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Ernst Co-Leads Bipartisan Effort to Unite Middle East Partners Against Iranian Maritime Threats

Recent attacks by Iran and extremist groups have threatened international maritime trade and security in the region.

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), co-chairs of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Maritime Architecture and Response to International Terrorism in the Middle East (MARITIME) Act to build on the Abraham Accords by requiring the Department of Defense to develop a strategy with partners and allies in the Middle East to counter maritime threats posed by Iran, violent extremist organizations, and criminal networks. An integrated maritime security architecture would expand U.S. intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) capabilities, as well as operational coordination in the region to defend against shared threats.


“Further security cooperation between the United States, Israel, and our partners and allies in the region will advance prosperity, counter Iran’s malign influence, and promote a more peaceful Middle East centered on the success of the Abraham Accords,” said Senator Ernst. “As violent extremists, criminal networks, and piracy activities threaten lives and lawful commerce, it’s important to the safety and security of the U.S., our servicemembers, and our partners that we encourage increased maritime cooperation, including interdiction capabilities, to deter Iran and its proxies.”


“The Abraham Accords have enabled unprecedented security cooperation between Israel and Arab partners. Recent hostile naval actions by Iran and its terrorist proxies demonstrate the significant threat that Iran poses to maritime security in the Middle East,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud to introduce legislation that would build on the Abraham Accords by strengthening maritime cooperation in the region between the U.S., Israel, and Arab partners. Now more than ever, we must work together to bolster our collective security to defend against Iranian-based threats.”


“Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, the United States has further engaged with regional partners in the Middle East to develop defense strategies and cooperation to enhance the protection of our country’s allies and interests,” said Senator Booker. “This legislation will build on such efforts by requiring the timely development of a multifaceted maritime-focused security strategy to strengthen our collective capabilities to counter shared maritime threats.”


“The Abraham Accords are essential to promoting a secure and prosperous future for the Middle East and North Africa, which ultimately strengthens our national security and our work with allies,” said Senator Lankford. “We should continue to utilize the Accords to strengthen and expand our defense and national security capabilities on the ground, in the air, and at sea. I’m glad to join my fellow Abraham Accords Caucus members to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between the US, Israel, and Arab partners in the maritime domain. Iran and its proxies remain a significant and growing threat in the region, and we must make sure we stay ready to keep Americans and our allies safe and all our international trade routes open.”



Last Congress, Senator Ernst led her Senate Abraham Accords Caucus co-chairs in introducing, and passing into law, the bipartisan, bicameral Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act which requires the Department of Defense to develop a strategy to establish an air and missile defense architecture with Israel and other Middle East allies to protect the region from attacks by Iran and Iran-backed extremist groups.