Photo by Jacob Kornbluh (Gov. Abbott meeting with members of the Jewish media in New York City on Monday)
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday informed the Obama administration that the state of Texas will reject the administration’s request to lift its sanctions against Iran.
“Because the Iran deal is fundamentally flawed and does not permanently dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability, Texas will maintain its sanctions against Iran,” Abbott wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday. “Further, because your administration has recklessly and unilaterally removed critical sanctions, I have called on the Texas Legislature to strengthen the Iran sanctions that Texas already has in place.”
The letter was a response to a letter sent by the administration on April 8, 2015, requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against Iran.
“Entering into an agreement with a country that consistently calls for ‘death to America’ and repeatedly articulates anti-Semitic policies is short-sighted and ignores geopolitical realities,” Governor Abbott writes in the letter. “As a strong supporter of Israel, I am committed to doing everything in my power to oppose this misguided deal with Iran. Accordingly, not only will we not withdraw our sanctions, but we will strengthen them to ensure Texas taxpayer dollars are not used to aid and abet Iran.”
Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, Abbott said he will seek to expand his state’s divestment policy on all state agencies and prohibit local government entities in the State of Texas from investing in Iran or entities conducting business with Iran during the legislative session this summer.
The Texas Governor also said that he will issue a bipartisan call to governors of all 49 states to join him in rejecting the sanctions relief as part of the international accord.
While refusing to officially endorse Donald Trump for president, Abbott said the election of Hillary Clinton would be “catastrophic” for the U.S. and Israel.
“I can tell you this: had Ted Cruz been elected as president, he would have been the most pro-Israel president in the history of the United States,” Abbott said during a roundtable with members of the Jewish Media in New York City. “Ted Cruz, obviously, didn’t win the nomination. So you have to make a choice. You choose either Donald Trump or you choose Hillary Clinton. Not participating is not a choice. Candidly, I don’t know Donald Trump and I don’t know what his positions are. I do, however, know Hillary Clinton’s positions and what she will do, and Hillary will be catastrophic to the United States of America.”
“I am perplexed about the Jewish community in this regard, ” he continued. “After seeing eight years of the Obama administration, and the damage caused by the Obama administration to Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, I don’t understand how anyone who cares about Israel can support a Democrat.”
Abbott emphasized that the future of the Iran deal will be determined by the outcome of the presidential election in the fall. “If Hillary is elected president, she will perpetuate Barack Obama’s deal with Iran,” he said. “I believe that if the Republican is elected president, that deal will not exist in its current form and a new and better deal is going to be struck that is going to be safer and better for Israel and safer and better for the United States.”
Abbott letter to Obama