WASHINGTON – At the first oversight hearing on expected implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned that the Obama administration’s failure to impose consequences for Iran’s violation of an international ban on ballistic missile testing sets a dangerous precedent for enforcement of the nuclear deal. Today’s hearing featured testimony from Obama administration officials with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Energy who are responsible for implementation of the nuclear agreement.
"One area that we all agree on is the need to be tough on any destabilizing or illegal action by Iran. With that view in mind, I think the agreement is off to a really terrible start," said Corker. "Failure to impose any consequences on Iran for its violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions and other destabilizing actions sets a dangerous precedent before implementation of the nuclear agreement, when sanctions are lifted and the leverage shifts to Iran."
The Obama administration and a report provided to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have 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. So far the administration has not taken such action despite reports of a second ballistic missile test in November.
Today Senator Corker detailed a number of Iran’s hostile acts since the nuclear deal was reached including the conviction of captive Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, cyber-attacks against the State Department, defiance of a U.N. travel ban when Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani visited Russia, export of weapons to Syria and Yemen, violations of the ballistic missile testing ban, and attempts to cover up military dimensions of their nuclear program, which was confirmed by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.
"I realize not all of those issues are covered by the Iran agreement, but they all relate to our relationship with Iran," Corker said. "And it’s very evident that they are taking a very different tack I think than many administration officials thought would be the case after the agreement was agreed to."
For complete footage and witness testimony from today’s hearing click here.