Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel is challenging the Obama administration’s strategy on Iran, pushing for stronger sanctions and demanding Tehran not be allowed to have any nuclear capabilities.
“Sanctions have come at a terrible economic cost for the people of Iran,” he said. “But, unfortunately, sanctions are what have brought the Iranian regime to the negotiating table.”
Wiesel took out full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal this week. The ads were paid for by Jewish philanthropist Birthright Israel co-founder Michael Steinhardt.
In the ad, Wiesel calls for the U.S. Senate to vote to toughen sanctions against Iran.
“I appeal to President Obama and Congress to demand, as a condition of continued talks, the total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and the regime’s public and complete repudiation of all genocidal intent against Israel,” Wiesel wrote. “And I appeal to the leaders of the United States Senate to go forward with their vote to strengthen sanctions against Iran until these conditions have been met.”
Wiesel’s ad comes as a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Thursday that would increase the sanctions on Iran if the country fails to meet its obligations under the interim deal signed last month.
The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is expected to pass.
"The American people rightfully distrust Iran's true intentions and they deserve an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception during negotiations,” Sen. Kirk said. “This is a responsible, bipartisan bill to protect the American people from Iranian deception and I urge the majority leader to give the American people an up or down vote."
The White House had tried to get senators to hold off on pushing the measure, arguing that adding sanctions could put ongoing talks with Iran in limbo.