For Immediate Release: February 13th, 2012

U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS CALL ON CHINA TO JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN IRAN SANCTIONS STRATEGY

 For Immediate Release
 Contact: Nathan Sermonis sermonis@psaonline.org
 February 13, 2012
 w: 202-293-8580

WASHINGTON -- On the eve of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington this Tuesday, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. national security leaders have come together to urge China to join international efforts to help address Iran's nuclear program.

In an open letter to Vice President Xi, distinguished veterans of the U.S. foreign policy and national security community, all members of the Partnership for a Secure America's Advisory Board, encouraged China to significantly reduce Iranian oil imports to help advance a peaceful resolution to fears of a nuclear-armed Iran. Amid elevating discussion of military options to eliminate this potential threat, the letter supports coordinated economic pressure as a means of bringing Iran to the bargaining table.

"Putting economic pressure on Iran to prevent its nuclear program from developing into a weapons program is the best way to avoid the kinds of conflicts that represent a danger to regional stability," said former US Sen. Gary Hart. "We are calling on Vice President Xi to take a message back to Beijing that leaders from across the American political spectrum support efforts by the United States, China, and the international community to work together to reduce this threat."

Signed by former Republican and Democratic officials, the letter encourages closer collaboration between the United States and China in our shared pursuit of security and stability in the Middle East and beyond. It also identifies Chinese participation in international efforts to use greater economic leverage to help bring Iran into the bargaining table as an important immediate step the two countries can take together.

A list of signatories and the full text of the statement is found below and online at PSAOnline.org.

Howard Baker
US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85


Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky
Undersecretary of State 2001-09


Slade Gorton
US Senator (R-WY) 1981-87, 1989-2001


Lee Hamilton
US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99; Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board


Gary Hart
US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87


Rita Hauser
Chair, International Peace Institute


Nancy Kassebaum Baker
US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97

John Lehman
Secretary of the Navy 1981-87


Richard C. Leone
President, The Century Foundation 1989-2011


William Perry
Secretary of Defense 1994-97


Frances Townsend
Homeland Security Advisor 2004-08


John Whitehead
Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88


Ambassador Frank Wisner
Under Secretary of State 1992-93


TEXT OF LETTER

Dear Vice President Xi,

As a group of American national security leaders from both parties, we welcome you to the United States.

There are few relationships in the world more central to peace, prosperity, and security in the twenty-first century than that between the United States and China. We hope that your visit to the United States will be an opportunity to build ever stronger collaboration between our two countries.

We were delighted when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stated last month that China "adamantly opposes Iran developing and possessing nuclear weapons." We share your government's view that a nuclear-armed Iran would create dangerous and unpredictable security challenges in the Middle East and beyond.

Like you, we believe that the international community has a responsibility to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and that our countries have the potential to work closely together to prevent this from happening.

As calls for military action rise, we also share your country's view that a negotiated settlement to this impasse is by far the most desirable outcome. This option, however, will be far more likely if the entire international community, including China, comes together.

Recently, the United States, the European Union, and others have agreed to eliminate their imports of Iranian oil as long as Iran continues to move forward in its nuclear weapons program and in its defiance of the United Nations Security Council. We believe that the value of these sanctions is to encourage the kind of diplomatic breakthrough on Iran's nuclear activities that both of our nations seek.

In the context of your historic trip to the United States, we therefore urge you to make clear that China will significantly reduce its imports of oil from Iran, uphold the applicable resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, and use its economic influence with Tehran, coupled with robust diplomacy, to help resolve this issue peacefully.

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