WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement in response to the release of Americans that were held in custody in Iran and the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement.
“While I am delighted that our citizens who have been unjustly held in Iran will be released back to the United States and reunited with their families, we need to understand more fully all the details and implications of this arrangement, including its timing,” said Corker. “With Iran possessing one of the world’s worst records for human rights, we must continue to hold Iran’s leaders accountable for their repressive policies.”
The four imprisoned U.S. citizens released included Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian; Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine; Saeed Abedini, a pastor; and Nosratollah Khosrawi as part of a prisoner swap. A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, who had been detained also was released separately according to the administration.
In addition to the release of the U.S. citizens, the administration announced implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement. Corker coauthored the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Public Law No: 114-17) that mandated congressional review of the agreement. Last year, he voted multiple times for a resolution of disapproval that would have blocked the agreement, but Senate Democrats prevented the legislation from passing the Senate. The Iran nuclear deal is not binding on the United States, so a future president will be able to reevaluate U.S. participation.
“Today cannot be the beginning of the United States and Europe turning a blind eye to the troubling threat of a nuclear-armed Iran,” said Corker. “I opposed this flawed agreement, and fear its implementation shifts the leverage to Iran as sanctions are lifted in exchange for only limited and temporary restrictions, allowing Iran to industrialize its nuclear enrichment capability after a decade. Now armed with an initial windfall of more than $100 billion, Iran will have vast new resources to continue sponsoring terrorism, threatening its neighbors, and funding its nuclear and missile programs. The U.S. and our European partners must impose swift and immediate consequences for any violations or acts of Iranian aggression to ensure Tehran will not use the deal as cover to advance its dangerous activities.”
Corker added, “The Senate Foreign Relations Committee already is involved in a vigorous oversight process and is considering legislative proposals to ensure Iran continues to be held accountable. We will use all the tools provided by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to quickly impose new sanctions should Iran breach the terms of the agreement.”