WASHINGTON – Four Republican senators sent a letter to US President Joe Biden on Wednesday urging him not to rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.
The letter from senators Marco Rubio (FL), Jim Inhofe (OK), Pat Toomey (PA) and Todd Young (IN) was sent as the US and Iran are holding a round of indirect negotiations in Vienna to explore ways for a return to the agreement.
“We are deeply troubled by recent news reports that the United States may soon remove sanctions on Iran in order to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the senators wrote. “The United States must not relinquish its leverage over the Iranian regime just to return to the JCPOA, a severely flawed agreement that undermines our national security interests due to its arbitrary sunsets and limited scope.”
They also went after Robert Malley, the State Department’s Iran envoy, who recently said that “the maximum pressure campaign has failed.”
The senators defended the sanctions and said that they are not new.
“They include sanctions that Democrat and Republican administrations have implemented to punish the Iranian regime for its support for terrorism, nuclear enrichment program, and ballistic missile program,” the senators wrote. “The current sanctions in place provide your administration with an enormous amount of leverage over the Iranian regime, and they should be used as a tool to address all aspects of Iran’s destabilizing behavior.
“We hope to work with you on a path forward that prevents Iran from possessing nuclear weapons capabilities, addresses support for terrorism, holds the regime accountable for its egregious human rights violations, and ends its hostage-taking of American citizens. But we oppose any attempt to return to the failed JCPOA, or any deal that offers one-sided concessions to the Iranian regime while it continues to undermine the security of the United States and our allies and partners.”
The senators said that returning to the JCPOA, “which means granting Iran significant sanctions relief in exchange for nuclear limitations that expire in just four years – is not a viable strategy. We urge your administration to reset its approach immediately. Members of Congress rejected the JCPOA on a bipartisan basis in 2015. Returning to the JCPOA is not a recipe for a sustainable Iran policy and will not protect US national security interests.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, issued a separate statement saying that the US “should be nowhere near reentering the original Iran Nuclear Deal. It is unwise for the safety and security of our nation, which should be the first priority of any president.
“Rejoining JCPOA right now would send a signal to our adversaries around the globe that the United States is willing to negotiate with a state sponsor of terrorism – one that has shown little to no interest in deescalating tensions or putting an end to building their nuclear arsenal. I strongly urge the Biden administration to reverse course; do not give sanction relief in exchange for getting back in a plan that gave America no oversight over Tehran’s nuclear capabilities and actions.”