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Even Democrats Are Condemning the Administration’s Efforts to Revive JCPOA

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey wrote in March about the revival of talks between Iran and the United States on the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)–the disastrous nukes agreement negotiated under former President Barack Obama, from which Donald Trump was wisely removing the U.S. during his time in office. However, it appears that the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.) believe that the proper reaction to a Tehran-Moscow combination is to create a hole to avoid sanctions.

It's so bad–especially following the Iranian missile attack near the U.S. consulate in Irbil within the past few days–that even one House Democrat suggested President Joe Biden bring an end to the negotiations. Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria's post expressed her grave worries in the aftermath of the attack. “I'm monitoring the news of an attack at our consulate in Irbil. If the reports are true, the Biden Administration needs to end its talks with Iran. We should not re-enter the unsuccessful JCPOA to increase the power of Iran and risk the security of the world.”

Gabriel Noronha, former State Department special adviser for Iran under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also waved a red flag over how bad this deal that the Biden Administration seemed to be on the verge of signing was. Noronha wrote an adamant editorial in Tablet that reads, “This Isn't Obama's Iran Deal. It's Much, Much Worse.”  

However, Noronha was not done, according to the Washington Free Beacon in late March. As per WFB, “Russia is being awarded a financial lifeline via the nuclear agreement, undermining international efforts to isolate Moscow,” with the U.S. allowing Rosatom, “Russia's top state-controlled energy company,” to go ahead with an investment of $10 billion in a nuclear-energy project in Iran.

He informed the WFB that “Rosatom's projects in Iran are crucial to the company's future financial viability–that's exactly why we should shut them down by disrupting their foreign contracts–especially those with a regime like Iran. We're doing the reverse. We believe that the United States should sanction Rosatom for its role in Russia's war against Ukraine. However, in a traditional fashion, we're offering Rosatom full immunity to sanctions that will help stabilize the finances of Rosatom.”

Now Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is raising the alarm in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken after receiving word that the negotiated deal will not only ease sanctions on financial transactions but also remove Iran's notorious state-sponsored terrorist group Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization list.” 

Machin wrote: 

Dear Secretary Blinken:

I remain very concerned about your ongoing negotiations with Iran regarding a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and request a detailed briefing on the status of those talks. While I support President Biden’s commitment to reengaging the Government of Iran in diplomacy, we should not reward Iran with sanctions relief before they demonstrate verifiable efforts towards curbing their malign influence holistically, including their nuclear ambitions, terrorism financing, and dual-use weapons development.

I am particularly worried about reports that you might be considering removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list in the hopes that trade relations can be reestablished with Iran to assist with our energy crisis. Let me be clear. The IRGC is a terrorist organization. We must not be shortsighted in the use of sanctions relief to mitigate our present energy challenges. Sanctions are our primary leverage to facilitate agreements on halting malign Iranian actions and should not be used to achieve non-strategic objectives. Instead, we should continue to invest in an all-of-the-above domestic energy policy to bolster our national security and our ability to help our allies and partners abroad. Congress has the opportunity to pass additional bipartisan energy legislation to further expand our ability to deliver the energy our allies and partners need. We cannot and should not look to Iran to solve our energy problems.

For decades, the Iranian leadership has chosen to direct its government’s efforts and willpower toward destabilizing the Middle East and Africa through terrorism financing, which has resulted in thousands of deaths, including the deaths of U.S. servicemembers. Likewise, the development of dual-use technologies like ballistic missiles that could be used as a delivery system for nuclear warheads remains an ongoing concern. If these activities are allowed to continue, Iran could become a nuclear weapons power leading to a nuclear arms race in the region. Each of these examples demonstrates an alarming lack of sincerity on Iran’s part and highlights the importance of thoroughly analyzing the various threats Iran can and will present to regional and international stability both today and after the expiration of the JCPOA. I agree we must halt the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. However, we must continue to negotiate a halt to Iran’s use of state-sponsored terrorism, advancement of its missile program, and the continued proliferation of dual-use technologies.

Just as I did in 2015, I respectfully request this detailed briefing to reach as informed a decision as possible. I hope that Congress will be given the due process it deserves in weighing in on such an immense foreign policy decision. I was disappointed in the outcome of the negotiations in 2015, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

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