35 House lawmakers urge European leaders to immediately initiate Iran sanctions snapback

‘As our great nations have seen countless times, appeasing belligerent nations does not lead to peace, it only feeds even greater threats to international peace and security,’ the letter reads

ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility.

Thirty-five House members sent a bipartisan letter to British, French and German leaders on Thursday urging them to immediately initiate the snapback mechanism of the United Nations’ sanctions on Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The three countries — the European partners to the JCPOA — are the only parties capable of initiating the mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal canceling the removal of U.N. sanctions on Iran. The parties to the deal rejected a U.S. attempt to do so previously given the American withdrawal in 2018. In the letter, obtained by Jewish Insider, the lawmakers specifically highlight the urgency of snapback in light of the upcoming expiration of the U.N. embargo on Iran’s missile and drone programs later this year.

“It is clear that Iran has failed to live up to its nonproliferation commitments, and time is running out to curb their nuclear ambitions,” the letter reads. “For nearly four years, Iran has ceased implementing important commitments under the JCPOA, continues to expand its nuclear program, and has rejected all diplomatic offers. As our great nations have seen countless times, appeasing belligerent nations does not lead to peace, it only feeds even greater threats to international peace and security.”

The lawmakers also argue that the current sunset deadlines for sanctions are not relevant to the current situation on the ground in Iran.

“Iran’s JCPOA violations — operating advanced centrifuges and acquiring new expertise in the enrichment of near weapons-grade uranium — are not reversible,” it continues. “Even if a new agreement could be negotiated, allowing Iran to maintain the sunset provisions of the old deal would render any deal immediately worthless.”

Reps. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) led the letter, joined by 32 Republicans and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL). Both Tenney and Gottheimer, in statements to JI, emphasized the threat that Iran’s nuclear program poses to Israel and the region more broadly.

“It is indisputable that Iran is in violation of the JCPOA, which is why our European allies must initiate snapback now to reimpose previously lifted sanctions,” Tenney added. “Snapback will send a clear message to Iran that its nuclear extortion has severe consequences and that the expansion of its nuclear program will not be tolerated. The time for bold and decisive action is now.”

Gottheimer emphasized that lifting sanctions on Iran would further fuel its malign activities globally.

“We cannot forget where the money ends up when sanctions are lifted on Iran — the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” he said. “The Iranian regime actively finances a robust worldwide network of terrorist proxies in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. Iran has even armed Russia with scores of long-range suicide drones. Time is running out to curb Iran’s nuclear and other nefarious ambitions, and the E3 must consider initiating snapback sanctions.”

The letter takes a stronger stance than an AIPAC-backed letter currently circulating on the Hill, which urges the president to negotiate with the so-called E3 leaders to prepare to initiate snapback sanctions if Iran enriches uranium to weapons grade, 90%, rather than to do so immediately.

Tenney and Gottheimer’s letter was co-signed by Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX), Don Bacon (R-NE), James Baird (R-IN), Cliff Bentz (R-OR), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Eric Burlison (R-MO), Ben Cline (R-VA), Chuck Edwards (R-NC), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Thomas Kean (R-NJ), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Nicholas Langworthy (R-NY), Michael Lawler (R-NY), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Max Miller (R-OH), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Burgess Owens (R-UT), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), George Santos (R-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Steve Womack (R-AR), Rudy Yakym (R-IN) and Ryan Zinke (R-MT).

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