Biden, Congress Should Defend Terrorism Sanctions Imposed on Iran
The following is an excerpt:
During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to consider Antony Blinken’s nomination for secretary of state, Blinken was asked whether he believed it is in America’s national security interest to lift terrorism sanctions currently imposed on Iran, including sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank, national oil company, financial sector, and energy sector. “I do not,” Blinken responded. “And I think there is nothing, as I see it, inconsistent with making sure that we are doing everything possible – including the toughest possible sanctions, to deal with Iranian support for terrorism.”
Bipartisan support for terrorism sanctions targeting Iran goes back to 1984, when the United States first designated the Islamic Republic as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Since then, every U.S. president – Republican or Democrat – and Congress have taken steps to reaffirm U.S. policy opposing Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and tying sanctions relief to Iran’s cessation of terror-related activities.
President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if Iran returns to “strict compliance” with the agreement. Terrorism sanctions on Iran, however, should not be lifted, even if the Biden administration opts to return to the deal, unless and until Iran verifiably halts its sponsorship of terrorism.
This memorandum provides an overview of Iran’s past and ongoing involvement in terrorism-related activities, a review of longstanding bipartisan congressional support for terrorism sanctions on Iran, and a list of terrorism sanctions currently imposed on Iran that should not be lifted.