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Iran nuclear deal

Republican lawmakers demand answers from Biden officials on Iran-related sanctions

Garland was also asked what recommendations he would make to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to ensure that no other companies “based in an allied country will violate US sanctions on Iran in the future?”

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A group of Republican members of Congress penned a letter Monday, calling on US Attorney General Merrick Garland to answer questions over the failure to pursue more punitive actions against a German software company that admitted sending US-originated software to Iran.

Last month, the Department of Justice announced that SAP would pay over $8 million in penalties “as part of a global resolution with the Departments of Justice, Commerce, and the Treasury.”

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This implied that the German software company voluntarily came forward and admitted to its wrongdoings. The Justice Department pursued a “Non-Prosecution Agreement” and settled for the fine.

According to the Justice Department, SAP exported products to Iranian users from 2010 to 2017. But Garland’s Justice Department has not taken any further action despite acknowledging that SAP’s conduct “constituted serious violations of US law involving the release of US-originated technology and software through cloud servers and online portals.”

On Monday, Congresswoman Lisa McClain led the letter to Garland asking for him to reveal more information on the decision-making process of the case. “We are also concerned by DOJ’s Non-Prosecution agreement. It sends the message that the United States does not take violations of its sanction regime seriously,” the letter read. McClain and the 15 other members of Congress have requested answers to their follow-up questions before June 1.

“If you had ample evidence that SAP violated US sanctions, why did you choose to pursue a Non-Prosecution agreement rather than more punitive actions?” the members of Congress questioned.

The lawmakers also asked if a national security review would be conducted to uncover “the extent of what US-originated technology was sent to Iran and potentially forwarded to the Iranian Regime or Quds Force.”

Garland was also asked what recommendations he would make to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to ensure that no other companies “based in an allied country will violate US sanctions on Iran in the future?”

Republicans and Democrats have been clashing over the Biden administration’s intent to rejoin the now-defunct nuclear deal with Iran, which was agreed under former President Barack Obama.

The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 with then-President Donald Trump citing the weak terms of the deal and for its failure to address Iran’s militias in the Middle East and its ballistic missile program.

Nevertheless, several Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called on President Joe Biden to look for a more comprehensive deal that focuses on Iran’s malign behavior and not just its nuclear program.

Read more: Iran needs to let go of ‘unrealistic demands’ for a nuclear deal with US: Official