United States Senator Ted Cruz said it was his belief that the Iranian regime should be collapsed and advocated that the US “irreversibly end what remains of the disastrous [Iran nuclear] deal” in a video posted Wednesday.
While the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018, there were waivers that kept aspects of the deal alive, including one that allowed Iran to sell 1 million barrels of oil a day and another for civilian nuclear facilities. The Republican lawmaker from Texas explained how both those waivers were ended and called for the UN arms embargo set to expire in October to be extended in the video posted on his Twitter account.
Cruz called for the Trump Administration to invoke the snapback sanction mechanism in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that he said would “shred the nuclear deal once and for all.”
While the US withdrew from the deal, it retains its ability to initiate a snapback of sanctions, and while invoking Resolution 2231 wouldn’t necessarily shred the deal, it would reimpose all international sanctions – including those related to arms deals – that existed against Iran as of June 2015, prior to the deal’s signing.
Cruz said that without extending the arms embargo or invoking Resolution 2231, the door would reopen for Russia and China to sell weapons to Iran. From 1995 to 2005, more than 70 percent of Iran’s imports came from Russia, data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows.
As Iran has become increasingly isolated, seeking trade partners, Tehran has turned to China. With China-US relations at a low point amid the ongoing trade war and heating up recently, China has little incentive to keep the US happy.
“In isolation, it makes perfect sense. The two [China and Iran] share a comprehensive strategic partnership that highlights defense cooperation. They have long standing-diplomatic ties and historic relations going back across centuries,” an Atlantic Council blog post read. This relationship has been highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Withdrawing from the JCPOA was in line with the Trump Administration’s strategy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran – a departure from President Barack Obama’s more diplomatic approach.
“It is my belief that we need to collapse the regime”
“When we talk about the future of Iran, it is my belief that we need to collapse the regime,” Cruz said. “You know this used to be a straightforward and broadly accepted idea. The Iranian regime unremittingly seeks our destruction. Death to America, the Ayatollah chants, and we will not be safe until it’s gone.”
The US lawmaker said the idea had fallen out of favor in recent years, especially during the Obama Administration, as it became synonymous with regime change followed by “endless nation building that we have needlessly, foolishly and catastrophically pursued in Iraq.”
American nation building efforts in Iraq have for decades been heavily criticized across both sides of the political aisle as efforts to instill stability have typically resulted in greater instability in the country.
“The US is at a critical juncture in our relationship with Iran,” Cruz said. “The nuclear deal forced us to give up the most powerful sanctions against these behaviors and the Trump Administration has taken significant and meaningful steps to reverse course and apply maximum pressure on Iran and diplomatically isolate Iran, including taking out [top Iranian General Qassem] Soleimani – a designated terrorist responsible for the deaths of at least 603 US service men and women. We must do more.”
Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport on January 3, along with Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. The US had designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization in May.