Of note: The Israeli Knesset is poised to vote on new legislation ostensibly dealing with NGO transparency. Supporters of the bill, among them most notably Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, have argued that the bill is no different to U.S. legislation known as FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act). This argument is false. For an explanation of why, please see this oped in the JTA.
Also, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has suggested that the requirements in the pending NGO law are the same as U.S. legislation governing those testifying before Congress. Again, this argument is false. There are no “laws” governing such matters; there are House rules and Senate rules, adopted by the respective bodies to govern procedural matters within each body. House rules do require individuals testifying before any committee to disclose foreign government funding relevant to the issues on which they are testifying [rules are here, see XI(2)(g)(5)(A)]; Senate rules include no such requirement.
The last edition of the Round-Up (year-end 2016), included a section entitled, “New Iran Battles in Congress – What to Expect in 2016.” That section opened as follows: “It is now clear (and it was indeed predictable/predicted) that 2016 will see a continued and even redoubled campaign of pressure on Iran from Congress.” Based on legislation introduced or advanced during the first two weeks of the 2016 session, this prediction has already come true. Stay tuned for more.
(UNDERMINE THE JCPOA - KEYSTONE COPS EDITION) HR 3662: Introduced 10/1/15 by Russell (R-OK) and having 62 all-GOP cosponsors, the “Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act.” As highlighted in Part 1 of the 12/31/15 Round-Up, this bill is one a number pending initiatives aimed at undermining the JCPOA. This bill, notably, is entirely partisan, meaning efforts to move it are nothing more than grandstanding (even if Republicans could pass it on their own in the House and Senate, without Democratic support they cannot overcome a presidential veto). Nonetheless, right out of the gate in 2016, GOP leaders in the House decided to go ahead with HR 3662.
- On 1/4, the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced it would hold a markup of HR 3662 the 1/7 (See Al-Monitor, “Congress sets up first showdown of the year over Iran deal”). Oddly, a notice for that same markup, dated 12/30/15 can be found on the House servers, here, but no public notice of the markup appears on the HFAC website until 1/4.
- On 1/7, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a markup of HR 3662 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee (video here), during which it was opposed even by those Democrats who opposed the JCPOA.
- On 1/11, HR 3662 was reported out of HFAC with a report (which includes written objections to the bill from Ranking Member Engel, D-NY and committee members Keating, D-MA, and Lowenthal, D-CA). On that same day, the chair of the Financial Services Committee (which had shared jurisdiction over the bill) in effect agreed not to bother marking up the bill so that it could be brought directly to the floor for quick vote.
- On 1/11, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy opposing HR 3662 and promising to veto the bill if it reaches the President’s desk.
- On 1/12, the House Rules Committee produced the rule under which HR 3662 (along with a few other measures) would be considered on the floor. That rule was adopted 1/12 by a 100% partisan vote of 239-183. Floor debate on that rule is here. Speaking in support of HR 3662 were Newhouse (R-WA) and Hill (R-AR); speaking in opposition were McGovern (D-MA) and Sherman (D-CA).
- On 1/13, HR 3662 was brought to the House floor for debate and a vote. The floor debate on the bill is here. Speaking in favor of the bill were: Royce (R-CA), Russell (R-OK), Poe (R-TX), Roskam (R-IL), Trott (R-MI), Shimkus (R-IL), Stewart (R-UT), Lance (R-NJ). Holding (R-NC), Mullin (R-OK), Cook (R-CA), Poliquin (R-ME), and Newhouse (R-WA) made a separate statement in the record in support. Speaking against the bill were: Engel (D-NY), Deutch (D-FL), Price (D-NC), Sherman (D-CA), Jackson Lee (D-TX), Blumenauer (D-OR). Conyers (D-MI) made a separate statement in the record in opposition. Notably, arguments against the bill were partly about substance, partly about the partisan nature of bill and the process by which it was moved.
- Following conclusion of debate, a vote was called on HR 3662, and the measure passed by a vote of 191-106 (you can still see the vote tally here).
