WASHINGTON (JTA) — Americans for Peace Now issued a new policy statement opposing sanctions "that target the Iranian people, rather than their leaders" and backing "engagement" without "arbitrary deadlines."
The organization released the statement the day before more than 300 Jewish leaders, representing a wide array of Jewish organizations, gathered in Washington to advocate for legislation that would sanction companies that help Iran import or produce refined petroleum, and to encourage Congress and the Obama administration to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on the Iranian regime.
Calling its policy "the only effective approach for dealing with Iran," APN president and CEO Debra DeLee said that "we urge rejecting deadlines imposed by outside parties, or deadlines that are the product of anything other than assessments by the Obama administration of the state-of-play of current diplomatic efforts."
"We also believe that additional sanctions aimed squarely at the ruling regime and its members may make sense, but that the U.S. must not make the mistake of pursuing sanctions that target the Iranian people — like the ‘crippling’ sanctions currently under consideration," DeLee said. "Now is the time to look for ways to signal positive US support for the Iranian people, not to create suffering in order to use that suffering as a weapon against the Iranian leadership."