From his seats on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is calling for the Trump administration to get tougher with Iran.
Rubio weighed in last week after Iran violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as it looked to boost its uranium enrichment.
“Iran’s escalation of uranium enrichment this week is not the first time that they violated the flawed nuclear deal,” Rubio said. “The regime in Tehran still has not been held accountable for concealing from international inspectors its dangerous ‘Atomic Archive’ for rapid nuclear weaponization. Iran also continues to blatantly ship millions of barrels of oil to China, which has foolishly poured investments into Iranian oil fields and now wants to be paid back in cash or in kind. The Trump administration should take enforcement actions against the Iranian and Chinese governments, which appear to be clearly violating U.S. primary and secondary sanctions against Iran.
“President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA last year because the American people deserve better than a bad deal that paves the Iranian terror regime’s path to nuclear weapons,” Rubio continued. “But the Iranian people also deserve better as they continue to suffer under the Tehran regime’s criminal corruption, massive economic mismanagement, and systemic human rights abuses, in addition to its support for terrorists, the murderous Assad regime, ballistic missile aggression, nuclear proliferation, and regional aggression.”
Right before the Independence Day holiday, Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to write to Trump on the matter. Trump defeated Cruz and Rubio in the 2016 presidential primaries.
“We write to urge you to increase pressure on Iran’s nuclear program, in the aftermath of Iran publicly violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by stockpiling more than 300kg of low-enriched uranium and threatening further violations within weeks. Regime officials have signaled they intend to creep towards a nuclear weapon, while demanding concessions and promising to ‘reverse’ their violations if their demands are met. We urge you to reject their nuclear blackmail,” the senators wrote Trump on Wednesday. “Two years ago, you correctly decided that the JCPOA gave Iran too much while imposing restrictions that were too little, and that the United States would no longer ‘continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.’ Last year you correctly reimposed economic pressure on the regime to begin reversing the catastrophic effects of the deal and pressure them into negotiating a better one.
“We urge you to respond to Iran’s nuclear violations this week by increasing pressure on their nuclear program as well,” the senators continued. “First, your administration has continued to issue civil-nuclear waivers allowing Iran to build up its nuclear program as part of an effort to ‘maintain the nuclear status quo with Iran until a better deal can be negotiated,’ including at their Fordow centrifuge facility, a military bunker which they dug into the side of a mountain so they could build nuclear weapons there. The Iranians have now changed the nuclear status quo and are trying to create a new normal of minor violations that will enable their creep toward a nuclear weapon. We urge you to end these waivers.
“Second, your administration has refrained from invoking the snapback mechanism in United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which if invoked would restore international restrictions against Iranian uranium enrichment, plutonium-related heavy water work, and ballistic missile development. Paragraph 10 of UNSCR 2231 defines the United States as a participant for the purpose of invoking the mechanism. We urge you to do so,” the senators added. “The JCPOA was built to enable Iranian cheating. It disempowered the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspection and reporting authorities to find violations, incentivized other parties to preserve the deal by ignoring whatever violations were found, and when necessary pressuring the Joint Commission (JC) to issue still-confidential side deals that redefined noncompliance as compliance, allowing Iran to keep more material than specified in the public version of the JCPOA.
“As a result, hundreds of billions of dollars flowed into Iran, allowing the Iranians to boost its military and terrorist activities regionally and globally, even as they maintained nuclear weapons infrastructure, periodically exceeded restrictions on nuclear materials, and inched toward the deal’s promise of an unrestricted civilian nuclear program. When Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure was recently unveiled by Israel in the form of the Nuclear Archive, the IAEA allowed several months to elapse as the Iranian regime scrubbed nuclear weapons-related sites revealed by the Archive, while other parties in the deal downplayed Iran’s violation. That’s how the deal was always supposed to work, that’s how it did work, and that’s why it is imperative that the United States now respond forcefully to Iran’s systematic violations by ending civil-nuclear waivers and invoking the U.N. snapback,” the senators wrote in conclusion. “As always, we stand ready to provide you and your administration with whatever resources you need to continue rolling back Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear malign activities.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.