JOINT RELEASE: 18 Democrats Raise Concerns About Looming Iran Deal

 

Above: Members of Congress raise concerns about the looming Iran deal.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, April 6, 2022, eighteen Democratic Members of Congress joined together to raise critical concerns about the looming Iran deal. Reports indicate that the U.S. has reached the last phase of the Vienna negotiations with Iran — the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror.

Members of the group of eighteen held a press conference this morning (watch here).

Democratic Members joining together to raise their concerns include Reps. Gottheimer (NJ-5), Luria (VA-2), Norcross (NJ-1), Vargas (CA-51), Phillips (MN-3), Boyle (PA-2), Brown (OH-11), Costa (CA-16), Demings (FL-10), Frankel (FL-21), Golden (ME-02), González (TX-15), Lee (NV-3), Manning (NC-6), Meng (NY-6), Soto (FL-9), Stevens (MI-11), and Suozzi (NY-3).

Below: Members of Congress raise concerns about the looming Iran deal.

 


“As the Vienna negotiations come to a close, we cannot treat the FTO designation — one of our most powerful diplomatic tools used to get cold-blooded killers out of the terrorist business — as a cheap bargaining chip. If Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, has proven anything, it's that they can’t be trusted,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “The IRGC, Iran’s paramilitary terror arm, has directly, or through their proxies including Hezbollah, Hamas, and PIJ, killed hundreds of Americans, and attacked our bases and our allies in the region. Strengthened with billions of dollars in sanctions relief, Iran would be an enormous danger to Americans at home and abroad, and to our allies. Additionally, it’s been reported that under this proposed deal, Russia will be the de facto judge of compliance, and in a position to return enriched uranium to Iran — without any oversight mechanisms by the United States or our European partners. Are we seriously going to let war criminal, Vladimir Putin, be the guarantor of the deal? We must address the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, stand strong against terrorists, and protect American values and our allies.”

“The old JCPOA did not work, and any new deal that does not prevent Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon is unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-2). “I have serious concerns about reports that negotiators in Vienna are discussing lifting sanctions designed not only to address Iran’s illegal nuclear activities, but even its state sponsorship of terrorism. Iran is dangerously close to acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and we cannot further embolden Iran by providing them with additional resources to further their violent and dangerous agenda.”

“Sunset clauses merely delay the regime’s ability to enrich uranium or develop a nuclear arsenal and, regardless of when, this is unacceptable. Iran must never be allowed to become a nuclear threat to the world. Not today. Not ten or fifteen years from now. Not ever,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-1).

“The JCPOA is a bad deal with fatal flaws. We know one thing for sure – Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. We cannot allow that to happen. Congress must be involved in creating an agreement that would keep nuclear weapons out of Iran.” said Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51). 

“I want to make something abundantly clear,” said Congressman Dean Phillips (MN-3). “I am not opposed to an agreement. I am opposed to an agreement that does not absolutely, positively prevent Iran from either producing or obtaining nuclear weapon. I believe I speak for an overwhelming majority of the United States Congress to that end.”

“As the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is being renegotiated, I’ve joined my colleagues in support of a stronger agreement with reliable nuclear restrictions and provisions that prevent Iran from funding international terror and advancing its missile program,” said Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-3). “As negotiators continue their efforts, they must keep the security of Israel and other vulnerable allies top of mind. That means we must ensure that Iran never obtains nuclear weapons and we must work to curb its other destabilizing activities across the region.”

“In 2015, I opposed the nuclear deal with Iran because I strongly believed the world could and should have had a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-6), Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. “I am again concerned by much of the public information that has come out regarding this new agreement. Any new agreement with Iran must be based on the situation that is on the ground today, not the one from seven years ago. This means an agreement that is comprehensive and addresses the full range of threats that Iran poses to the region including its nuclear program, ballistic missile program and its funding of terrorism. As part of a more effective agreement, the array of expiring restrictions in the 2015 deal must be addressed—including sunset provisions that allow Iran to ramp up its enrichment efforts significantly in the coming years. I am watching the situation closely as efforts to revive the agreement move forward, and I will continue to raise my concerns.”

