Lee introduces legislation to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Friday that would create a high level special envoy to Iran in an attempt to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons using diplomacy.

The legislation, called the "Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act," would direct the president to appoint an envoy to pursue direct, sustained, bilateral and multilateral negotiations with Iran's government to prevent war and support human rights.

"The darkening clouds surrounding Iran's nuclear program are troubling," Lee said. "We must use all diplomatic tools available, including engaging in direct bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. To do that, we must lift the 'no contact' policy and begin negotiations."

The proposed legislation would eliminate the State Department's no contact policy. The policy prevents officers of the State Department and their employees from making any direct contact with their counterparts in Iran. The bill outlines potential opportunities to build mutual trust and to enable sustained good faith negotiations with Iran.

Original cosponsors of the legislation include Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), John Dingell (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).

Lee is the Congressional Progressive Caucus Whip and the chair of the Taskforce on Global Peace and Security.