Opposition to Iran Mounts in Congress

by Lara Friedman

[As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran.]

Bills, Resolutions, & Letters

(BLOCK IRAN’S ACCESS TO US FINANCIAL SYSTEM/DOLLARS/SANCTIONS) S. 2752: Introduced 4/6 by Rubio (R-FL) and Kirk (R-IL), “A bill to prohibit the facilitation of certain financial transactions involving the Government of Iran or Iranian persons and to impose sanctions with respect to the facilitation of those transactions, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  Rubio press release on the bill is here; Kirk press release is here. This bill comes in the wake of reports about possible readiness by the Obama Administration to facilitate such transactions – reports that have generated a great deal of Congressional pushback (see Section 2, below). It also comes on heels of a Rubio/Kirk letter letter sent 3/30 to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (discussed below).

(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 2756: Introduced by Rounds (R-SD) and no cosponsors, “A bill to impose sanctions with respect to Iranian persons responsible for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Rounds’ press release is here.

(BLOCK IRAN’S ACCESS TO US FINANCIAL SYSTEM/DOLLARS/SANCTIONS) S. 2757: Introduced by Sullivan (R-AK) and no cosponsors, “A bill to prohibit certain transactions with Iran and to impose sanctions with respect to foreign financial institutions that facilitate such transactions, and for other purposes.” Referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. This bill comes in the wake of reports about possible readiness by the Obama Administration to facilitate such transactions – reports that have generated a great deal of Congressional pushback (see Section 2, below).

(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) S .Res. 414: Introduced 4/6 by Lankford (R-OK) and no cosponsors, “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate on the actions, including the reapplication of waived nuclear-related sanctions, that the United Statesshould undertake in the event of an Iranian violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Lankford’s press release is here.


(IRAN & US DOLLARS/BANKS) Hensarling letter: On 4/1, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew expressing alarm at “reports that the Obama Administration may be considering options to facilitate use of the U.S. dollar in transactions involving Iran. Such actions would violate the spirit, and potentially the letter, of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).” The letter notes that Treasury has not briefed the Committee on anything related to this, and requests that, Lew “provide the Committee by April 8, 2016 all details regarding Administration plans or efforts to enable the U.S. dollar’s use in transactions related to Iran.” The letter closes, noting: “Your response will inform the Committee’s course of action on this matter.”

(IRAN BALLISTIC MISSILE TESTS) Zeldin-Pompeo-Roskam letter: On 3/31, Reps. Zeldin (R-NY), Pompeo (R-KS), and Roskam (R-IL) sent a letter last week to Secretary of State John Kerry, requesting information (and responses to four specific) on the Obama administration’s (in the words of the press release) “delayed and weak response to Iran’s multiple ballistic missile tests on March 8, 2016 and March 9, 2016.” The letter closes with the extraordinary accusation: “We are troubled by reports that the administration is stifling voices within its ranks for stronger action against Ira – putting the JCPOA and political legacy above the safety and security of the American people.”

(IRAN & US DOLLARS/BANKS) Rubio-Kirk letterOn 3/30, Senators Rubio (R-FL) and Kirk (R-IL) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew expressing alarm at “news reports suggesting the Administration is working to give Iran access to theU.S. financial system or to dollar transactions outside of the U.S. financial system.” The letter requests assurances that this will not be permitted to happen. Press release here.

(US $$$ FOR ETHIOPIAN CITIZENS OF ISRAEL?) Hastings/Murphy letterAs reported previously in the Round-Up, in late February, Reps. Hastings (D-TX) and Murphy (D-FL) circulated a Dear Colleague seeking cosigners on a letter to the Appropriations Committee ForOps Subcommittee chair and ranking member – Granger (R-TX) and Lowey (D-NY), respectively. The letter asks them to include in the FY17 ForOps report language (accompanying the ForOps bill) a recommendation that the State Department provide $12 million in ESF funding “for the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) and its mission of advancing the integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society.” As noted in that Round-Up, the U.S. does not provide ESF to Israel (which ranks 33rd on the list of wealthiest countries), so these funds would come out of the small pot of un-earmarked ESF funding available in the annual ForOps bill. According to a 3/29 press release, the letter was ultimately sent on 3/22 with 17 signers total. 

