against Israel, and refrain from waging diplomatic warfare against Israel at the U.N.