The United States is attempting to extend an international arms embargo on Iran’s regime via a second draft U.N. Security Council resolution. If this bid is unsuccessful, Washington has threatened a return of all U.N. sanctions that were previously put on Iran under a 2015 deal.
This latest development comes after Congress Republicans introduced a policy proposal slapping the largest sanctions on Iran to date in early June. A 111-page proposal was authored by 13 members from the Republican Study Committee who offered policy recommendations concerning American interests in the Middle East.
The Committee argued in its writings that “Iran is not a great power or strategic competitor,” but “it still presents a significant challenge as a rogue regime” and continues to be “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
Committee member Rep. Waltz said in an exclusive interview with The Foreign Desk that the “United States must hold Iran accountable for its rogue activities” including “developing nuclear weapons, inappropriate aggression in the Strait of Hormuz” and “sponsoring terrorist groups and holding Americans hostage.”
The report explains how Iran has “given aid and comfort” to multiple terrorist organizations and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has given rise to and financially supported tens of thousands of militia fighters that are not threatening the region and globe.
The Committee’s recommendations would require the Department of State to designate a number of Iranian-backed proxy militias in both Iraq and Syria as FTOs and to keep a watchlist of future Iranian-backed proxy militias.
It also suggests that Congress should put sanctions on Iran’s vital sectors, including petrochemical, financial, automotive, and construction and be hit with even more sanctions for human rights violations.
“By ramping up the current Administration’s strategy of ‘maximum pressure’, the policies recommended by the RSC’s report would help mitigate the malicious actions abroad by Iran and its proxies,” Committee member Rep. Norman told The Foreign Desk.
In addition to hitting Iran with more sanctions, the proposal urges Congress to take a more hardline approach with neighboring countries to counter Iran’s influence in the region.
For example, the proposal urges Congress to declare the Houthis in Yemen a terrorist organization, end waivers to Iraq, pressure Pakistan to stop supporting terrorist groups, and prohibit an IMF bailout of Lebanon.
“Iran is using the coronavirus pandemic to work to avoid our sanctions. I have a plan to stop that if we act now,” Committee member Rep. Steil said.
Steil is currently sponsoring the Stop Evasion of Iran Sanctions Act, which the RSC fully supports.
“We must keep our eyes on the ball and never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon,” Steil said.