(KEEP NUCLEAR MATERIAL AWAY FROM BAD GUYS) Cantwell et al letter: On 3/28, Senators Cantwell (D-WA), Franken (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), Merkley (D-OR), Murray (D-WA) and Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to President Obama with a list of objectives for consideration at that week’s nuclear summit in Washington. The letter notes, among other things, that the JCPOA “contains several innovative provisions that could be applied for a longer period to Iran if pursued on a regional and global basis…” Press release is here.

($$ FOR P2P PROGRAMS) Crowley et al letter: On 3/22 (not reported previously in the Round-Up), Reps. Crowley (D-NY) and Lowenthal (D-CA) sent a letter, cosigned by 32 other House members, to the Appropriations Committee ForOps Subcommittee chair and ranking member – Granger (R-TX) and Lowey (D-NY), respectively. The letter urges them to once again provide $10 million in funding “focused exclusively on people-to-people coexistence and reconciliation projects in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” as part of the FY17 ForOps bill.  The letter includes a number of concrete examples of impact that some recent grantees of such funding have achieved.

(BAN WEAPONS TO PALESTINIAN TERRORIST GROUPS) Moulton-Kinzinger letter: On 3/18 (not previously reported in the Round-Up), Reps. Moulton (D-MA) and Kinzinger (R-IL) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging him to work toward a new UN Security Council resolution to ban weapons transfers to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations. The letter had 39 cosigners (bipartisan). Press release is here 

(MORE VISAS FOR ISRAELIS) Meng letter: On 3/7 (not previously reported, Rep. Meng (D-NY) sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry thanking him for “the State Department’s dramatic decrease in refusal rates when processing Israeli national visas.” Press release (dated 3/30) is here. Meng had previously complained about the high refusal rate. And, indeed, the refusal rates have reportedly dropped dramatically. What is bizarre about this episode is that according to the U.S. regulationsgoverning the adjudication of non-immigrant visas, such visa issuance decision should not in any way be subject to political pressure/considerations, except insofar as there might be information about a specific applicant that the duly sworn consular officer could consider it making a decision about whether that specific applicant could overcome the presumption (stated explicitly under the regulations) that said applicant is an immigrant (and therefore does not qualify for tourist visa).

(LEAHY LAW & ISRAEL/EGYPT) Leahy et al letter: In a letter dated 2/17 (reported in the media on 3/30), Sen. Leahy (D-VT) and 10 House members sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging the State Department to examine specific reports about activities of security forces in  Israel and Egypt and determine if they are credible and whether they trigger the “Leahy Law,” barring provision of U.S. military assistance to specific units in a foreign military that “has committed a gross violation of human rights.” The report of the letter drew a harsh public rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, to which Leahy responded with a statement on 3/30:  Senator Patrick Leahy Responds To Prime Minister Netanyahu About The Worldwide Application Of The ‘Leahy Law’. News of the letter (which does not appear to have been made public by the Congressional signers) sparked a heated debate within the Senate, as reported here: Senate Battle Erupts Over Charges Israel Violates Human Rights (The Forward, 4/4 – note that the “battle” boils down to the reaction of a single senator, Cardin, D-MD).

New Front in the Iran Battle: Access to US Financial System/US Dollars

A new front has opened up in the battle over Iran in Congress – a front that so far is showing great promise for those who wish to challenge and undermine the JCPOA. This battle centers on whether, as part of implementation of the JCPOA, which included removal of certain nuclear-focused US sanctions, the Obama Administration is considering loosening up restrictions to enable Iran to conduct some business in U.S. dollars (absent such a move, removal of sanctions on doing business with Iran will continue to have limited economic effect). See Section 1 (above) for legislation and letters already introduced on the issue. Also, see this explainer from NIAC arguing why such a move should not be considered a concession, but rather is part of the U.S. fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA.

From day 1 it appears that this story has been marketed – and outrage over it stoked –  largely by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (which got in early and to a great degree defined the debate around the issue with a 3/27 oped in the Wall Street Journal, and whose experts are widely quoted in articles criticizing any such move), and the Israel Project (with its regular email newsletter, regular emails from TIP’s Omri Ceren sent to journalists and pundits essentially offering up talking points, and regular reports in its “Tower” magazine, including here and here – all often citing FDD for expert validation).

