Republicans urge Obama: Let Trump determine Iran policy

House Republican leaders urge Obama to refrain from boosting business ties with Iran before he leaves office.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

House Republican leaders on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to refrain from boosting business ties between the United States and Iran before leaving office, The Hill reports.

Speaker Paul Ryan (WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA) sent Obama a letter in which they urged the administration to “take no further actions designed to bolster international investment in Iran.”

The Republican leaders said Obama owes President-elect Donald Trump, who opposes the Iran nuclear deal, “the opportunity to assess United States policy toward Iran without your administration imposing or implementing additional measures that could complicate the incoming administration’s ability to develop its policy.”

“We urge you not to take any action that would weaken United States or multilateral sanctions or other restrictions against Iran in this post-election period,” the leaders wrote, according to The Hill.

The letter comes amid reports that the Obama administration is considering ways to relax economic sanctions with Iran before leaving office, including issuing licenses to American businesses to enter the Iranian market and reducing other financial sanctions.

Previous reports indicated that the Obama administration is considering easing financial restrictions that prohibit American dollars from being used in transactions with Iran.

Such steps could make it harder for Trump to reverse the Iran deal that the U.S. negotiated with other world powers, noted The Hill.

The GOP leaders, on the other hand, said Obama should sign an extension of economic sanctions on Iran. That bill passed the House last week, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he expects it to pass the upper chamber.

Some Senate Democrats have pushed back on the bill.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was noncommittal about future actions on Tuesday, telling reporters he had no announcements to preview.

But he made it clear the White House won't change course on its enforcement of the deal.

“This administration until January 20 will fulfill our obligations under the Iran deal," he said. “The steps that have been taken thus far have enhanced the national security of the U.S. significantly.”

Earnest also warned that "the risks of pulling out of that agreement or doing something in violation of that agreement are grave."

Trump publicly spoke out against the Iran deal during the election campaign, calling it “disastrous” and vowing to “rip it up” as president.

One of Trump's foreign policy advisers, Walid Phares, recently indicated that while Trump might not actually rip up the agreement, he would act to change it.

And former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is said to be under consideration for a top spot in the Trump administration, indicated this week that Trump could cancel the Iran deal on his first day as president since he’s not bound by it.

Since September, the House has passed bills to block cash payments to Iran, ban aircraft sales to Iran, and mandate the Treasury Department to issue a report on assets held by Iranian government and military leaders, noted The Hill.