- Reps. Royce (R-CA), Salmon (R-AZ) and Hurd (R-TX) issued statements applauding House passage of the bill. But those statements were premature (oops!), because…
- Immediately after the vote on HR 3662 was concluded, that vote was VACATED at the request of House GOP leader McCarthy (R-CA) – which means, in effect, that it is considered as never having happened. Why? Because not enough members showed up to vote – or, as stated in the headline in the Hill, Speaker Ryan closes Iran vote swiftly to punish tardiness . Which is why if you click through on the link for the 1/12 roll call vote in the official record, you will find the vote tally table completely blank.
- The vote was re-scheduled for 1/26, when the House returns to session – which means members will get a do-over. But it also means that a vote that the GOP was holding solely to preemptively discredit any moves President Obama to lift Iran sanctions as part of implementation of the JCPOA, and to embarrass House Democrats in the process, will now almost certainly take place after said sanctions have already been lifted.
(NORTH KOREA SANCTION, IRAN ANGLE) HR 757: Introduced 2/5/15 by Royce (R-CA) and having 36 cosponsors, the “North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2015.” Amended and passed by the House 1/12 under suspension of the rules by a vote of 418-2. Sec. 210 of the bill is entitled, “Report on Nuclear Program Cooperation Between North Korea And Iran.” It states, “The President shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on cooperation between North Korea and Iran on their nuclear programs, including the identity of Iranian and North Korean persons that have knowingly engaged in or directed the provision of material support or the exchange of information between North Korea and Iran on their respective nuclear programs.”
Notably, floor consideration offered some members of Congress an irresistible opportunity to go after Iran and the JCPOA:
Smith (R-NJ): “In the end, nuclear negotiations earn rogue nations like Iran and North Korea foreign capital and other investments from the West. They use that to fund additional missile technology, to fund criminal and terrorist activities, and to continue with clandestine nuclear programs.” [So since decades of sanctions failed to stop Iran’s nuclear program, apparently the only option is…regime change?]
Poe (R-TX): “…With Iran about to receive hundreds of billions of dollars for its illegal nuclear program, we shouldn't be surprised that North Korea wants a piece of the pie, too. Illegal nuclear programs and material can bring a lot of money to a regime. In the hearing that we had in October, we learned of deep connections between Iran and North Korea. Both nations, among other things, sponsor worldwide terror. They have a history of working together on missile development. There is mounting evidence that they have worked together on their nuclear weapons programs as well. We should expect Iran to keep working with North Korea to advance its own nuclear weapons program.”
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): “Despite some doubt about that capability's effectiveness, it is just a matter of time before North Korea finishes developing this dangerous technology that it is seeking or, worse, shares this technology with Iran, as these two rogue regimes are bosom buddies and have long been known to collaborate on their ballistic missile programs… North Korea has been writing the playbook for rogue regimes to follow, and unless this administration gets serious about confronting Pyongyang's aggressions, I worry that it will continue to allow Iran to take advantage of us, that we won't enforce sanctions on Tehran, just like we are not enforcing them on North Korea…In a few years' time, we will be back here debating what to do after another nuclear device test by North Korea, by Iran, or by other rogue actors.”
(TO EXPEDITE NEW IRAN SANCTIONS, IF/WHEN NECESSARY) HR 4333: Introduced 1/6 by Kennedy (D-MA) and having 13 cosponsors (including 3 Republicans), the “Zero Tolerance for Terror Act.”
Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Rules Committee. This legislation authorizes (requires?) expedited consideration of new sanctions legislation introduced in Congress in response to Iran committing acts of terror or ballistic missile technology in violation of international law, and lays out the details of such expedited consideration. Kennedy press release is here. Statement of support for the bill from Democratic Whip Hoyer (D-MD) is here. Gabbard (D-HI) press release is here.
(PUNISH IRAN FOR BALLISTIC MISSILE TESTS) HR 4342: Introduced 1/7 by Delaney (D-MD) and having 7 cosponsors (including 2 Republicans), the “Iran Ballistic Missile Prevention and Sanctions Act of 2016.” The stated purpose of the bill is “To impose sanctions on persons that transfer to or from Iran advanced conventional weapons or ballistic missiles, or technology, parts, components, or technical information related to advanced conventional weapons or ballistic missiles.” Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, the Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform.
