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Ernst and Colleagues to President Biden: An Iran Agreement Without Broad Congressional Support Will Not Survive

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst along with 48 of her Republican colleagues, released a statement telling the Biden administration they will not support the revived Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, which is expected to weaken sanctions and lessen restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

 According to press reports, the Biden Administration may soon conclude an agreement with Iran to provide substantial sanctions relief in exchange for merely short-term limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.

 By every indication, the Biden Administration appears to have given away the store. The administration appears to have agreed to lift sanctions that were not even placed on Iran for its nuclear activities in the first place, but instead because of its ongoing support for terrorism and its gross abuses of human rights. The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will sharply undermine U.S. leverage to secure an actually ‘longer and stronger’ deal. What is more, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran’s financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.

 The administration has thus far refused to commit to submit a new Iran deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty, as per its constitutional obligation, or for review under statutory requirements that passed on a bipartisan basis in response to the 2015 deal. Additionally, despite earlier promises to the contrary, the administration has failed to adequately consult with Congress.

 Republicans have made it clear: We would be willing and eager to support an Iran policy that completely blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability, constrains Iran’s ballistic missile program, and confronts Iran’s support for terrorism. But if the administration agrees to a deal that fails to achieve these objectives or makes achieving them more difficult, Republicans will do everything in our power to reverse it. Unless Iran ceases its support for terrorism, we will oppose removing and seek to reimpose any terrorism-related sanctions. And we will force the Senate to vote on any Administration effort to do so.

 We strongly urge the administration, our Democrat colleagues, and the international community to learn the lessons of the very recent past. A major agreement that does not have strong bipartisan support in Congress will not survive.”

 Background:

Last month, Ernst backed legislation to re-impose terrorism sanctions on the Iran-controlled Houthis after a series of terror strikes on civilian targets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. In January, Ernst joined nine of her Senate colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that he enforce mandatory sanctions against the growing fleet of oil tankers selling Iranian oil and against the entities purchasing this oil.

Senator Ernst joined an effort to impose human rights sanctions on the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the regime’s President Ebrahim Raisi. Ernst has continued to oppose the Biden administration’s efforts to rejoin the JCPOA. She supported a bill that would enable Congress to approve—or block—any effort by the administration to suspend or terminate U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. She also urged the Biden administration to work with our allies and partners to impose a new arms embargo on Iran.

In addition, Ernst helped introduce legislation that would curb President Biden’s ability to re-enter the JCPOA.

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