Iran is one of the world’s – if not the biggest – leading sponsors and supporters of terrorism and grows more dangerous every day. Nevertheless, the Obama administration pushed an agreement which rewarded Iran with $150 billion to not pursue its goal of developing nuclear weapons. This deal was bogus and I and many of my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives opposed it and tried to block it.
We recently learned – and it’s not surprising – Iran is not complying with the agreement. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have been denied access to Iran’s nuclear activities and facilities. And Iran is still sponsoring terrorist groups and activities and destabilizing areas in the Middle East.
If President Obama would have gotten his way, the deal would have been implemented with no oversight or input from Congress at all. Fortunately, through a bipartisan initiative, Congress was able to require the president to certify or decertify Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement every 90 days.
Recently, President Trump announced he could not certify Iran was complying with the deal, primarily because Iran would not allow IAEA inspectors to inspect their nuclear activities. By the President not certifying compliance of the deal, Congress has up to 60 days to reinstate the sanctions against Iran set in place before the agreement was signed. Essentially, it would end the Iran deal and withdraw the United States from the agreement. Or we could stay in the agreement and work for more scrutiny, accountability, and oversight of Iran.
It’s difficult to predict what Iran would do if we ended the agreement. However, until the 60 days are up, we must demand unfettered access by IAEA inspectors and work with our allies to stop this hostile regime from supporting terrorist proxies and advancing its threatening weapons development program.
In the meantime, we must work diligently in Congress to address the threat from Iran. Here at the end of October, already we’ve passed with bipartisan support legislation dealing with Iran’s behavior and threats.
The first, the Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act (H.R. 1698), will launch an investigation to identify those involved in Iran’s missile program and penalize them for violating sanctions the international community has agreed to.
The second, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (H.R. 3329), will target the recruiting and fundraising efforts Hezbollah uses to carry out their awful attacks. Iran is a known supporter of Hezbollah and these sanctions will put pressure on Iran to stop its despicable activities.
The third, the Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3345), targets anyone who supports the troubling use of innocent civilians as human shields by Hezbollah’s fighters.
Finally, I supported a resolution urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on its members (H. Res. 359). This important resolution encourages our allies to join us in combating Iran’s support of Hezbollah.
These bills are just the start of efforts to bring attention to this serious matter and to hold Iran more accountable and address some issues the previous administration neglected. While none of these bills passed in the House will result in us withdrawing from the Iran Deal.
As we continue to confront Iran’s aggression and non-compliance of the deal, we must debate and ultimately decide what the right decision is to ensure the safety, security, and defense of America and her people.