Iran Accountability Act of 2016

Floor Speech

Date: July 14, 2016
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs


Mr. DEUTCH. I thank my friend for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, this week we approach the 1-year anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPOA, the agreement negotiated by the P5+1 countries over Iran's illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. One year later, Iran remains far outside the community of responsible countries. Iran continues to sponsor terrorism around the region. It funds and supports the murderous Assad regime. It spouts anti-Semitic and anti-Israel vitriol. It foments unrest in other countries. It denies basic human rights to its citizens, and it unlawfully detains American citizens. Iran has still not returned my constituent, Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran in 2007 and is now the longest-held American hostage.

My friends on the other side of the aisle know that, and I commend Chairman Royce for his diligence in looking for ways to strengthen our sanctions regime and to vigilantly enforce the Iran nuclear deal in order to keep the pressure on Iran.

Iran's subversive actions have not relented despite the agreement. Iran has explicitly and repeatedly violated U.N. Security Council resolutions by testing its ballistic missile technology, weapons capable of delivering nuclear warheads. In addition, recent intelligence reports from Germany expose that Iran sought technology related to the development of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. So there is a lot that needs to be done to keep the pressure on Iran.

For all of these reasons, Congress needs to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, the law that actually serves as the foundation for our sanctions policy. We have to pass new sanctions to address Iran's repeated ballistic missile tests, and we have to crack down on Iran's financial support for terrorism. These are items that have always enjoyed broad bipartisan support. All of the areas that Iran is doing harm throughout the region--support for terrorism, violation of the human rights of their people, ballistic missile tests--everything that falls outside of the nuclear deal, we should be working together to strengthen with this bipartisan support.

But rushing through legislation that is designed to undermine the JCPOA and put the United States in violation of our commitments under the JCPOA not only fail to punish Iran's malfeasance--which is our goal, and it is the shared goal--but it weakens America's ability to lead a global effort against Iran's destabilizing efforts throughout the world. We can't do this on our own. We need to work with our allies. We need to lead our allies. That is the role that the United States has always played.

Mr. Speaker, I did not support the Iran nuclear agreement, but it is in effect, and it must be enforced with vigilance.


Mr. DEUTCH. I thank my friend.

Mr. Speaker, we have to maintain immense pressure on the Iranian regime so long as it violates human rights, supports terrorism, and tests ballistic missiles; but failure by the United States to uphold the deal will only weaken--I repeat for my colleagues who share my commitment to standing up to Iran, it will only weaken--our efforts to lead the international community in taking strong action to counter Iran's actions both under and outside of the JCPOA.

These three bills this week that have been rushed to the floor without having the opportunity to discuss them, to debate them, and to develop broad bipartisan support on them in ways that will not jeopardize our role under the JCPOA weaken our ability to lead. That is why I oppose them, and that is why I urge my colleagues to oppose them as well.