A bipartisan group of 21 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Elaine Luria (VA-2), and Tom Reed (NY-23), on Thursday urged the Biden Administration to address concerns surrounding the looming agreement with Iran.
The lawmakers noted that, with reports indicating that the Vienna negotiations are nearing conclusion, there are several critical concerning issues that remain on the table — including the potential lifting of the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and of sanctions placed on the Supreme Leader.
“As negotiators continue their work, we must not forget where money will be funneled if terrorist sanctions are lifted on Iran. Iran’s nuclear program and terrorist activities are not only regionally focused in the Middle East with Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but also across the rest of the world. Iran’s actions also continue to threaten the security and stability of our key ally Israel, and the entire region,” said Gottheimer.
“The Iranian regime has actively financed a robust worldwide network of proxy groups that host terror cells in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and even in the United States. We need to address these concerns, so that we can combat the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror,” he added.
“I am deeply concerned that the latest iteration of the failed JCPOA being negotiated by the Biden Administration will empower Iran, endanger Israel, and continue to threaten global security. Any deal that would give Iran a path to a nuclear weapon or allow them to invest in terror proxies is unacceptable,” Luria said.
“If this deal goes through, we must ensure Israel has the means to respond to the resulting threats, and I will continue to stand against any deal that does not permanently prevent a nuclear capable Iran and does not make the Middle East and the world safer.”
“It is critical that we get the answers needed regarding renewed negotiations with Iran. We cannot take these negotiations lightly as we must recognize Iran’s role as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror,” said Reed, adding, “In any negotiation, President Biden needs to ensure Israel’s safety and interests are protected. It is fundamental that our questions are sufficiently answered in a timely manner.”
“We hope that no agreement is finalized without additionally addressing these concerns,” the Members wrote to President Biden. “Without adequately addressing Iran’s role as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror — which was noticeably absent from the 2015 JCPOA — and simultaneously providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief, the United States would be providing a clear path for Iranian proxies to continue fueling terrorism.”
“Our support will be contingent largely on satisfactory answers to the following questions,” the Members added.
Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.
There have been indications recently that a deal between Iran and world powers could be reached within days.
US lawmakers have several times in recent months expressed concerns over the deal being negotiated with Iran.
Last month, nearly 200 House Republicans wrote to Biden and warned that any nuclear deal made with Iran without Congress' approval "will meet the same fate" as the 2015 agreement.
"We will view any agreement reached in Vienna which is not submitted to the US Senate for ratification as a treaty — including any and all secret agreements made with Iran directly or on the sidelines of official talks — as non-binding," the GOP lawmakers wrote to Biden.