© Getty Images
Senate Republicans are slamming the Obama administration's handling of two Iran missile tests, telling the president not to lift sanctions against the country.
"It is a mistake to treat Iran’s ballistic missile program as separate from Iran’s nuclear program," the 35 senators wrote in a letter released Thursday. "We urge your administration to not lift sanctions on Iran that would provide billions of dollars in economic relief."
The letter is the latest from lawmakers in the wake of ballistic missiles tests by Iran since October, which the administration has suggested violates United Nations Security Council resolutions.
While the administration has repeatedly said Iran's ballistic missile program is not tied to a nuclear agreement reached earlier this year, the Republicans suggested that logic didn't stand up to scrutiny.
"Iran is developing ICBM capabilities for the sole purpose of enabling delivery of a nuclear weapon to the United States," the lawmakers wrote. "We are concerned that your administration is failing to respond to Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing actions out of an eagerness to see the Iran deal go forward."
Under the nuclear deal, Iran will get financial sanctions relief in return for agreeing to limits on its nuclear program.
The letter is the latest sign of concern from lawmakers over the missile test. Senate Democrats — including Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) — have pushed the administration to hold Iran accountable. Coons on Tuesday suggested that includes sanctions against those responsible for the tests.
The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (R-N.H.).
It was signed by Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), John Cornyn (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), David Perdue (Ga.), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.), John Thune (S.D.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).