(UNDERMINING THE JCPOA) HR 4344: Introduced 1/7 by Pompeo (R-KS) and 3 GOP cosponsors, the “Ending Iran's Nuclear Weapon Program Before Sanctions Relief Act of 2016,” aka, “To require a report on the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and to prohibit the provision of sanctions relief to Iran until Iran has verifiably ended all military dimensions of its nuclear program, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Select Intelligence Committee. This bill is the House version of the tilting-at-windmills effort introduced in the Senate 12/18/15 by Ayotte (R-NH), on behalf of the “JCPOA-can’t-be-implemented-until-Congress-gets-all-info-from-the- IAEA-and-until-Iran-has-come-100%-clean-about-its-past-nuclear-activities-(and-Iran-cannot-be-trusted-so-we-will-never-be-satisified-which-means-the-JCPOA-this-is-really-just-an-excuse-to-take-shots-at-the-JCPOA-which-we-oppose-no-matter-what) caucus. Notably, with Implementation Day imminent, it appears that this legislation (as currently formulated) has been overtaken by events.
(CONDEMNING & CENSURING OBAMA) H. Res. 588: Introduced 1/13 by Yoho (R-FL), “Condemning and censuring President Barack Obama.” According to the resolution, Obama’s sins include failing to take action against Iran’s ballistic missile tests. Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
(UNDO NEW IRAN-RELATED VISA DISCRIMINATION POLICY) HR 4380: Introduced 1/13 by Amash (R-MI), Conyers (D-MI), and Dingell (D-MI), the “Equal Protection in Travel Act of 2016.” Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Amash’s press release announcing introduction of the bill is here. This bill would repeal discriminatory changes to the Visa Waiver Program enacted in HR 2029 and discussed in detail in the Part 1 of the 12/31/15 Round-Up, (in the analysis entitled, “New Iran Sanctions Under the Guise of New Visa Waiver Rules”). In its press release welcoming the introduction of HR 4380, NIAC stated: “This bill will help ensure that the United States does not discriminate on the basis of national origin or heritage and does not threaten to turn many Americans into second-class citizens when traveling abroad.”
(IRAN DOESN’T LIKE NEW VISA RULES? TOUGH) Daines et al letter to Kerry: On 1/14, Sen. Daines (R-MT) and 13 fellow GOP Senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry stating, “We are gravely concerned about your recent letter to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif that sought to allay Iran’s complaints about Visa Waiver Program (VWP) reforms recently signed into law in the United States” and closing with snark: “We also ask you to clarify to Mr. Zarif and his colleagues that these reforms to the VWP were not drafted with Iranian interests in mind, but U.S. national security interests.” As noted in the last edition of the Round-Up, the new legislation – which effectively discourages and punishes travel to Iran – was never implemented (or even suggested) during the past nearly 4 decades of crisis and tensions between the U.S. and Iran. It was only adopted by Congress AFTER the achievement of a diplomatic agreement to roll back Iran’s nuclear program. It is thus very difficult to see how members of Congress can seriously argue that the new law reflects U.S. national security concerns, rather than a transparent effort to undermine implementation of the JCPOA.
(IRAN IS NOT OUR FRIEND) Pittinger et al letter to Obama: On 1/14, Rep. Pittinger (R-NC) sent a letter to President Obama, co-signed by 50 House colleagues, slamming Iran and concluding: “At this critical moment for U.S. foreign policy, we hope that you will reconsider your strategic alignment with Iran and give full support to our Middle Eastern allies.” Press release is here.
(IRAN MISSILE TESTS) Lowey et al letter to Obama: On 1/6, Reps. Lowey (D-NY), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Engel (D-NY), Sires (D-NJ), Connolly (D-VA), Davis (D-CA), and Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to sanction Iran for its recent ballistic missile testing. Press release here.
(NSA SPYING ON CONGRESS?) DeSantis letter to Obama: On 1/4, Rep. DeSantis (R-FL) sent a letter to President Obama “demanding answers regarding recent allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted and provided to the Executive Branch communications between members of Congress and the Israeli government.” Press release here.
