Weekly Columns

Was the Obama Administration ever serious about enforcing the terms of the nuclear deal it negotiated with Iran? It certainly doesn’t appear so. 

As Iran continues to violate the terms of the agreement and flaunt its new found status on the international stage, the Obama Administration dances itself into knots attempting to justify how these indiscretions are not the outward defiance they appear to be. We know full well that they are.  

Iran, now free of nuclear-related sanctions—one of the many disastrous results of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—is now flush with resources to build its arsenal and fund terror across the region. The regime in Tehran acts as if it is virtually untouchable now. 

Even before implementation of the JCPOA, Iran shamelessly violated UN Security Council mandates by conducting prohibited ballistic missile tests. This aggressive behavior appears to be on the rise. 

Last month, the Iranians carried out multiple tests of ballistic missiles that have the capability of striking Israel. As an added insult, the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” was said to have been written in Hebrew on at least one of the missiles. 

These displays are clearly meant to intimidate the Israelis and send a message to the world that the Iranians intend to quickly rebuild the nation’s weapon arsenal now that it is free of nuclear-related sanctions. 

The State Department first labeled these tests as possible violations of U.N. Security Council’s resolution 2231. The Administration is back peddling from that assessment now. It has yet to condemn the Iranians for these actions.

In fact, the Treasury Department is actively pressuring Congress to not impose any new sanctions on Iran for the tests. This same Treasury Department recently floated the idea that perhaps Iran should have access to the American dollar, which is the gold standard for international trade. 

When the Administration negotiated the JCPOA, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry essentially gave the Iranians everything on their wish list. One of the only points that the Administration claimed to hold steady on was preventing Iran from gaining access to the U.S. financial system. 

It is easy to see why allowing Iranian access to our financial system is a terrible idea. 

Iran’s inability to trade in U.S. dollars prevents the regime in Tehran from fully opening its economy and protects the U.S. financial system from being used to launder terrorist funds. These two principles are the reason we had sanctions in place long before the JCPOA was ever signed. Those sanctions must remain in place. 

Iran’s recent aggressions are reminders of how much the Administration gave up when it signed the JCPOA and how Congress must exercise stringent oversight through this implementation process.  

Watching the Obama Administration do a two-step around the fact that Iran has no intention to comply with the JCPOA will make one dizzy. Clearly the President sees no need to put pressure on Iran. It is up to Congress to force compliance. No options, including additional sanctions, should be taken off the table. 

Congress is committed to restricting Iranian ambitions and will strenuously work to ensure the Obama Administration does not make a terrible deal worse.