Bipartisan Rejection Of The Biden Administration’s Awful Proposals For A New Nuclear Deal With Iran

‘President Joe Biden’s Bid To Revive The Iran Nuclear Deal Flunked Its First Test In The U.S. Senate’: The Senate Sent An Unmistakable Bipartisan Message To The Biden Administration That A New Nuclear Deal With Iran Cannot Repeat The Deficiencies Of The Obama Administration’s 2015 Deal


More Than 60 Senators Agree That Any Nuclear Deal With Iran Must Address Iran’s Ballistic Missiles Program And Support For Terrorism, Retain Sanctions On Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, And Take Into Account Chinese Purchases Of Iranian Oil

A bipartisan filibuster-proof majority of the Senate voted for Sen. James Lankford’s (R-OK) motion to instruct that any Iran nuclear deal must address Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism, and oil trade with China and does not lift sanctions on the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or revoke designation as a foreign terrorist organization. (H.R. 4521, Roll Call Vote #155: Motion Agreed to 62-33, R 46-1, D 15-31, I 1-1, 5/04/2022; Congressional Record, S.2321, 5/04/2021)

  • SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): “[W]e are about to go into conference on what we are basically calling the China bill, but this bill does not address China's practice of purchasing and stockpiling sanctioned Iranian oil on the black market. This procurement spike by China is directly correlated with the spike in terrorist activities by Iran and its proxies in the Middle East. Iran is laundering these petroleum products and illicitly transferring the oil at sea to Iranian tankers and foreign-flagged vessels. Three-quarters of this oil is ultimately exported to China, which purchased 310 million barrels of oil from Iran last year. All of this is happening while China is actually negotiating directly with Iran on our behalf in Vienna. This particular motion to instruct goes straight at this illicit activity from Iran that is facilitating the terror activities and also addresses the designation that Iran is asking if they are going to negotiate with the Biden administration on the Iran nuclear deal. Iran is specifically asking that they get a lift of the ‘foreign terrorist organization’ on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. That is the group that was attacking our troops in Iraq and facilitating their death. We need to address this and take it off the table so that Iran does not get by with this and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps does not.” (Sen. Lankford, Congressional Record, S.2321, 5/04/2022)

A bipartisan supermajority of the Senate voted for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) motion to instruct that requires the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress on economic and military cooperation between Iran and China. (H.R. 4521, Roll Call Vote #149: Motion Agreed to 86-12, R 48-1, D 37-10, I 1-1, 5/4/2022)

  • SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): “China is our most significant geopolitical foe for the next 100 years. Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. The Biden administration, unfortunately, has been dealing with both from a position of weakness. Specifically, the Biden administration has refused to enforce oil sanctions against Iran, allowing Iran to sell more than a million barrels a day of oil primarily to China. At the same time, the Biden administration is negotiating to lift terrorism sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Central Bank of Iran. The IRGC is responsible for murdering over 600 service men and women. The IRGC, right now, is actively trying to murder the former Secretary of State of the United States and the former National Security Advisor. If you support terrorism sanctions on the IRGC, you should vote yes, and if you want to lift those sanctions, you should vote no.” (Sen. Cruz, Congressional Record, S.2313, 5/04/2022)


‘President Joe Biden’s Bid To Revive The Iran Nuclear Deal Flunked Its First Test In The U.S. Senate … Lawmakers From Both Parties Said It Was A Warning Shot To Biden’s Negotiating Team’

“President Joe Biden’s bid to revive the Iran nuclear deal flunked its first test in the U.S. Senate. A bipartisan super-majority of senators voted late Wednesday to endorse a Republican-led measure stating that any nuclear agreement with Tehran should also address Iran’s support for terrorism in the region, and that the U.S. should not lift sanctions on an elite branch of the Iranian military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)

  • “Wednesday’s vote was the first time lawmakers were forced to go on the record about the key sticking points in the Biden administration’s year-long efforts to revive a nuclear agreement with Iran. It made clear that most lawmakers are skeptical about the terms of the deal, and would only support a more comprehensive agreement that addresses Tehran’s backing for terrorism in the region, too.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)

“While the measure itself was non-binding, the vote was hailed as a modest victory for Republicans who have pushed the Biden administration to walk away from the talks in Vienna, where a final deal has eluded negotiators. Lawmakers from both parties said it was a warning shot to Biden’s negotiating team, who have all but acknowledged in private that an agreement that goes beyond curtailing Iran’s nuclear program is no longer possible, according to multiple people familiar with classified Hill briefings on the subject. The vote was also a preview of the bipartisan rebuke that’s likely to come if the U.S. and Iran clinch an agreement that doesn’t address Iran’s non-nuclear activities and removes the IRGC’s terrorist designation — a ‘test vote,’ in the words of one senator.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)