“Under no circumstance can Iran be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. The Iranians have made significant technological progress in the last two years and the threat is real. There cannot be great compromise without great confidence in the efficacy of any deal, especially since the original JCPOA fell short in many ways. The Congress must never act in a way that compromises Israeli and global security,” said Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11).

"The most important point here is that Iran is a bad actor and cannot be trusted. I am deeply concerned that any wrong move may wrongfully empower Iran, put Israel and the region at risk, and further heighten international tensions. If any negotiations continue to move forward, we must ensure that Iran is blocked from purveying their malfeasance throughout the region and the world,” said Congressman Tom Suozzi (NY-3). 

“Iran’s authoritarian regime---whose support for terror has killed innocent civilians around the world, including hundreds of Americans---cannot be allowed to get the world’s most dangerous weapon,” said Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21). “Any renewed agreement with Iran would need to be stronger than the original agreement, and must engage on Iran’s ballistic missile program, international terrorism, and other destabilizing activities throughout the region.”

“I have long hoped that negotiations with Iran would result in a longer and stronger agreement,” said Congresswoman Shontel Brown (OH-11). “I look forward to closely reviewing any announced deal to determine whether it will make the U.S. safer, improve stability in the region, and strengthen the security of our longtime ally Israel.”

“I have long said that a new deal with Iran must be stronger and last longer than the previous agreement,” said Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-6). “Any new agreement should address Iran’s support for terrorist groups, offer clarity about the sunset provisions, and set forth a long-term strategy for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. I remain concerned about the reports we’ve received so far, and I continue to urge an agreement that protects our national security and our allies around the globe.”

“Congress must stand united in ensuring that we impose strict nuclear restrictions on Iran. As the Biden Administration continues negotiations to achieve an agreement, we hope they will take Iran’s role as one of the world’s leading state-sponsors of terror into consideration. I am hopeful that our concerns will be addressed, and the safety of our international community will take priority,” said Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9).

“I have concerns with the Biden Administration’s talks with Iran concerning the JCPOA. First, we should not forget that in January of 2020, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attacked the United States with 12 ballistic missiles fired at bases in Iraq and wounded U.S. servicemembers who suffered traumatic brain injuries. We should not loosen sanctions on the IRGC and they should not be taken off the Foreign Terrorist Organization list. In addition, the Biden Administration should demand that Iran meet directly with U.S. officials as a precondition for further discussions. Lastly, I am concerned that a potential deal would turn a blind eye to Iran’s support for terrorist organizations and proliferation of weapons in the Middle East, particularly as the Abraham Accords have made progress restoring diplomatic relations and some stability in the region.” said Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02).

“Iran continues to pose a threat to the stability and security of the Middle East,” said Congressman Vicente González (TX-15). “The United States must do everything in its power to limit the regime’s ability to acquire or develop dangerous nuclear weapons and prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.”

“As a 27-year law enforcement officer and chief of police, I know a habitual offender when I see one. Iran’s corrupt leaders are habitual offenders, sponsors of terror, and a threat to U.S. national security, Israel, and stability around the world,” said Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10).  “I continue to support all efforts to destroy the Iranian government's terror networks, break up their ballistic missile program, disrupt their meddling in Latin America, and gut their nuclear program.”

“As a member of Congress, I have a responsibility to ensure that Iran in this instance is prevented from developing nuclear weapons with the capability to deliver them,” said Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16). My top priority here is to ensure peace and prosperity in the region, especially for our critical partner Israel. Iran has done very little to indicate they're a serious, trustworthy partner in pursuit of this goal. I echo the administration's call that nothing is final until everything is final, and I'll be observing closely as the critical components of this deal are negotiated.”

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