AIPAC, for its part, weighed in 4/7 with a bipartisan list of member statements opposing such a move, but without coming out with a direct position of its own. A similar list compiled for this Round-Up (before AIPAC helpfully posted its own – if only they had posted it sooner!) is included below:

Cotton (R-AR) 4/7: “If the President moves to grant Iran access to the U.S. dollar–whether directly or indirectly–there will be consequences. If there is any statement, guidance, regulation, or Executive action that opens the U.S. banking sector to Iraneven a crack, the Senate will hold hearings with each official who assured the American people last summer that the ayatollahs would never access the dollar. We will explore whether they lied back then or whether they intend to resign in protest now. If this policy change moves forward, I will dedicate myself to working with my colleagues to pass legislation blocking the change. If the Obama administration proceeds with this massive concession to the ayatollahs, every Member of the Senate who voted to accept the Iranian deal will have to go home and explain why the U.S. economy is now complicit in Iran’s financing of terrorist attacks against Americans and American allies.”

Bennett (D-CO) 4/6: “The American financial system is central to our efforts to counter terrorism financing and illegal trade. The Treasury Department should not allow Iran to conduct business with the U.S. dollar. At a time when Iran is funding terrorism across the region, pursuing a destabilizing ballistic missile program, and threatening Israel’s existence, the Administration should not consider allowing it access to our financial system.”

Napolitano (D-CA) 4/6: “The reports that the Treasury Department might allow offshore banking sites to swap the Iranian rial for U.S. dollars are deeply concerning. Iran’s behavior since the implementation of the Nuclear Arms Deal illustrates what we feared: that Iran cannot be trusted to abide by the agreement. Iran continues to build up its cyber warfare capabilities, fund terrorism against our ally Israel, test-fire ballistic missiles, and violate human rights. Allowing Iran to access the U.S. dollar would be seen as additional concessions and rewarding poor behavior. Iran does not deserve this benefit, which I am worried could be used to further finance global terror. I look forward to hearing from the Administration on the full details of this proposal, but I would expect the U.S. Government to enforce what has been laid out in the Nuclear Arms Deal.

Royce (R-CA) 4/6: Oped in Washington Post: The United States must not aid and abet Iranian money laundering

Zeldin (R-NY) 4/5: “It is a bad idea to provide Iran access to the U.S. dollar, which is currently blocked through sanctions. Other nations do not process transactions with Iran, because they do not want to be cut off from the U.S. market. Our financial system provides critical leverage to hold countries like Iran accountable for their actions. Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. Providing Iran with access to the dollar would only boost Iran’s destabilizing criminal activities. This latest action by the Obama Administration demonstrates a continued weakness on the part of the United States to give in to Iranian demands.”

Donnelly (D-IN) 4/5: “I have always believed that the success of the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Agreement) depends on rigorous monitoring and enforcement, and I remain committed to ensuring that Iran maintains its commitments under the agreement.  So long as Iran continues to finance terrorism and advance its ballistic missile program, I will work to maintain current policies that prevent Iran from using the U.S. financial system. I look forward to being briefed by Treasury on any changes to USpolicy or guidance offered to our international partners regarding compliance with the JCPOA.”

Cotton (R-AR) 4/4: “…the face of Iran’s continued aggression, the Obama administration has displayed only weakness. So intense is his fear that the ayatollahs will rip up the Iran agreement that President Obama has completely disfigured U.S.strategy in the Middle East to the point where adversaries are allies and allies are adversaries. And if reports that he will grant Iran access to the U.S. banking system are true, he would not only be declaring Iran truly ‘open for business,’ but would also render the United States complicit in the ayatollahs’ financing of terrorism and regional instability. One year of an emboldened Iran is enough. The United States should maintain Iran’s isolation from the U.S. banking sector, immediately take action to restore other sanctions related to terrorism and human rights violations, and clamp down on Iran’s illicit weapons shipments.”

Hensarling (R-TX) 4/1: “…I can assure the Obama Administration that any effort to grant such access to the terrorist-sponsoring, human-rights-abusing, ballistic-missile-testing Islamic Republic of Iran will be met by the highest level of scrutiny from our committee…”

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 4/1: Press release: “Pathetic and Dangerous: What Ros-Lehtinen Calls Obama Potentially Granting Iran Access to U.S. Financial System

Dold (R-IL) 4/1: “It is outrageous that the Administration is going back on its word and now considering allowing Iran access to the U.S. financial system. This unilateral concession, which amounts to a new and significant form of sanctions relief, goes well beyond the scope of what was even permitted in the misguided Iran nuclear deal and shows just how vulnerable the agreement has left the United States to Iran’s endless protestations.”

