As the Biden administration continues to pursue a revival of the controversial Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, a group of 49 Republican Senators have sent a letter to President Biden warning that they would not support the deal because it “will weaken sanctions and lessen restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.”
“According to press reports, the Biden Administration may soon conclude an agreement with Iran to provide substantial sanctions relief in exchange for merely short-term limitations on Iran’s nuclear program,” the Senators wrote.
“By every indication, the Biden Administration appears to have given away the store. The administration appears to have agreed to lift sanctions that were not even placed on Iran for its nuclear activities in the first place, but instead because of its ongoing support for terrorism and its gross abuses of human rights. The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will sharply undermine U.S. leverage to secure an actually ‘longer and stronger’ deal. What is more, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran’s financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.”
The Senators then noted that the Biden administration has so far “refused to commit to submit a new Iran deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty,” which is a “constitutional obligation” and was a statutory requirement put in place with bipartisan support after the JCPOA was passed in 2015.
“Republicans have made it clear: We would be willing and eager to support an Iran policy that completely blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability, constrains Iran’s ballistic missile program, and confronts Iran’s support for terrorism. But if the administration agrees to a deal that fails to achieve these objectives or makes achieving them more difficult, Republicans will do everything in our power to reverse it. Unless Iran ceases its support for terrorism, we will oppose removing and seek to reimpose any terrorism-related sanctions. And we will force the Senate to vote on any administration effort to do so,” the letter concluded. “We strongly urge the administration, our Democrat colleagues, and the international community to learn the lessons of the very recent past. A major agreement that does not have strong bipartisan support in Congress will not survive.”
After the JCPOA was passed in 2015, multiple reports found that Iran had repeatedly violated the terms of the deal and continued to work to acquire nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Iran used the funds acquired through the deal – estimated to be between $100 to $150 billion – to finance terrorist organizations in the Middle East.
Additionally, U.S. officials recently warned that Iran would still be capable of developing a nuclear weapon in far less than a year under a restored nuclear deal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Administration officials concluded late last year that Iran’s nuclear program had advanced too far to re-create the roughly 12-month so-called breakout period of the 2015 pact,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Despite the change, the U.S. is pushing ahead with talks. A revised deal needs to be reached soon, the officials said, to leave the U.S. and its allies with enough time to respond to an Iranian nuclear buildup.”