The score map from a autonomous Party-aligned international policy team reflects various priorities because that the party’s mainstream and progressive wings.

You are watching: Bernie sanders on iran nuclear deal


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Sen. Bernie Sanders participates in a Fox News town hall top top April 15, 2019, in Bethlehem, Pa. Photo: note Makela/Getty ImagesSen. Bernie Sanders participates in a Fox News city hall on April 15, 2019, in Bethlehem, Pa. Photo: mark Makela/Getty Images

A mainstream, democratic Party-aligned international policy think tank is knocking Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., because that voting against new sanctions on Iran in 2017 — despite the think tank itself and many members of its board oppose new Iran sanctions.

Sanders has been an outspoken support of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and said at the time that that voted against the measure up in stimulate to keep the deal. Sanctions, the argued, would have compromised the landmark agreement. Yet the penalty were component of a package that also imposed constraints on Russia and North Korea, which is why the think tank, international Policy because that America, supported the package.

Foreign policy for America’s knock came in a score card the rated political leaders on their votes in Congress. The group, also known as FP4A, released its new score card at the end of April, ranking members of congress from the 115th conference on a variety of international policy issues. The relatively brand-new advocacy group gives Sanders a confident score in all but two the 13 categories — one of which to be the bill the sanctioned Iran and also Russia.


“We’re looking for the best solitary indicator, even if it is it’s a poll or a sponsorship, come score for each of among 20 issues.”

With an progressively crowded ar of presidential candidates, the score card gives people an easy way to evaluate and also distinguish contenders. It could not do lot to damages Sanders’s reputation, however it highlights a an essential difference in how the foreign policy neighborhood prioritizes and also understands miscellaneous policy issues. In this case, the score reflected a prioritization the Russia worries — specifically related come Russia’s treatment in the 2016 election — against preserving the Iran nuclear deal at a time once the Trump management seems will on ratcheting up tensions.

Andrew Albertson, foreign Policy for America’s executive, management director, told The Intercept that the score card “can be a dull instrument” the unfortunately doesn’t always capture the nuances in the method members of congress vote. “It’s a place I can respect,” Albertson claimed of Sanders’s poll on the bill, though noting that the group still has some differences with the city council on Iran policy.

“Our simple principle is, we’re searching for the best solitary indicator, whether it’s a poll or a sponsorship, come score for each of one of 20 issues,” the said. “So in this case, once that really important Russia language was combined with what us in our score map committee and also the experts that we convened to do these decisions collectively viewed as benign law on Iran and also North Korea, climate it’s a an important thing to score top top Russia.”

Among the members that the international Policy because that America’s board are international policy professionals who were important in fighting to make the Iran transaction happen. Several of those figures have expressed comes to over the choice to penalize Sanders for taking the position he did.


“I execute not agree at all v its assessment. I believe Senator Sanders is right and also for much more reasons 보다 you — or probably he, in the fullness of time — have actually stated.”

“I’m of course no bound to agree with whatever FP4A says or publishes,” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary the State Colin Powell’s cook of staff and also a international Policy for America advisory plank member, wrote in an e-mail to The Intercept. “And, in this case, I do not agree in ~ all through its assessment. I believe Senator Sanders is right and for much more reasons 보다 you — or maybe he, in the fullness of time — have stated.”

In a call interview, Wilkerson said various other members of international Policy because that America’s leadership felt similarly on Iran and other issues the group deals with. “I would dare say that 60 or so people that come together, indigenous Michèle Flournoy come Tony Blinken to a hold of others,” the said, “there room issues, and single issues, possibly several issues, the they nothing necessarily agree on.”

Wilkerson said the scoring that the poll that had the Iran sanctions, together with a few other disagreements, had actually caused him come reconsider his joining with international Policy because that America. “It’s even caused me to wonder about whether or not I should continue my advisory capacity with them,” the said, adding that he and also others disputed their disappointed “in the corridors” and that the foreign Policy because that America leadership knows exactly how he feels about it.

Foreign policy for America offered Sanders a negative score since he voted against sanctioning Russia throughout a time when policymakers feared that President Donald trumped “might arbitrarily lift the sanctions on Russia,” Albertson said. “And that was alarming come a the majority of people, pretty throughout the plank in Congress. And also us too.”

Sanders had actually put out a explain after the vote explaining his rationale. “I am strong supportive that the penalty on Russia had in this bill. It is i can not accept for Russia come interfere in our elections below in the unified States, or anywhere about the world. There need to be results for such actions. I additionally have deep concerns around the policies and tasks of the Iranian government,” the said. “But I think that these new sanctions can endanger the really important nuclear commitment that was signed in between the unified States, its partners and also Iran in 2015. The is not a hazard worth taking, an especially at a time of heightened tension in between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies.” Sanders’s office declined to comment because that this story.

While Sanders has been aggressively pushing an ext progressive foreign policy positions, countless in the establishment of the democratic Party still take it a more hawkish line. International Policy for America sit at the nexus that these 2 camps, drawing its plank of directors and advisory plank from the ranking of both groupings. Stalwart progressive foreign policy professionals are functioning with an ext centrist Democratic-aligned figures, consisting of a organize of former management and security officials, such together Flournoy, Blinken, and former CIA main Ned Price.


Among the progressives on international Policy for America’s plank of directors and advisory boards are leaders from organizations that supported strongly because that the Iran deal, such together J Street chairman Jeremy Ben-Ami and Ploughshares money President Joseph Cirincione. Ben-Ami ad questions about the Iran penalty score to Albertson and added, “J Street as well does not have any type of organizational duty for FP4A policy or decisions.” Cirincione did not respond come a request for comment.

The other an adverse score international Policy because that America offered Sanders to be for not co-sponsoring at the very least two out of three 2017 receipt the group selected as component of “a collection of bills that would encourage political, economic, and also social reforms about the world, specifically among partner states.” Those had a resolution “supporting the right of all Iranian citizens to have actually their voices heard” and also condemning person rights violations; the International human Rights Defense Act, i beg your pardon would develop a permanent special envoy in the State Department for the human rights that LGBTI people; and the Burma human Rights and also Freedom Act, which authorized assistance to victims that the state-sponsored genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Of those, Sanders only co-sponsored the International human Rights Defense Act.

One that the concerns Foreign policy for America has focused on throughout its quick life is Yemen. The group, Albertson said, has scored votes ~ above blocking eight sales come Saudi Arabia and has take away a public position on finishing U.S. Assistance for the brutal Saudi-led war against its neighbor. “We’ve been very active on Yemen,” Albertson said.

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In so late 2018, the Senate pass a bill the invoked the battle Powers plot to stop U.S. Assistance for the Saudi-led battle — a vote that plenty of other liberal groups sat out. The victorious vote was a landmark moment, paving the way for the first-ever invocation that the war Powers Act follow me these lines by Congress. Despite a veto by Trump, the press was one of Congress’s most consequential foreign policy interventions in memory. Sanders, among the faster agitators for ending support for the Yemen war, was a key sponsor of the Senate bill.

When it come time to evaluate the 115th Congress, foreign Policy because that America declined to include the Senate’s 2018 Yemen resolution ~ above its perform of items to score. “We taken into consideration with our score map advisory committee the opportunity of scoring sponsorship of H.Con.Res 138,” Albertson said, referring to the house version of the bill. “But we had a ceiling principle to only score sponsorship on regulation that picked up assistance from at least a third of the body.”


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