Sen. Cruz: ‘This Deal Is A Terrible Deal, And I Think It Is Important To Get Every Senator On-Record Where They Stand’

SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “It is a strong expression of sentiment about where we’re at with Iran and the concern that members of the Senate have with Iran’s trajectory here as it relates to its march toward a nuclear weapon — and what we try to do to prevent it…. At the end of the day, I think it’s a pretty strong statement.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)

SEN. CRUZ: “They’re so desperate for a deal that they’ve been willing to concede almost anything…. This deal is a terrible deal, and I think it is important to get every senator on-record where they stand.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)

SEN. LANKFORD: “We have no idea if it’s ever going to come to the Senate. And that’s my concern, is that the administration is trying to make a deal and never send it over here…. So I think it’s important to be able to say, where does the Senate stand on these key issues like lifting sanctions on the IRGC, like missile technology and nuclear material.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)


Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ): ‘No [Iran] Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal’

“Menendez said that returning to the old deal negotiated by then-President Barack Obama would not work, given that it did not address Iran's ballistic missiles and had sunsets that are close to expiring. The senator said that in order to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, there are three things the U.S. must address. One is their missile capability, which they have. Another is the necessary level of uranium enrichment, which Menendez said Iran is ‘on the verge of having,’ and the third is detonation capabilities, which they still lack.” (“Sen. Menendez Has Message For Biden Admin On Iran: 'No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal',” Fox News, 5/01/2022)

SEN. MENENDEZ: “I want the administration to understand that no deal is better than a bad deal.” (“Fox News Sunday”, 5/01/2022)

  • SEN. MENENDEZ: “And the returning to the agreements, especially when there's not a one-year break out, but only as six-month breakout, doesn't really give us what we need. We don't deal with Iran's ballistic missiles for which our CENTCOM commander says there is overmatched by Iran and its proxies in the region in terms of the number of missiles and places they can fire them against even Iron Dome and other of our allies in the region. We won't be dealing with the ultimate threat. So, we have to stop, yes, Iran's proliferation and missiles and we also have to stop their pathway to a nuclear weapon.” (“Fox News Sunday”, 5/01/2022)
  • SEN. MENENDEZ: “So, from my perspective, unless there are other elements of the deal, that would not be a good deal. And, you know, and lifting of the IRGC designation as a terrorist organization, I think, is also critically important not to take place. They need to keep the designation on it.” (“Fox News Sunday”, 5/01/2022)

‘If What Is Being Talked About In Public Is The Agreement, I Don’t Think That’s A Good Agreement’

SEN. MENENDEZ: “If what is being talked about in public is the agreement, I don’t think that’s a good agreement. If all we’re going to get is six months [of breakout time], nothing else, and we are going to lift a series of sanctions and have flows of money go to Iran as a result of lifting those sanctions, at the end of the day we will help fuel their progress…. And that’s not something we should do.” (“Congress Fires Its First Warning Shot On Biden’s Iran Deal,” Politico, 5/05/2022)


Yet The Biden Administration Is Considering Removing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation

“The Biden administration for now is not shutting the door on a possible return to the Iran nuclear deal, despite a weekslong stalemate in the talks. … The key issue preventing a deal is Iran’s demand that the U.S. remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations. … Secretary of State Tony Blinken, during a congressional hearing Tuesday, said it's still possible to come to an understanding about the IRGC that could pave the way for a nuclear deal. Blinken said the Biden administration could lift the terror designation from the IRGC if Iran takes the necessary steps to justify it. ‘Iran knows what it would have to do,’ Blinken said. The U.S. previously demanded Tehran make a public commitment to de-escalation in the region.” (“U.S. Not Shutting Door On Possible Iran Nuclear Deal — For Now,” Axios, 4/27/2022)

The Biden Administration Also Believes A Restored Iran Nuclear Deal Would Leave Iran With A Shorter Breakout Time Frame

“The Biden administration expects a restored nuclear deal would leave Iran capable of amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb in significantly less than a year, a shorter time frame than the one that underpinned the 2015 agreement, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said. Administration officials concluded late last year that Iran’s nuclear program had advanced too far to re-create the roughly 12-month so-called breakout period of the 2015 pact, the U.S. officials said. Despite the change, the U.S. is pushing ahead with talks. … Reducing the breakout time in any revised pact raises fresh doubts about the Biden administration’s ability to negotiate what U.S. officials have called a longer, stronger deal that would further restrain Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons and gain political support in Washington and among European allies.” (“U.S. Sees Iran’s Nuclear Program As Too Advanced To Restore Key Goal Of 2015 Pact,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/3/2022)


