Through its illicit nuclear program and support for international terrorism, Iran poses a significant threat to U.S. national security interests and to Israel.
On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran had met its initial nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Accordingly, “Implementation Day” was reached and the P5+1 lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. The Iranian market has now reopened for business and Tehran has gained access to over $100 billion in previously frozen assets.
The JCPOA has temporarily pushed back Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon, but it has neither curbed its nuclear ambitions nor reduced its aggressive behavior in the Middle East. In order to discourage further violations of the JCPOA, the United States must take meaningful and decisive action to ensure Iranian compliance. Congress must extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)—which is set to expire at the end of 2016—so that sanctions are in place to “snap back” should Iran violate the nuclear agreement. Extending ISA will signal to Tehran that Congress is carefully scrutinizing its actions and will hold it accountable.
Iran is also a radical Islamic theocracy that seeks to export its revolutionary ideology abroad by supporting terrorist proxy groups—including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip—which carry out attacks on American troops and Israeli civilians. As a result, Iran is recognized by the State Department as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.
The United States must confront Iran’s regional aggression and support for terrorism, and take firm action to support its regional allies, especially Israel.