Members of the Republican Study Committee Caucus on Wednesday, joined by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announced the introduction of a bill to push back against the Biden administration with regards to Iran, especially sanctions.
“In the first 100 days, President [Joe] Biden has exhibited a troubling pattern. He’s talked a big game while returning to the same Obama-era weakness that emboldened our adversaries and made American families less safe,” said Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, the group’s chair, at the RSC press conference unveiling the Maximum Pressure Act in front of the U.S. Capitol. “His foreign policy seems to be defined by the approach of ‘speak loudly and carry a twig,’ which is in stark contrast to the tree limb that [Pompeo] and President [Donald] Trump carried on a daily basis.”
“And we are seeing Biden’s weak approach take root with regards to Iran,” the Indiana Republican added. The reason, he said, for why the RSC was gathered for the noontime conference on Wednesday, is “to communicate to the Biden administration that we will fight to maintain sanctions on Iran and show our adversaries that if Joe Biden temporarily lifts sanctions, we will reimpose them later.”
The Maximum Pressure Act, in the words of Banks, does three things. Firstly, it shows that Congress “is not bound to agreements by the president that purports to speak on our behalf”. Secondly, it “modifies the Trump administration’s maximum pressure strategy until Iran meets the 12 demands laid out by [Pompeo] in May of 2018,” which Banks said “Biden’s State Department refused to say that they support.” And thirdly, it “expands the existing bipartisan Iran sanctions mandated by Congress.”
The legislation—which has 83 cosponsors for the bill as of Wednesday, according to the Indiana congressman—is “the toughest sanctions bill ever introduced in Congress on Iran,” he said.
Saying he’s “proud” of the bill, Pompeo, who was consulted on it, said “it talks about things that need to be done for Iran to rejoin the community of nations and says ‘If you don’t do that, sanctions are going to […] remain in place.’ This is what Congress quintessentially has the responsibility to do.”
Former President Trump’s secretary of state, hoping for the bill to become a bipartisan one in the Democrat-controlled House, went on to say that “this isn’t about Republicans, or conservatives, or Democrats; this is about the security of America.”
Behnam Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who focuses on Iranian security and political issues, told SaraACarter.com on Wednesday that the “legislation signals that many members of Congress do not think the talks in Vienna, as well as the more conciliatory and pale green light approach taken by the Biden administration towards Iran will bear fruit,” referencing the ongoing talks between the U.S., Iran, and a host of other countries in Vienna over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—that Trump withdrew the U.S. from, to much scrutiny from Western allies.
“The Trump administration’s 12 points was not a departure from long-standing U.S. goals or national strategy towards the Islamic Republic,” he said, then arguing that the Obama administration turned “a blind eye to Iran’s regional threat networks and permitting domestic enrichment, which enabled and sustained the fatally flawed JCPOA, represented the departure in U.S. policy.”
“Any attempt to restore the importance of those 12 points, as well as integrate human rights for a critical ’13th point’ should therefore be seen as a restoration of long-standing U.S. policy aims towards Tehran.”
Also saying “it is unclear if this bill will become law,” Taleblu added that “the message it sends, coupled with a flurry of other bills, bipartisan letters, and statements is clear. The U.S. Congress believes in a more comprehensive pressure policy to impede Iran’s revenues, call out its human rights abuses, and change its behavior. Attempts to resurrect the JCPOA will do none of that.”
“I would consider this legislation to be the beginnings of a more cohesive Congressional ‘ground-game’ on Iran led by the RSC,” the FDD senior fellow continued. “The range of diverse sanctions options discussed in the bill should serve as a reminder that the U.S. has more room to grow its peaceful pressure policy, rather than trade it away for limited concessions at the negotiating table.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Scott Mann says botched Afghanistan withdrawal was a failure on the Afghan government
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Mannn discussed the withdrawal from Afghanistan in depth on the latest episode of The Sara Carter Show. Mann claims that although it was a botched withdrawal, our service members did their best. Instead, the government is to blame for the failure.
“Our Vets led the way when the government failed,” Mann said. “They fought till the last bullet. They fought until the bitter end, even when their president and their generals took bribes and abandoned them.” Therefore, Mann is advocating for immediate visas to these Afghan Special Forces.
Meanwhile, families like Sara Carter’s have stepped up to help Afghans out of the country. “It was the veteran population, for the most part, and the military family population who looked at this and said: ‘Okay, fine, nobody else is coming. I’ll do it.’ And we picked up our cell phones. We started working together to find ways to try to guide and shepherd our Afghan friends to some kind of safety, if not freedom,” Mann said. “We need their help. People like you [Sara Carter] who’ve been on this problem from the very beginning. You know, you’re on a 911 dispatch call, and you’re the dispatcher. You’ve been on the call for a month, and you are the dispatcher that is assisting a family who is being murdered one by one. You’re staying on the line with them as this is occurring. You have no shift relief.”
So Mann is lobbying Congress to write a law, that any Afghan who went through the school of excellence as a commando Afghan Special Forces, should have an immediate visa.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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