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Cruz, Others Call on Secretary Kerry to Restore Sanctions on Iran

German intelligence finds over 100 Iranian nuclear procurement efforts likely related to weapons of mass destruction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and David Perdue (R-Ga.) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, calling on the administration to investigate Iran’s illicit behavior and to restore sanctions on Iran for its extensive nuclear and missile procurement attempts in Germany likely related to weapons of mass destruction which, if confirmed, are a clear violation of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.

“As we approach the one-year anniversary of the signing of the JCPOA later this week, we are reminded of the need to remain vigilant in the daily enforcement of the deal,” said the senators. “As President Obama said last year, ‘we will, for the first time, be in a position to verify all of [Iran’s] commitments. That means this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification.’”

Last week, Germany’s Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution stated, “The illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities in Germany registered by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution persisted in 2015 at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level. This holds true in particular with regard to items which can be used in the field of nuclear technology.” The report continued, “Against this backdrop it is safe to expect that Iran will continue its intensive procurement activities in Germany using clandestine methods to achieve its objectives.” 

While the evidence of potential violations is clear, the Obama administration has failed to follow through on the promises it made to the American people to investigate Iran’s illicit behavior, punish the rogue nation, and restore sanctions when violations occur.

In their letter to Secretary Kerry, the senators ask the following questions:

1.     If these reports are true, would these procurement actions not clearly violate the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231?

2.     Can you confirm and corroborate these domestic intelligence reports from the German government, and have these procurement activities indeed continued in Germany as the Annual Report predicted?

3.     Could you explain why such investigations and prosecutions of illegal Iranian procurement efforts have not taken place since the signing of the JCPOA, and why these violations have not resulted in severe and tangible punishments?

4.     If Iran is attempting to seek such materials outside of the Procurement Channel established by the JCPOA, why aren’t Iran’s attempts to violate the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 treated as the transgressions that they are?

5.     What specific steps to do you intend to take to penalize Iran for its possible non-compliance?

6.     In light of the German reports, it is now more important than ever to demonstrate to Iran that the United States is prepared to punish Iran for any noncompliance. Will the Obama Administration support renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)?

7.     Given that the Administration repeatedly promised a continuous, rigorous verification scheme to hold Iran accountable under the deal, this seemingly lax enforcement of the JCPOA forces us to question: is the framework for addressing violations, as laid out in the JCPOA, working at all?  

Read the senators’ full letter here.