Says U.S. must stand firm and impose consequences on Iran for illicit ballistic missile tests
CHATTANOOGA – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement today regarding reports of the Obama administration backing away from plans earlier this week to impose sanctions on a number of Iranians and entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Corker has been pressing the administration to hold Iran accountable for its repeated illicit ballistic missile tests that violate existing U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.
“This morning, I reached out to the Obama administration to express my deep concern about reports it is stepping back from imposing sanctions related to Iran’s illicit ballistic missile activities,” said Corker. “I worry that the issues we raised about the Iran nuclear deal during hearings last year are coming true. I fear that pressure from our ‘partners’—or threats from the Iranian government that it will walk away from the deal or threaten the U.S. in other ways—have caused the administration to rethink imposing sanctions for Iran’s violations of the testing ban.
“I hope these concerns are not valid and that the administration will immediately move ahead, full throttle, so Iran will understand that the U.S. will stand firm against its violations and other nefarious activities in the region,” added Corker. “If our administration cannot impose consequences for ballistic missile launches now, when sanctions and a clear U.N. ban are still in place, I have no confidence it will enforce the JCPOA or penalize future launches when sanctions are lifted.”
The Obama administration and a report provided to the U.N. Security Council both confirmed Iran’s October 10 ballistic missile test violated UNSC Resolution 1929. In October, Senator Corker, along with committee members Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry seeking a determination on the ballistic missile test and how the U.S. would respond. The State Department’s response asserted U.S. authority and precedent for imposing unilateral penalties for Iran’s missile-related activities. Iran conducted a second illicit ballistic missile test on November 21. So far the administration has not taken such action despite acknowledging Iran’s violation of the UNSC resolution.