Lance (R-NJ) 4/1: “I am deeply troubled by reports that the Obama Administration may provide Iran with access to the U.S. financial system.  Anti-terrorism and financial crimes enforcement from around the globe continue to warn that Iran would pose a threat to the United States if itwere allowed to use our financial system. As Iran continues to violate U.N. Security Council-passed resolutions with illicit ballistic missile tests, the Obama Administration is seemingly going out of its way to help Tehrangain access to the international financial system and the use of the U.S. dollar. President Obama should abandon this dangerous idea immediately.”

Pompeo (R-KS) 4/1: “It is unconscionable that President Obama is reportedly sidestepping American law with dramatic steps that put U.S. banks at risk and undermine the integrity of the international financial system—all without informing Congress…”

Hoyer (D-MD) 3/31: “…I want to make clear my concerns that the Administration had indicated that there would be no further concessions beyond those specifically negotiated and briefed to Congress.  I do not support granting Iran any new relief without a corresponding concession.  We lose leverage otherwise, and Iran receives something for free.  Only when Iranian banks fully absolve themselves of involvement in terror financing and missile procurement, when Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps ceases its saber-rattling against America’s allies, and Iran’s leadership ends its despicable threats against Israel and the Jewish people – only then, perhaps, should the international community consider additional steps with regard to Iran’s reintegration into the global economy beyond concessions pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  Until such a time, I think we ought to go no further than fulfilling only our obligations as laid out in the JCPOA, and I look forward to being briefed on what the Administration has planned.”

McCarthy (R-CA) 3/31: “I am deeply troubled by reports that the Administration may provide Iran with access to the U.S. financial system, either directly or through some offshore mechanism…This all seems to stem from Iranian displeasure with the lack of foreign investment following the nuclear deal—which is a direct result of the nature of the regime and its actions abroad in the non-nuclear space. The Administration needs to stop bending over backwards to satisfy the Ayatollahs.”

Members of Congress Descend on Israel

As is often the case during a Congressional recess, but perhaps never more so than in an election year, many members of Congress visit Israel – and then post pictures and issue press releases about their trips. Below is a selection of posts from member websites documenting the latest round of visits (i.e., March through the first week of April).

Donnelly (D-IN) 4/5: Donnelly Highlights Congressional Delegation to Middle East on Missile Defense Oversight

Ryan (R-WI) 4/5: In Israel, Ryan Delegation Meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Speaker Edelstein to

Discuss Strategic Alliance, Security Threats (“The first head of state I met with since becoming speaker was President Rivlin. This is also the first trip I took as speaker and it’s not by coincidence, it was by design.”)

Ryan (R-WI) 4/5: Speaker Ryan on Hugh Hewitt [from Israel]: ‘Israel Is One of Our Most Important Allies’

McCaskill (D-M) 4/5: McCaskill, Stabenow, Tsongas, Davis Return from National Security Oversight Travel (“Delegation received updates on enforcement of Iran nuclear accord & terrorism threat in Europe, talked with Jordanian officials managing Syrian refugee crisis & refugees themselves, questioned military personnel fighting ISIS, and met with Israeli Prime Minister”)

Tsongas (D-MA) 4/5: Tsongas statement on national security oversight trip to Jordan, Israel, Austria (“Our delegation is grateful to the Prime Minister for taking time to meet with us. We all felt it was important on several levels to meet with him, not least of which was to reiterate the strong support we have for Israel… We had a productive conversation with the Prime Minister that covered several regional and international security matters, as well as future U.S. / Israeli partnerships. Prime Minister Netanyahu made it clear that he understands the JCPOA is now a matter of fact and that Israel is committed to its implementation, holding Iran’s feet to the fire. This is an agreement that cannot be based on trust; it must be based on verification.”

Ryan (R-WI) 4/3: Ryan Delegation Arrives in Israel [Delegation: Speaker Ryan (R-WI); Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Turner (R-OH), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Tactical Air &  Land Forces; Meeks (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats; Kind (D-WI), Member of the House Ways and Means Committee; Noem (R-SD), Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Hurd (R-TX), Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security

Ryan (D-OH) 3/30: Congressman Tim Ryan Meets with Israel PM Netanyahu, Tours Missile Defense Sites in Israel

Kinzinger (R-IL) 3/30: In Israel, Rep. Kinzinger Meets Prime Minister Netanyahu [Delegation: led by Sen. Graham (R-SC) & Kinzinger, plus Rep. Perdue (R-GA), Sen. Tillis (R-NC), Rep. Jolly (R-FL), and Rep. Rice (R-SC)].

