Almost 150 members of Congress - Republicans and Democrats - have signed a letter imploring President Joe Biden not to ignore Iran’s militias and ballistic missile program in any new deal with Tehran.
The letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken comes amid increased efforts by the Biden administration to negotiate the failed JCPOA, an acronym for the Iran nuclear deal, with Iran.
It is one of the first efforts to garner bipartisan support as the split between Biden’s Democratic party and Republicans continues to grow.
The letter, first reported by ABC News, calls for an all-inclusive deal, unlike the original deal signed under the Obama administration in 2015. Iran’s “malign behavior,” according to the letter, needed to be included.
Iran has several proxies and militias throughout the Middle East, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) and Yemen’s Houthis.
Mike Waltz, a Republican Congressman, said the bipartisan consensus was clear. “Halting the Iranian Regime’s nuclear program, ballistic missile program, funding of terrorism, and release of political prisoners all must be included in any future negotiations,” he tweeted.
#Iran is emboldened by weakness, deterred by strength.— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) March 9, 2021
We must hold Iran and its regime-backed militias accountable for killing & holding countless innocent Americans hostage.
We can’t repeat the Obama Admin’s mistakes. Pres. Biden must seek stronger conditions for Iran.
Last month, Republican lawmakers called on Biden not to lift sanctions on Iran - a demand by Tehran before renegotiating with the US.
In December, 150 Democrats signed a letter backing Biden’s plans to rejoin the JCPOA.
Congressman Anthony Brown, a Democrat, told ABC News that Iran policy was “not a numbers game. “This letter provides a real opportunity for the administration to see that there’s a significant number of members that would support a balanced approach -- a bipartisan, balanced approach,” he said.
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