WASHINGTON – Various Republicans from both chambers of Congress acknowledged that the Iran nuclear deal is “flawed” and a threat to U.S. national security, but fell short of urging President Donald Trump to kill the agreement.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was one of the few lawmakers who, while expressing support for Trump’s decision to decertify the deal, explicitly noted in a statement, “I have serious doubts about whether it is even possible to fix such a dangerously flawed agreement.”
“Ultimately, leaving the nuclear deal, reimposing suspended sanctions, and having the president impose additional sanctions would serve our national interest better than a decertified deal that leaves sanctions suspended or a new law that leaves major flaws in that agreement in place,” he added.
Echoing Rubio, some experts welcomed the president’s move to decertify the deal but urged the commander-in-chief to kill the terror-fueling agreement that former President Barack Obama himself acknowledged would end up funding Hezbollah, a jihadist group that the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) believes maintains a presence inside the United States.
While various members of Congress denounced the Iran nuclear deal as “flawed,” they still supported President Trump’s decision to decertify for now, but keep it alive.
In a statement, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) praised President Trump’s Iran strategy.
The House members denounced the former President Barack Obama-brokered deal as defective, but they suggested that Congress working with the president will be able to fix the problems
“We are committed to work with the President to address these flaws, hold Iran strictly accountable to its commitments, and support efforts to counter all the Iranian threats,” they said. “We’ll take an important step to that end on the House floor by passing bills to increase sanctions unrelated to JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] that target Iran’s support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program when Congress returns in the coming weeks.”
Referring to Trump unveiling his Iran strategy, which includes decertifying the Iran deal, the House members added, “The President’s announcement today rightly focuses on the full range of deadly threats from the Iranian regime,” and later said:
Our relationship with Iran should not be defined by one flawed nuclear deal. From Yemen to Lebanon, Iran is working to impose its brutal theocratic rule throughout the region. It supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah, bolsters the ruthless [Syrian dictator Bashar al] Assad dictatorship, promotes instability through sectarianism in Iraq, and abuses the human rights of the Iranian people. We cannot allow such a regime to become a nuclear power. The nuclear deal has significant flaws that must be addressed if that objective is going to be accomplished.
Meanwhile, Ted Cruz (R-TX), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also applauded Trump’s decision to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive, but also commended the president for doing away with the U.S. sanctions relief for Iran that has helped to fund Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah and its hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“President Trump has rightly determined that U.S. sanctions relief for Iran is not in the national security interests of America, nor is it appropriate or proportionate to the measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear weapons program. Iran has continued to carry out activities to advance their nuclear ambitions and destabilize the region through terror-finance operations,” said Sen. Cruz in a statement.
“Decertification is the right first step. Both the Administration and Congress should consider following this measure with the reimposition of sanctions,” he added. “We should use every tool at our disposal: economic, diplomatic, and if necessary, military, to ensure that the Ayatollah never obtains a nuclear weapon.”
Despite blasting the deal while campaigning for president, Trump has decided to try to fix the agreement rather than getting rid of it as he vowed to do as commander-in-chief.