Ruppersberger (D-MD) 3/30: Ruppersberger Meets with PM Netanyahu, Tours Missile Defense Sites in Israel

Donnolly (D-IN) 3/30: Donnelly Meets with PM Netanyahu, Tours Missile Defense Sites in Israel, leading delegation

Jolly (R-FL) 3/29: U.S. Rep. David Jolly meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [“…Following his consultation with Netanyahu, Jolly, in an unprecedented move, called for dramatically increasing the current U.S. foreign military assistance program to Israel from $3.1 billion annually to $5 billion.]

Cardin (D-MD) 3/26: Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Visits Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Israel [Delegation: Cardin (D-MD), Gardner (R-CO), Markey (D-MA), and Merkley (D-OR)]

Gardner (R-CO) 3/26: Gardner Concludes Congressional Delegation Trip to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel


4/13: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa will hold a hearing entitled, “Assessing President Obama’s Middle East and North Africa FY 2017 Budget Request.” Scheduled witnesses so far are: Anne W. Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; and Paige Alexander, Assistant USAID Administrator for the Middle East.

4/5: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing entitled, “Recent Iranian Actions and Implementation of the Nuclear Deal.” The only witness was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon (testimony). Video of the hearing is here; podcast version is here. Chairman Corker’s (R-TN) opening statement is here. Following the hearing Corker issued a press release: “Corker: Obama Administration Commitments on Iran Not Squaring with Reality; Senator Emphasizes Need for New Sanctions Authority to Pushback against Iran’s Repeated Ballistic Missile Violations and Other Illicit Behavior.” Rubio also is a press release: “Rubio Stumps State Dept. About Iran’s Access To U.S. Dollars, Holds Treasury Nominees Until He Gets Answers.” Gardner (R-CO) also issued a press release: “Gardner Questions Obama Administration Policy on Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program.” Perdue (R-GA) also issued a press release: Senator David Perdue Probes State Department Over Recent Iranian Missile Launches

On the Record

Ryan (R-WI) 4/7: Ryan Delegation Reaches Jordan and Meets with King Abdullah

Ryan (R-WI) 4/7: Continuing the Dialogue with Regional Security Partners, Ryan Delegation Travels to Riyadh

Cornyn (R-TX) 4/6: Slamming the JCPOA and the Obama Admin, and supporting new Iran sanctions legislation (excerpt: “the Founding Fathers gave the Congress some tools to be able to help when the Chief Executive of the country seems to be without any particular direction or without a particular strategy. The Senate can play an active role in holding the administration accountable and putting forth a strategy to help keep us safe. For example, yesterday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to discuss Iran’s recent transgressions. I am glad the chairman of that committee, Senator Corker, and the ranking member, Senator Cardin, are working together on a bipartisan basis on legislation to levy more comprehensive sanctions on the Iranian regime to make up for what should have been done in the Iran nuclear deal but was essentially ignored…The administration has made clear that it simply doesn’t have much interest in holding Iran accountable. They seem now absolutely nervous about doing anything that Iran might use as an excuse to walk away from the nuclear deal, which they could do on a moment’s notice, meanwhile keeping the benefits they have already gotten from this deal; namely, the billions of dollars in sanctions relief.  I hope the Senate will move forward on this legislation soon. Our allies and our friends need to know that if the President will not stand by them and challenge our adversaries, Congress will.”

Coons (D-DE) 4/6: Raising concerns about Iran’s behavior (excerpt: “The imposition of further sanctions, the levying of criminal charges, and the successful interdiction of weapons all show that the international community has an array of tools to push back against Iran. But just having the tools is not enough. We must continue to take action, and when multilateral mechanisms fail, Congress should work on a bipartisan basis to see what new tools or authorities we can give the administration to further crack down on Iran unilaterally…   In the months and years to come, we must make clear to Iran not just that we will not waiver in enforcing the terms of the JCPOA, but also that our commitment to a successful nuclear agreement will not prevent us from taking action when Iran’s bad behavior warrants it.”)

Deutch (D-FL) 4/6: On Twitter – “Proud of Florida for passing #SB86 to oppose businesses engaged in BDS. Boycotting #Israel not in our values as Americans or Floridians.” [Note: This bill explicitly conflates settlements and Israel.]

