Bipartisan Group of Senators Make Case for Comprehensive Diplomatic Approach Towards Iran in New Letter to President Biden
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and 40 Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden outlining the pillars of a comprehensive diplomatic Iran strategy that will garner bipartisan support in Congress.
“While we may have differing views on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015 and the overall approach of the Trump Administration’s maximum pressure campaign, we must confront the reality that Iran has accelerated its nuclear activity in alarming ways including increasing its centrifuge research and production and enriching uranium up to 20 percent,” wrote the Senators. “Iran should have no doubt about America’s policy. Democrats and Republicans may have tactical differences, but we are united on preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing the wide range of illicit Iranian behavior.”
Recognizing the Biden administration’s positive engagement with Congress thus far, and building off the Abraham Accords, the senators urged the president to consult with allies and security partners on a path forward to address national security concerns beyond Tehran’s nuclear program, including the prioritization of human rights and the release of American citizens unjustly detained in Iran.
Joining Senators Risch, Menendez, and Graham in signing the letter were Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Angus King (I-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).
A copy of the letter can be found here and below:
Dear President Biden,
We write to reaffirm the long-held view of Congress and presidents from both parties that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a grave threat to U.S. national security interests and our allies and partners.
While we may have differing views on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of 2015 and the overall approach of the Trump Administration’s maximum pressure campaign, we must confront the reality that Iran has accelerated its nuclear activity in alarming ways including increasing its centrifuge research and production and enriching uranium up to 20 percent.
We further agree that outside of its nuclear program, Iran continues to pose a threat to U.S. and international security through exporting arms, including highly accurate missiles, supporting Shia militias that target U.S. service members, and supporting terrorist organizations and other malign actors throughout the region. We also remain concerned about Iran’s continued human rights abuses of its own citizens and the increasing size and capabilities of its ballistic and cruise missile programs.
Looking ahead, we strongly believe that you should use the full force of our diplomatic and economic tools in concert with our allies on the United Nations Security Council and in the region to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and meaningfully constrains its destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and its ballistic missile program. We are obviously incredibly concerned about threats to U.S. persons and assets in Iraq and elsewhere in the region as well as attacks on important U.S. security partners.
We believe it is critical you consult with our European allies, Israel, and Gulf security partners on a path forward with Iran. The recent Abraham Accords provides hope that our partners and allies can work together to further regional cooperation.
Finally, we believe it is critically important to prioritize the release of all American citizens unjustly detained in Iran, including Baquer Namazi, Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, and Emad Shargi.
We appreciate the engagement your administration has had thus far with Congress and hope and expect this kind of transparency to continue. Iran should have no doubt about America’s policy. Democrats and Republicans may have tactical differences, but we are united on preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing the wide range of illicit Iranian behavior. We look forward to working with you to achieve these objectives.
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