WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, joined Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) in an effort that would enable Congress to approve—or block—any effort by the administration to suspend or terminate U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime.
“Returning to the old ways of Obama-era foreign policy, or just simply trying to do the opposite of the previous administration for the sake of political interests, is the wrong answer for the safety of the American people. Iran – a state sponsor of terrorism that continues to be a serious threat – may want relief from the sanctions that have served a serious blow to their economy, but Congress must have a say before any action is taken to lift these sanctions,” said Senator Ernst, the first female combat veteran in the U.S. Senate.
Even as the Iranian regime continues to support terrorism, regional militancy, missile proliferation, cyber-attacks, and other forms of aggression—including rocket attacks by Iran-backed militias targeting U.S. forces in Iraq—the Biden Administration last week indicated that it wants to negotiate with Tehran to relieve sanctions on the Iranian regime and reenter the flawed nuclear deal.
The Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act of 2021 builds on the precedent of a 2017 bipartisan law that empowers Congress to vote to support or block Russian sanctions relief, and applies identical congressional review procedure to any future Iran sanctions relief. In effect, the legislation would prevent the administration from rolling back sanctions in exchange for advancing negotiations or reentering the deal without first securing strong congressional support.
Following the U.S. strike in Syria that was reported last night, Ernst said that Iran’s aggression must be countered with a strong, decisive response and that the United States cannot afford to pivot to a weak policy against Iran, like another failed nuclear deal.
Earlier this week, following reports that Iran is requesting South Korea and Japan to unfreeze a billion dollars in Iranian assets if the United States approves, Ernst called on President Biden to stand up and make it crystal clear that the United States says “no way” to releasing these dollars and strongly advises our partners in Asia not to give into Tehran’s request.
In addition, recently, Senator Ernst helped introduced a resolution expressing opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and urging President Biden to work with Congress and refuse to re-join the deal without significant reform.
Finally, Senator Ernst penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner calling on the Biden administration to make a top priority of keeping our nation and the world safe from the threat of Iranian nuclear missiles and urging President Biden to look at the Iranian threat as it exists today, not during his time in the Obama Administration.