Barr, Roskam, Lance support president’s decision to reevaluate Iran nuclear deal

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Friday that he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement negotiated by the Obama administration was supported by U.S. Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY), Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

Trump said Iran had committed multiple violations of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including failure to meet expected reductions in advance centrifuge operations and intimidation of international inspectors who did not exercise their full authority. As a result, Trump said he would not certify to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

The United States will remain in the JCPOA, but Trump said he wants his administration to work with Congress to craft new legislation to strengthen the JCPOA and impose restrictions related to Iran’s ballistic missiles.

Barr, Roskam and Lance applauded the president’s decision to work with Congress on a comprehensive plan to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program while simultaneously addressing Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region.

Barr, the chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, called the nuclear deal “a dangerous and historic mistake” that gave tens of billions of dollars of sanctions relief to mullahs in Iran in exchange for a promise to temporarily halt its enrichment program.

“Unfortunately, the agreement contained fatally deficient verification protocols, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) now concedes it has no capacity to verify that Tehran is not engaged in ‘activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device,’” Barr said. “That’s because under the terms of the agreement, international inspectors are barred from accessing Iran’s military sites, where illicit nuclear activities are most likely to be taking place.”

Even if the country fully complies with the JCPOA, Iran could still have an arsenal of nuclear weapons in as few as eight years, and sanctions relief has already emboldened Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region, Barr added.

On Friday, “I was pleased to hear President Trump announce a new strategy, including actions that will challenge Iran’s hostile ambitions and advance American national security and interests in the region,” Barr said. “As the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees enforcement of financial sanctions, I have been working on additional measures that can be taken, including sanctions, to hold Iran accountable for its malign activities.”

Roskam said he also has plans to introduce legislation to support the president’s goals to permanently prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to counter Iranian aggression.

“Iran – the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, primary backer of Bashar Al Assad’s massacre of the Syrian people and egregious violator of human rights – must be permanently prevented from developing a nuclear weapon,” Roskam said.

Roskam added that remaining in the JCPOA in its current form is not in the best interest of U.S. national security.

“I look forward to working with the Trump administration in ensuring that the Islamic Republic is verifiably and permanently prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons capability,” Roskam said. “A nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to our nation. We must take all steps to prevent one of the world’s most dangerous regimes from obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapon.”

The current accord, Roskam said, rewards Iran’s bad actors like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Iran Air. He urged the president to prevent the sale of aircraft to Iran Air until the airline stops supporting terrorism.

Lance, who co-chairs the Republican Israel Caucus with Roskam, agreed with the president’s decision to ask Congress to reevaluate the nuclear agreement.

“Iran has violated both the letter and spirit of the agreement by its failure to establish required nuclear export policies and practices, working with North Korea on boosting prohibited trade, supporting and funding international terrorism, testing ballistic missiles and the brutalization of its own people,” Lance said. “If Iran wants to join the world community then the country’s leaders need to comply with the numerous U.N. resolutions designed to keep the world safe.”

Additionally, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and support for terrorism cannot be viewed as separate issues, Lance said.

“Congress must consider all of the deadly threats posed by Iran,” Lance concluded. “I support improvements to the agreement that hold Iran accountable and actually lower nuclear enrichment levels. An improved deal must deny Iran all steps to a nuclear weapon.”