Congressional Republicans have unveiled what they say is the largest package of sanctions against Iran in history. The legislation called The Maximum Pressure Act seeks to formally order the Trump administration’s tough sanctions on Iran and force the Biden administration to submit any updated nuclear deal with Iran to Congress for review before it is approved. The freshly announced bill was led by the Republican Study Committee with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making the announcement at a morning press conference.
According to The Washington Free Beacon:
As the Biden administration inches closer to rejoining the 2015 nuclear accord and unwinding American pressure on Iran, Republicans in Congress are using their legislative and oversight authority to hamper negotiations and make clear that any such deal will not last beyond Biden’s term in office. While the sanctions bill stands little chance of passing a Democrat-controlled Congress, it is yet another sign that Republicans are united in opposition to a revamped accord that provides the Islamic Republic with potentially billions in cash assets. It is also likely that hawkish Democrats, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), will not back the Biden administration if it grants sanctions relief before Iran dismantles its nuclear program.
Pompeo and Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Republican Study Committee’s chairman, said the legislation is a signal to the White House and Iran that Congress will not abide by any deal that is not first brought before it for a vote. The Obama administration never brought the Iran deal before Congress for a vote, fearing that it could not pass. Because the agreement was never formally ratified, the Trump administration was easily able to scrap it in 2018. Banks and several colleagues formally notified the Biden administration earlier this month that Congress will not be bound to an agreement that grants Iran sanctions relief, as the Washington Free Beacon first reported.
“If President Biden bypasses Congress and rejoins the failed Iran deal, our adversaries should know that conservatives in Congress will continue to fight to support President Trump’s successful maximum pressure campaign and work to pass this legislation which would reimpose all sanctions until Iran” shutters its nuclear program and stops supporting terrorist groups across the Middle East, Banks said in a statement.
Pompeo said the former administration’s hardline stance on Iran brought the regime to its knees and isolated it more than ever before. Recent statistics support the claim. The International Monetary Fund disclosed in a report that Iran burned through nearly all of its cash reserves in the final years of the Trump administration. The government would likely not have weathered another four years of crippling sanctions.
The bill would also mandate Congress to approve any agreement developed by the Biden administration during its talks with Iran.