1/20: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “The Middle East After the JCPOA.” So far only one witnesses has been announced: Michael Singh (WINEP)
Iran in Reactions to the SOTU
Bridenstone (R-OK) 1/14: Blogpost on his website slamming JCPOA, expressing support for HR 4333 (discussed in Sec. 1, above) and concluding: “…Under Obama and Kerry, those using military force, proxies and terror to advance their political and territorial ambitions no longer fear us. If America is to once again be secure, and the world a less dangerous place, our next president must reverse Obama’s failed policy of appeasement [apparently irrespective of whether Iran fulfills its obligations under the JCPOA].”
Ayotte (R-NH) 1/13: “With 10 American service members having been ‘arrested' by the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism, it's surprising and disappointing that our Commander in Chief did not demand the immediate return of our sailors, let alone even mention this serious situation. Further, in praising his nuclear agreement with Iran, the president failed to acknowledge that since the deal was finalized, Tehran has conducted two tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon in violation of a UN Security Council Resolution, unveiled a new underground ballistic missile depot, fired rockets near a U.S. aircraft carrier, refused to release Americans unjustly imprisoned, and continued its support for terrorist groups that has earned Iran its reputation as the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism.”
Lee (D-CA) 1/13: “On the global stage, our President has restored relations with Cuba, advanced a global agreement on climate change and negotiated a deal that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Young (R-IN) 1/13: “Rep. Todd Young Calls Obama On His Gratuitous Praise of Iran”
Johnson (D-GA) 1/13: “Ending two wars and forging the deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon all while re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba is what progress looks like in foreign policy.”
Huzienga (R-MI) 1/12: “In regard to Iran, the President seems more interested in rewarding the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism than holding them accountable for violating international law.”
Blackburn (R-TN) 1/12: “Right now we have a President who is more willing to appease our enemies than our allies, which is why Iran seized and continues to hold 10 American sailors and 2 American ships.”
Zinke (R-MT) 1/12: “Tonight was more of the same from President Obama: more divisive campaign rhetoric while turning a blind eye toward the real threats facing our nation from terrorists and rogue regimes like North Korea and Iran, who is currently holding ten of our Navy sailors and four of our citizens, and launched two ICBMs since signing the President’s Iranian nuclear deal. In fact, he didn’t even name the threat: radical Islamic terrorism.”
Barletta (R-PA) 1/12: Obama “has given away the store to Iran, the most belligerent state sponsor of terrorism in the world. This is the same Iran which, at the very time the president was giving his speech, was holding two U.S. ships and ten of our sailors in custody – not to mention at least four other Americans as political prisoners. Our borders are wide open, ISIS is on the march, and each day brings us closer to a nuclear Iran. Under no objective criteria could the president claim he has made America safer.”
Inhofe (R-OK) 1/12: “The deal he signed with Iran does nothing but appease our enemy and with every terrorist released from Guantanamo Bay we have another attacker to be worried about.”
Menendez (D-NJ) 1/12: “And beyond our borders, there are dangerous forces in the world. As a leader in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will work with my colleagues to keep up the pressure in the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations that seek to harm U.S. interests, continue the fight against the threat of nuclear proliferation from Iran to North Korea, and above all ensure we stand for democracy and human rights around the globe.”
Casey (D-PA) 1/12: “I’ll be pressing the Administration to hold the Iranian regime accountable. In terms of Iran it comes down to implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) well, enforcing it like hell, countering Iranian aggression in the region, and deterring. In a letter to the Administration in December, I called upon the Administration to hold Iran fully accountable for its recent test of ICBMs and I will continue to press the Administration to take appropriate steps.”
