As the fateful vote on the Iran deal draws nearer in Congress, support is building for an idea first proposed at Breitbart News: use the states to maintain existing sanctions on Iran, and add new ones.
President Obama’s executive agreement with Iran is enormously controversial for good reason. Negotiated in coordination with Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the deal welcomes Iran as a participant in the world community conditioned only on marginal changes to its nuclear program. It effectively allows Iran to maintain technology that would lead to a nuclear weapon, as well as continue its human-rights abuses, sponsoring of terrorism, imprisoning of American hostages, and threats to American allies, including Israel.
Fortunately, the U.S. states have the power to limit these threats, if they all choose to use it….
Rather than drop their sanctions against Iran, states should strengthen and expand those sanctions. Regardless of President Obama’s view of Iran, the states certainly have numerous moral and reputational reasons to prohibit the investment of public assets, such as pension funds, into companies doing business with countries that sponsor terrorism, and to prohibit state agencies from doing business with such companies.
Inhofe and Pruitt conclude by announcing that they “are sending and endorsing a letter and a draft sanctions document to all 50 states, calling on the 25 states with existing sanctions to strictly and aggressively enforce those sanctions, and encouraging the 25 states that have not yet enacted sanctions to take every executive and legislative action available to immediately impose sanctions on Iran.”
After that idea was initially proposed at Breitbart.com on July 22, constitutional lawyers David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey backed the idea in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on July 26. On July 28, Breitbart News reported that state legislators in New York and California would not comply with the Iran deal’s provisions encouraging the federal government to push them to remove their sanctions. That same day, under questioning by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the states had the power to retain their own sanctions despite the deal. And on August 9, presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), whose victory at the Supreme Court in Medellin v. Texas (2008) paved the legal path for the idea, endorsed it at a town hall in Birmingham, AL.