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RELEASE: Wittman Urges Biden Administration to Support Israel, Not Re-enter the Iran Nuclear Deal
Washington, May 17, 2021
Tags: National Defense
WASHINGTON- Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the Biden Administration to refrain from re-entering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, on the grounds that the prospect of returning this controversial agreement has intensified the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Advocating against a return to the JCPOA, Congressman Wittman stated:
“It is no secret that Iran is one of the primary sponsors of Hamas, and while Iran has not pulled the trigger on the recent violence themselves, they have loaded the gun. By considering a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, President Biden sends Iran and its proxies the wrong message,” said Congressman Wittman. “Instead of standing alongside our ally, Israel, President Biden considers not only taking pressure off Iran but providing them with billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Iran could then use these billions of dollars to fund Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, even as they attack our ally and attempt to escalate conflict between Israel and Palestine. The longer President Biden considers this weak and misguided course of action, the more it emboldens terrorists in the region, thereby placing Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives in greater danger. We cannot allow Iran to continue funding terrorism, especially against the United States and our allies. If we wish for peace in the region, we must continue to exert maximum pressure on Iran in order to force them to negotiate a workable agreement in good faith.”
Read the full text of Congressman Wittman’s letter here:
May 17, 2021
The Honorable Antony Blinken
Dear Secretary Blinken,
I write to you today with concerns that the Biden Administration’s attempts to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known in its colloquial form as the “Iran Nuclear Deal,” are causing increased unrest in the conflict between Israel and Palestine and jeopardizing the lives of civilians of both states by emboldening Hamas.
I find it beyond coincidental that Hamas—an Iranian-backed militant group and a U.S. designated terrorist organization—has chosen to exploit Palestinian unrest to drastically escalate the conflict at the same time the Biden Administration is attempting to not only revive the Iran Nuclear Deal but also considering unfreezing $1 billion worth of Iranian funds.
It is no secret that Iran is one of the primary sponsors of Hamas, and while Iran has not pulled the trigger on the recent violence themselves, they have loaded the gun. As of Sunday May 16, 2021, roughly 3,000 rockets have been fired by Hamas with the intent to kill Israeli civilians. These rockets have either been supplied by Iran or assembled with parts dispensed by Iran in hopes of causing hate and discontent. Iranian support for this terrorist organization doesn’t stop at hardware, as they are also the primary financial backers to a group that offers monetary incentives to terrorist acts in the name of “martyrdom.”
And now—with Iranian-backed Hamas sensing the U.S. Administration’s potential wavering of support for Israel, an influx of cash from lifted sanctions, and a release of Iranian funds to be used for their terrorism—the Biden Administration believes it is prudent to give Iran and Hamas the monetary muscle needed to make the conflict longer and bloodier by reentering the JCPOA? This I cannot reconcile.
Now is not the time to deviate from the maximum pressure campaign that has forced Iran to slash its military budget and reduce its foreign currency reserve by 95%. Now is not the time to give Iran the fiscal and conventional means to increase support to terrorist groups to advance its malign agenda in the region. Now is not the time to embolden Hamas by reentering the JCPOA.
As such, I strongly urge the Biden Administration to reconsider any attempts to reenter the JCPOA, unfreeze funds, or lift sanctions on the malevolent government of Iran. Instead, I believe we should continue the maximum pressure campaign that has yielded positive results over the last several years.
I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I look forward to working with you to ensure our allies in the Middle East are not indirectly hurt by the U.S. Administration’s actions.
Robert J. Wittman
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.