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 1/12: “…the President touted his nuclear deal with Tehran, yet what the President didn't say is that, since the deal, we have seen an increasingly bellicose regime flouting the international community, daring us to take action against its illicit behavior and then threatening to walk away from the nuclear deal if we do respond…”
Roskam (R-IL) 1/12: “Israel, our dear friend and the only free democracy in the Middle East, wasn’t mentioned at all during the speech…I’m not surprised the President only made a passing reference to Iran. His horrendous nuclear deal has left America, our allies, and the international community less safe. Despite assurances that the Iranian Regime would integrate peacefully into the international community, the Mullahs have done the opposite. They’ve launched ballistic missiles, targeted American ships in the Persian Gulf, and continued their support for terrorist groups across the globe. President Obama can’t bring himself to condemn their illegal acts of aggression despite clamoring from his own party. Just a few hours ago, Iran detained 10 American sailors – yet the President didn’t see fit to mention it.”
Garrett (R-NJ) 1/12: “I was troubled by only one fleeting mention of the nuclear deal with Iran and nothing about the U.S. Navy vessels and their crews that are being held captive by Iran. This deal is fundamentally flawed and Iran cannot be left on a path to obtain nuclear capabilities in a few short years.”
Newhouse (R-WA) 1/12:: “American freedoms must be defended from those who threaten them, whether by ISIS, Iran, or North Korea. Our enemies abroad have become more dangerous under this Administration. Just as the President was readying his speech, news reports that Iranian military forces have detained two U.S. Navy craft and their crews offer evidence that our enemies no longer fear or respect our leaders. These Americans must be released immediately. Iran’s provocations are the latest and most alarming in a series of hostile actions by the Iranian regime, including testing illegal ballistic missiles and continuing to hold American citizens hostage. When this Administration fails to respond with resolve when red lines are crossed, it emboldens our enemies and endangers Americans everywhere.”
Hill (R-AR) 1/12: “…I also am troubled that the president didn’t address today’s news that ten American sailors have been arrested by the Iranian government. Iran continues to demonstrate that it can’t be trusted, even in the wake of the massive sanctions relief the president’s administration provided them through last year’s nuclear deal. Iran is not our friend, and this president must use his last year in office to push back against their aggressive actions towards America and its allies.”
McHenry (R-NC) 1/12: “The speech we heard tonight was not the speech the American people were looking for. Today, we awoke to news of a terrorist attack in Turkey targeting German tourists and ended the day with news of U.S. sailors taken into custody by Iran. What the American people want is a plan to defeat the threat posed by radical Islamic terror and confront the bellicose actions of rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea. Instead, we heard a victory lap.”
DeSantis (R-FL) 1/12: “The President boasted of his deal with Iran and his commitment to releasing terrorists from Gitmo, yet these policies have weakened our national security by empowering Iran and placing hardened terrorists back into circulation.”
McCaul (R-TX) 1/12: “The President has appeased, rather than opposed, our adversaries from the start…So it is not surprising that in his last State of the Union Address he touted his naïve and dangerous nuclear deal with Iran despite their military holding American sailors captive.”
Meadows (R-NC) 1/12: “What an unfortunate juxtaposition for the President: as he took to the podium to
defend his Iran nuclear deal and other foreign policy initiatives, American sailors were being detained in Iran.
Make no mistake, the signing of the Iran Deal has only been emboldened the Iranian regime and Tehran grows
increasingly more hostile to the West by the day. Let us not forget that in addition to these sailors being
held, four innocent Americans have remained imprisoned in Iran for years.”
Clawson (R-FL) 1/12: “We find ourselves in a different America than the one portrayed by the President. The American absence of leadership in the world has left a vacuum that has been seized by Islamic terrorists, left Israel vulnerable, and a diplomatic agenda that does deals with Iran and the Castro bothers.”
On Iran’s detention of U.S. sailors
Roskam (R-IL) 1/13: “I’m glad to hear our sailors have been released from Iranian custody... Make no mistake about it – this incident is a consequence of American weakness and fecklessness. Per Reuters, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, the head of Iran’s armed forces, says this incident ‘should be a lesson’ to Members of Congress who oppose Iranian aggression. He’s right.”
Pompeo (R-KS) 1/13: “I am relieved to hear that the ten U.S. Navy sailors that Iran captured have been returned. We are thankful for the service and bravery of these nine men and one woman. We now must fully investigate Iran for possible violations of the Geneva Convention…it is outrageous to apologize to Iran, as reports have indicated Secretary Kerry did. Instead of kowtowing to Tehran, I call on President Obama to keep sanctions on Iran and to abandon his plan to provide this radical regime with over $100 billion in sanctions relief.”
