on the hill

House members introduce bipartisan resolution condemning Iranian nuclear program

The resolution is led by moderate Democrats and Republican Rep. Peter Meijer

Steve Helber/AP

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) speaks to participants at a USO event in Virginia Beach, Va., in 2019.

A bipartisan group of House members — consisting mostly of centrist Democrats — has introduced a resolution condemning Iran’s nuclear program.

The resolution, introduced by Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brad Schnieder (D-IL), joined by moderate Republican Peter Meijer (R-MI), condemns Iran’s decision to enrich uranium to 20% purity.

The resolution argues that Iran’s continuing enrichment “is escalatory and intended to decrease breakout time to produce a nuclear weapon” and calls on Iran to “immediately reverse its decision… and abandon its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.” It also notes that Iran is in violation of the decades-old Non-Proliferation Treaty — which does not give Iran any inherent right to enrich nuclear material.

It further criticizes Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, ballistic missile development, imprisonment of American citiziens and destabilizing actions throughout the Middle East. The resolution comes a day after Secretary of State Tony Blinken called on Tehran to provide more details into the disappearance and presumed death of former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who was last seen in Iran in 2017 while working as a CIA agent.

“Iran is a state-sponsor of terrorism and poses an existential threat to our national security and Israel, America’s strongest ally in the region,” Luria, the legislation’s primary sponsor, said in a statement. “Iran cannot be allowed to continue to progress towards a nuclear weapon and the United States must unequivocally condemn their provocations.”

The resolution’s Democratic co-sponsors largely echoed her comments. Gottheimer called on the Biden administration to take steps to halt Iran’s nuclear development.

“The United States should do everything it can to extend expiring nuclear restrictions and address Iran’s advanced ballistic missile program and support for terrorism,” he said in a statement. “Fortunately, there is broad, bipartisan support in Congress for preventing Iran from realizing its nuclear ambitions.”

Meijer referenced his first-hand experience with Iranian sponsorship of terrorist organizations during his time serving in Iraq.

“I saw first-hand the malign influence of Iranian aggression, including its support for extremist groups,” Meijer said in a statement. “The Iranian regime’s latest action to increase uranium enrichment — and thereby reduce its nuclear breakout time — poses a direct threat to our allies and shared goals of stability in the region. It must be reversed immediately.” 

The resolution is the first legislation introduced by House Democrats this congressional session that directly addresses Iran’s nuclear program. Another bipartisan resolution, which calls in general terms for a “democratic, secular, and non-nuclear” Iran, did not directly address Iran’s nuclear activities.

It comes on the heels of more than half a dozen bills and resolutions from House and Senate Republicans addressing Iran’s nuclear program or negotiations with Iran, which have thus far failed to gain any Democratic support.

Senate Democrats introduced a resolution in late February calling for “a diplomatic resolution to Iran’s nuclear program.”

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.