Iran Is ‘Believed To Be Only Several Weeks Away From Enriching Enough Uranium To Create A Nuclear Bomb’

“With Iran believed to be only several weeks away from enriching enough uranium to create a nuclear bomb… Iran has regularly denied intending to build a nuclear weapon, but it has enriched uranium to 60 percent, a level that has no civilian use, and has created uranium metal that would be required to build a bomb.” (“Iran Nuclear Deal Nears Completion, but Russia Poses Complication,” The New York Times, 3/08/2022)

  • “The IAEA estimated in its November report that Tehran's stock of enriched uranium was just under 2.5 tonnes, more than 12 times the 202.8-kg (446-pound) limit imposed by the deal, but less than the more than five tonnes it had before the deal. That said, it is now enriching to a higher level than the 20% it reached before the deal and has around 17.7 kg of uranium enriched to up to 60%, which is close to the roughly 90% purity of weapons grade. It takes around 25 kg of weapons-grade uranium to make one nuclear bomb.” (“Explainer: How Close Is Iran To Being Able To Build A Nuclear Bomb?,” Reuters, 2/22/2022)

“Based on the International Atomic Energy Agency's last quarterly report on Iran's nuclear activities, which was published in November, experts have generally put breakout time at around three to six weeks but say weaponisation would take longer - often roughly two years. Israel's finance minister said in November that Iran could have nuclear weapons within five years. Estimating breakout time is not an exact science, and it is even harder to say where it would stand under an agreement that has yet to be finalised or published. But initial rough estimates put it around six months, diplomats and analysts say.” (“Explainer: How Close Is Iran To Being Able To Build A Nuclear Bomb?,” Reuters, 2/22/2022)


Meanwhile, Iranian Proxies Continue Their Terrorist Activities In The Middle East, Attacking American Allies

Iran Continues to Provide Arms And Assistance To The Houthis In Yemen, As They Attack Saudi Arabia And The United Arab Emirates

“The U.S. Navy said it seized a large cache of assault rifles and ammunition being smuggled by a fishing ship from Iran likely bound for war-ravaged Yemen…. It's just the latest interdiction amid the grinding war in Yemen that pits Iran-backed Houthi rebels against a Saudi-led military coalition. Western nations and U.N. experts repeatedly have accused Iran of smuggling illicit weapons and technology into Yemen over the years, fueling the civil war and enabling the Houthis to fire missiles and drones into neighboring Saudi Arabia.” (“US Navy Says It Seizes Arms From Iran Likely Bound For Yemen,” The Associated Press, 12/23/2021)

“The United States will help the United Arab Emirates replenish interceptors it uses to knock down incoming missiles following a spate of unprecedented attacks by Houthi fighters in Yemen, the U.S. general overseeing Middle East operations told Reuters. In recent weeks, the Iran-aligned Houthis have waged a string of largely failed strikes on UAE targets that have triggered Emirati and U.S. air defenses and have even seen American troops based there briefly taking shelter.” (“U.S. To Help UAE Replenish Missile Defense Interceptors After Houthi Attacks,” Reuters, 2/10/2022)

“[T]he Houthis fired missiles at Abu Dhabi in January. These missiles are home-assembled in Yemen with the technical assistance of Iran and Hezbollah. The Houthis have been firing missiles at targets in Saudi Arabia for years. The tempo has increased; to 33 in the first nine months of 2021 from 14 attacks in the first nine months of the previous year. The bulk of the target sites are in the Saudi provinces adjacent to Yemen but Riyadh has been hit multiple times. The missile attacks on Abu Dhabi have been accompanied by drones. The drone attacks have been claimed by a pro-Iranian Iraqi militia which has also hit Riyadh in the past. One of the Houthi strikes came as Israeli President Isaac Herzog was visiting Abu Dhabi. The Houthis have long called for the destruction of Israel.” (“Yemen War Spreads To The UAE,” Brookings, 2/10/2022)

Iran Is Also Using Drones To Supply Palestinian Terrorists With Weapons

“Israel accused Iran of trying to use long-range drones to fly small arms to Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an evolution in Tehran’s use of unmanned vehicles against its Middle East rival. Israeli military officials said they used F-35 jet fighters to shoot down two drones launched from Iran in March last year, marking the first time the advanced planes have been used to bring down unmanned vehicles. On Monday, nearly a year after the incident, the Israeli military released video from the F-35s showing the shoot down of the drones and details of the subsequent investigation.” (“Israel Says Iran Tried to Fly Arms to Hamas Using Drones,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2022)




Related Issues: Iran Nuclear Deal, National Security, Iran, War on Terror