Sullivan (R-AK) 1/13: “In the aftermath of ten U.S. sailors being taken hostage and then released by the Iranians, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed ‘gratitude to Iranian authorities for their cooperation.' Expressing gratitude—after Iran takes ten American service members hostage and publishes photos of them on their knees—sends the wrong message to the world and our allies. What about outrage? Humiliation at the hands of the Iranians has become a sad hallmark of the Obama Administration.”
Ryan (R-WI) 1/12: “Our top priority is the safety and security of our servicemembers detained by Iran. I am closely monitoring the situation, and I hope the president will soon update the American people. As we gather tonight for the State of the Union, let us pause to thank all the brave men and women around the world working to protect this great country.”
Sanchez (D-CA) 1/12: “Iran must release our U.S. Navy sailors immediately. I understand that the naval crafts experienced mechanical issues which led the naval crafts into Iranian waters. However, as long as Iran continues to detain the ten U.S. sailors, it will further threaten the already fragile relations between the U.S. and Iran: specifically the recently signed Iran nuclear deal. Congress needs to be briefed as soon as possible on the details of this incident and how the U.S. will secure the safe return of our sailors. Transparency from the administration about how this incident was able to happen will allow us to determine how to proceed with Iran going forward.”
Cotton (R-AR) 1/13: “…The administration's statements today regarding Iran's actions at sea are disappointing, but not surprising."
Cotton (R-AR) 1/12: Obama Should Threaten Consequences to Secure Immediate Release of U.S. Sailors [the fact that he secured their release without threats? See above.]
Roskam (R-IL) 1/13: Roskam Condemns Iran’s Detention of American Sailors
Fleming (R-LA) 1/13: Sailor Hostage Situation Latest Obama Coverup?
Ayotte (R-NH) 1/12: Urging the Obama Administration to demand the immediate release by Iran of U.S. servicemen and concluding, “Given Iran's actions, it is unthinkable that the administration would lift sanctions and permit Iran to receive billions of dollars in sanctions relief under the nuclear agreement, even as the regime brazenly violates its international obligations and rushes to develop the ballistic missile capability to deliver a potential nuclear weapon to the United States.”
DeSantis (R-FL) 1/12: “President Obama is scheduled to address our nation and will no doubt tell the American people that his nuclear deal with Iran was a success, yet just today ten of our Navy sailors have been detained by the Iranian regime…”
Zeldin (R-NY) 1/13: Rep. Zeldin Meets with King of Jordan in U.S. Capitol
Colloquy managed by Coons (D-DE) 1/12, on the Senators’ recent trip to the Middle East and on JCPOA implementation, including laying out in concrete terms the achievements of the JCPOA already in terms of diminishing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. Senators also challenging the continued hold on the confirmation of Adam Szubin, arguing that the hold on the confirmation was undermining implementation of the JCPOA but also Hezbollah-related sanctions (Notably, Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev published a column 1/12 on this topic entitled, When GOP Obstructionism Trumps the Fight Against Iran and ISIS ). Participating in the colloquy were: Kaine (D-VA), Nelson (D-FL), & Booker (D-NJ) 1/12: Shaheen (D-NH) and Heitkamp, (D-ND). Responding (or coincidentally speaking immediately after, Purdue (R-GA) slammed Obama’s foreign policy, including the “dangerous Iran deal.”
Thune (R-SD) 1/12: Slamming Obama pre-SOTU, including on JCPOA, which he says “actually improves Iran's long-term prospects for developing a bomb.”