Toomey (R-PA) 4/5: Toomey: End Administration Inaction Towards Iranian Terrorism (in support of S. 2726)

Cotton (R-AR) 4/4: Statement on the Reduction of the U.S. Stockpile of Nuclear Material (excerpt: “While President Obama refuses to adequately maintain our nuclear forces, Russia flagrantly violates the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Agreement. And while the president utters lofty words of a ‘world without nuclear weapons,’ Iran forces him into a deal that paves the way for the ayatollahs to obtain those very weapons.”)

Cardin (D-MD) 4/3: From the JTA – “Caught between White House and its critics, Sen. Ben Cardin pledges to renew Iran sanctions”

Toomey (R-PA) 4/1: U.N. Condemnation of Israel Endangers Women Around the World (background here)

Roskam (R-IL) 4/1: Oped in the Wall Street Journal, “Don’t Be So Quick to Do Business With Iran: The U.S. Congress will use all the tools at its disposal to name and shame those who pursue profit at the expense of innocent lives.”

Lowey (D-NY) 3/31: Lowey renews call for Munich 11 to be remembered with minute of silence at Olympics

Coons (D-DE) 3/31: Oped in the Hill – “To make the Iran Deal work, we need to fund the world’s nuclear watchdog”

Royce (R-CA) 3/30: Chairman Royce Statement on Tomorrow’s Nuclear Security Summit (excerpt: “…the president’s deeply flawed deal with Iran has legitimized the supreme leader’s nuclear program – even as Iran advances its ballistic missile program and continues to support terrorism.  This in turn encourages other countries to construct their own programs.  Instead of making the world less dangerous, the administration has set the stage for a nuclear free-for-all, with dire consequences for U.S. national security.”)

Corker (R-TN) 3/30: Lack of UN Security Council Action on Iran Defies Assurances from Obama Administration

Deutch (D-FL) 3/28: On Twitter – “Last week @UN_HRC voted to denigrate Israel & support the BDS movement, continuing its shameful pattern of anti-Israel obsession” [Note: The UNHRC resolution in question pertains specifically to Israeli settlement policy and companies working in settlements – NOT Israel or BDS]

Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 3/25: UN Human Rights Council Marks 10th Anniversary With 5 Anti-Israel Measures; Ros-Lehtinen Labels Measures Disgraceful, Calls on Obama Administration to Respond, Hold Abu Mazen and UNHRC Accountable

Ratcliffe (R-TX) 3/25: Iranian Cyberattacks against U.S. Confirm Threat

Engel (D-NY) 3/25: press release on new Iran sanctions (excerpt: “”The Administration is doing the right thing by imposing new sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic-missile program and support for terrorism.”)

Photo: Tom Cotton (R-AR) by Michael Vadon via Flickr


Lara Friedman

Lara Friedman is the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP). With more than 25 years working in the Middle East foreign policy arena, Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular expertise on the Israeli-Arab conflict, Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and the role of the U.S. Congress. She is published widely in the U.S. and international press and is regularly consulted by members of Congress and their staffs, by Washington-based diplomats, by policy-makers in capitals around the world, and by journalists in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to her work at FMEP, Lara is a non-resident fellow at the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP). Prior to joining FMEP, Lara was the director of policy and government relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service; in addition to English, Lara speaks French, Arabic, Spanish, (weak) Italian, and muddles through in Hebrew.



  1. I wonder why Iranians are losing confidence in the U.S. The sad part of it is that such measures will not stop other signatories to the JCPOA from engaging with Iran. They will only prevent U.S. firms from benefitting from the Iranian market, creating more hostility between Iranians and Americans and pushing Iran further to the arms of Russia and China. It is a self-defeating policy.

  2. Keep it up, Congress. You should soon have enough excuses to sell yet another Middle East war to the American public (not to mention piss off four of the P5+1).

  3. Foolish American politicians, trying to wreck the nuclear deal with Iran. What a surprise.

  4. It’s Rubio and some other rednecks Dialing for AIPAC dollars.

  5. The pre-revolution and some of the post revolution generations in Iran are reminiscing about the good old days and the good relationship between the US and Iran! Unfortunately the older generation is rapidly disappearing and the post revolution generations are under tremendous internal pressures applied by the regime in Iran simply by using propaganda! The regime propaganda messages to the post revolution generations is simple “you can not trust the US under any circumstances”. it appears that the US congress is helping the regime in Iran to win their internal battle! So when the hell the US congress is going to learn that the regime in Iran doesn’t give a damn (sh&t) about what US thinks or decides to do any longer! So the message to the US congress is to quit acting childish and stupid which only gives more support to the regime in Iran if you really intend to win hearts and minds of Iranian people!

Comments are closed.