Premature Meeting Between United States and Iran will Undermine Maximum Pressure Campaign

(New York, N.Y.) – United Against Nuclear Iran Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace said the following today regarding reports of a near-term meeting between President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani:

“President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign has been effective in reducing the Iranian regime’s ability to provide extensive monetary and weapons support to its terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis.

“But the momentum created by maximum pressure could quickly evaporate should talks between the United States and Iran take place prematurely. Iran’s economy, in contrast to North Korea’s, is trading-based. Iranian markets may therefore prematurely react to the beginning of talks between the U.S. and Iran to the benefit of Iran, whether or not the talks produce an agreement.  We’ve seen this dynamic before in the lead-up to the negotiations over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), when the value of the rial and inflation rate improved after President Rouhani was elected in 2013 due to heightened expectations of comprehensive sanctions relief. Under these circumstances, maximum pressure can quickly turn into minimal pressure.

“Any meeting between the United States and Iran should be preceded by careful discussions between lower level officials from both countries. If those talks result in a set of concrete understandings, only then should President Trump be willing to sit down with the one person in Iran who can change policy, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”