Published in the Star-Ledger on January 10, 2013.
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By Laicie Heeley and Usha Sahay
As the president and Congress begin a new term, Iran’s nuclear program must be a priority. The coming months will be crucial if the U.S. hopes to overcome a decades-long impasse with Iran. As the prospective next chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading voice on Iran, Sen. Robert Menendez (D.-N.J.) will be singularly positioned to shape congressional support of the administration’s diplomatic effort.
As one of the Senate’s leading voices on foreign affairs, Menendez is poised to shape congressional policy on Iran’s nuclear program. To ensure the next round of talks is productive, it is important to allow diplomacy to take its course. At this time, imposing new sanctions risks undermining the progress already made.
Menendez should work with the administration on its push to negotiate with Iran. After years of crippling sanctions and stalled diplomatic efforts, it is time to solve the Iranian conundrum before the situation grows uglier.