King (R-IA) 1/11: Congratulating Egypt on its democratic government (“It is a great day for Egypt, and it is a great day for liberty worldwide. It is a great day for the United States to see that there are others around the world who are inspired by our system of a representative form of government”), lionizing General Sisi (“I am convinced we can work with this man. He is a dedicated Muslim who is a peaceful leader… I believe that President el-Sisi has the skill set, the convictions, and the foundation to, one day, with the right kind of support, the support of the United States of America and the free world and the Middle East, could become the Ataturk for the world to bring about that bridge between the Muslim world and the Christian world and the West.”), and, of course, bashing Obama (“The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were seated in the front row when President Obama gave his speech at Al-Azhar University. That sent a powerful signal to the Egyptian people, a signal that the President of the United States supports the Muslim Brotherhood.”)
LaMalfa (R-CA) 1/11: “…this week the House will take up new sanctions on North Korea in response to their nuclear weapons test last week. This measure will prevent those facilitating their nuclear weapons program from entering the United States. It sanctions financial institutions and seizes assets in order to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The steps we are taking reflect the type of approach we should also be taking with Iran. Rogue states, like Iran and North Korea, cannot be trusted to respect international agreements and must be coerced into giving up their nuclear weapons ambitions. Only when Iran and North Korea feel the financial impact of our sanctions will they change course.” [Of course, some would argue that Iran did seem to feel the financial impact of international sanctions and change course, in favor of a diplomatic agreement that dramatically curbs/rolls back its nuclear program…but LaMalfa must not have heard about this].
Gohmert (R-TX) 1/11: Blathering on about radical Islam declaring war on the U.S. (President Carter’s fault), bashing Obama on Iran policy, slamming the JCPOA, etc…
Hoeven (R-ND) 1/9: Weekly GOP address, including: “As a consequence of President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, this state sponsor of terrorism will now be able to increase its oil exports at a moment when our moderate Sunni allies and their partners feel increasingly threatened by Iranian belligerence. As a result, Saudi Arabia has opened the spigot to maintain its own level of exports.”
Rubio (R-FL) 1/7: Rubio Welcomes New Sanctions Against Hezbollah, Calls For More
Kildee (D-MI) 1/7: Hekmati Family to Join Congressman Dan Kildee as Guest at State of the Union Address
Royce (R-CA) 1/7: Chairman Royce Applauds Hezbollah-Related Sanctions
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 1/7: Just as we are supposed to be looking to wind down many sanctions on Iran in the context of implementation of the JCPOA, Ros-Lehtinen has decided now, for the FIRST TIME in the decades of U.S.-Iran tensions, is calling for the creation of a “House coordinator on Iranian sanctions” to work full time to, “to help strengthen congressional oversight and coordination between the committees and ensure greater enforcement of our sanctions. This adviser would not supplant the roles of the relevant committees, but will coordinate with the committees to ensure maximum oversight and efficacy of our efforts in Congress to hold Iran accountable.”
Costello (R-PA) 1/7: “I rise to call on this administration to keep intact all existing sanctions on the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, Iran. Sanctions must remain, and closer scrutiny and more accountability by this administration on Iran's continuing illicit activity must occur. It is imperative for peace, security, and stability in the Middle East and across the globe that we do this.”
Ayotte (R-NH) and Kirk (R-IL) 1/6: “It would defy common sense and undermine the security of Americans and our allies to grant Tehran billions of dollars in sanctions relief under the nuclear agreement even as the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism brazenly violates its international obligations and rushes to develop the ballistic missile capability to deliver a potential nuclear weapon to the United States.”
Ayotte (R-NH), Burr (R-NC), Graham (R-SC), and Kirk (R-IL) 1/4: “A continued failure of the administration to impose consequences on Tehran for its ballistic missile tests, which represent a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, will confirm the dangerous perception of the regime in Iran that it can ignore its obligations with impunity and the Obama administration will do nothing. The Obama administration should impose a strong set of sanctions on Iran for its tests of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. Consistent with the legislation we introduced last month, the administration should not provide sanctions relief under the Iran nuclear agreement before Iran verifiably ends all military dimensions of its nuclear program, including the development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.”
Hoyer (D-MD) 1/2: “I am disappointed that the Administration has delayed punitive action in response to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. We are always in a sensitive moment in our dealings with Iran, and there is never a perfect time to undertake such actions. But Iran must know with certainty that violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, both inside and outside the scope of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will be met with serious consequences.”