Cotton Leads GOP Warning to Biden Against Iran Sanctions Relief
(Bloomberg) -- Senator Tom Cotton and more than 40 other Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution Wednesday opposing any move to lift sanctions on Iran, underscoring the resistance the Biden administration will face in trying to get back into the 2015 nuclear accord.
The resolution “rejects and opposes the reapplication of sanctions relief for Iran” and expresses disapproval of any move to reverse a ban that keeps Iran from accessing the U.S. financial system, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg News.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has vowed not to ease sanctions on Iran until it returns to compliance with the multinational accord that former President Donald Trump abandoned. But the U.S. has offered to meet with Iran under the auspices of the five other nations that joined in crafting the nuclear agreement. So far, Iran has spurned the offer.
“The U.S. must maintain sanctions on the Iranian regime until it abandons its nuclear ambitions and ends its support for violence and terror around the region,” the resolution’s House and Senate sponsors say in a statement. “Iran took advantage of weak policies during the Obama administration, and President Biden must not repeat those same mistakes.”
The resolution is largely symbolic and stands little chance of passage given that Democrats control both chambers of Congress. Nonetheless, it’s a warning to both the Biden administration and Iran that circumventing Congress would only jeopardize any future agreement.
In that respect, it echoes a letter Cotton, Arkansas’s junior senator, initiated before the accord was completed under President Barack Obama in 2015, warning Iran that the next American president could revoke it -- as Trump did. Cotton has remained one of the nuclear deal’s most persistent critics.
Like the original Iran accord, any renewed agreement would be unlikely to be offered as a treaty that would require a two-thirds vote of approval in the Senate.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.