Activists gather at a Capitol Hill rally against the Iran nuclear deal in Washington September 9, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Texas will not lift its sanctions on Iran and will take no part in the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with the Islamic republic, which has made the world a “more dangerous and compromised” place, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Jewish media at a meeting in New York on Monday afternoon.
The governor formally responded on Monday to a letter by President Barack Obama on April 8 requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against Iran as part of the deal concluded last year.
In his response to the president, Abbott wrote: “Because the Iran deal is fundamentally flawed and does not permanently dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability, Texas will maintain its sanctions against Iran.
“Further, because your administration has recklessly and unilaterally removed critical sanctions, I have called on the Texas Legislature to strengthen the Iran sanctions that Texas already has in place,” he added.
Abbott, who recently visited Israel, told Jewish media he is “deeply disturbed” by the nuclear deal and views it as “a potential existential threat to Israel and frankly to nations across the globe.”
“It makes no sense to me why the United States would be an accomplice to arming and aiding economically a nation that to this day seems to be devoted to terrorism,” he said at the meeting.
Referring to Iran’s recent test launch of ballistic missiles, some of which reportedly had the message “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” written on them, Abbott said: “If that is not a message that the world should comprehend and understand the magnitude of, then the world needs to wake up. Israel has no stronger ally in the United States than the State of Texas,” he added.
Challenging Obama’s request, Abbott said that the entities in the state of Texas that have been participating in divestment from Iran will continue to do so.
These entities, he explained, primarily include multi-billion dollar retirement investment funds.
Further strengthening Texan divestment, Abbott assured, will have significant economic and symbolic impact on Iran. According to the Texas Comptroller’s 2014 estimates, if Texas were a nation, its economy would rank 12th largest in the world according to its GDP.
“This is an economic commitment as powerful as that of Australia or almost Canada,” he said. “Texas is going to take the lead in sending the message to the international community that we stand with Israel.”
When asked by The Jerusalem Post whether he supports the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency, he said: “Candidly, I don’t know Donald Trump and I don’t know what his positions are, but I do know... Hillary [Clinton] will be catastrophic to the United States of America,” he said.
The governor added he is “perplexed” about the Jewish community, which usually aligns with the Democratic Party.
“After seeing eight years of the Obama administration and the damage caused by the Obama administration to Israel and the Israel-US alliance, I don’t understand how anyone who cares about Israel can support a Democrat,” he stated.