Ranking Member Deutch Statement on President Trump's Iran Policy
Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), Ranking Member of the Middle East and North Africa, issued this statement following President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement:
“Today the President sent an unfortunate message to our allies by decertifying and threatening to terminate the JCPOA, but he appeared to heed the advice of his top national security advisors by not brazenly walking away from the JCPOA. He also left open the possibility of working with our allies - outside the JCPOA - to address Iran's ongoing threats.
“We should be clear-eyed about the threat posed by the Iranian regime including its role in the slaughter of half a million Syrians, its support for terror attacks around the globe, and its continued human rights violations against its own people. We have seen this play out over the past four decades, from the American hostage crisis to the embassy bombings to the brutal crackdown on Iranian citizens during the Green Revolution, where students were openly killed in the streets of Tehran. And we must always remember that Bob Levinson continues to be the longest held American hostage in American history.
“The President’s four specific points that he articulated today are in fact the bipartisan strategy that has been pursued as long as I have been in Congress: to work with our allies to counter Iran’s malign activities, impose punishing sanctions outside the nuclear deal, counter the proliferation of missiles and weapons, and deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.
“In fact, today's long overdue sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps are part of overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation that Congress passed in July – the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act – which mandated new sanctions against the IRGC and its affiliates. That bill also imposed new penalties on Iran’s ballistic missile program, weapons transfers, and ongoing human rights violations.
“I am glad the Administration took action against the IRGC, and I urge them to continue utilizing the authorities Congress has already provided. There is nothing in the Iran nuclear agreement that should prevent us from targeting Iran’s dangerous non-nuclear activity, and we should be urgently debating new unilateral and multilateral tools to isolate Iran for its hostile behavior.
“Abandoning the nuclear deal would leave the U.S. isolated and make it impossible to do exactly what the President says we must do, lead our allies to counter Iran. I would also caution what should be obvious, that we cannot simply amend an international agreement through unilateral congressional action. But we must address the very real long-term concerns of an unrestrained nuclear enrichment program that could put Iran on the doorstep of a nuclear weapon. To do so, we will need to continue to work together with the IAEA and our international partners to fully enforce the provisions of the JCPOA to hold Iran accountable and to take the strongest actions possible to address our nuclear concerns.
“That is why I plan to hold the President to his word ‘to work closely with Congress and our allies.’ He can start by directing his national security officials who have been making the rounds on Capitol Hill to work with both sides of the aisle. Stopping Iran’s dangerous activity and preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon is not a partisan issue. Let’s not make it one.”
Congressman Deutch led 181 of his colleagues in a letter to President Trump urging him not to decertify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.