Washington – Rana Abtar
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021 – 07:30
Congress Ups Pressure on Biden Over Iran
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021 – 07:00
While outer perimeter fencing is being removed an inner perimeter fence remains around the Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 21 March 2021. EPA
Congressmen have been exerting pressure on the White House not to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran nor lift sanctions imposed on Tehran.
A draft letter prepared by Republican Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez has rejected the revival of the deal in its current form.
By Friday, the two senators were capable of convincing Democrats Chris Coons, Joe Manchin and Ben Cardin to join 18 Republicans in supporting the letter.
Backed by the influential pro-Israeli lobby group, AIPAC, the letter calls on President Joe Biden to use “the full force of our diplomatic and economic tools in concert with our allies on the United Nations Security Council and in the region to reach an agreement that prevents Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and meaningfully constrains its destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and its ballistic missile program.”
The letter reveals the bipartisan consensus at the Congress to maintain the policy of maximum pressure to force Iran into ending uranium enrichment, abandoning missile defense and breaking links with regional groups and allies it backs.
This move was boosted by a draft law proposed last week by US Representative Greg Steube to impose sanctions on Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia which Biden recently launched airstrikes against in Syria.
“Not only does Iran-backed KSS pose a serious threat to peace and stability in the region, but they are also directly responsible for American service member deaths in Iraq,” Steube said.
Also this month, nine members of the US House of Representatives have demanded in a letter sent to the Department of Justice, that any Americans secretly on the payroll of Iran should be prosecuted.
New Mexico Republican Yvette Herrel, who led the initiative, said, “Any softening of our stance on Iran threatens our national security.”
The letter came after Federal authorities arrested last January US resident Kavek Lotfollah Afrasiabi for being on a secret payroll of Iran’s UN mission in New York to promote the policies and defend the positions of Iran in the American media and among lawmakers.
Fox News said Herrel and her co-signatories are asking the Biden administration to create a special task force to “identify, track and arrest other Iranian Nationals who are in violation of FARA,” the Foreign Agent Registration Act.