House GOP pushes non-nuclear sanctions after Trump decertifies Iran deal

House GOP pushes non-nuclear sanctions after Trump decertifies Iran deal
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Top House Republicans said Friday that the chamber would take up bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation unrelated to an Obama-era nuclear deal after President Trump decertified the deal and called on Congress to amend a law providing oversight of the accord.

In a statement, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Steve King says 'left-wing media' and GOP leadership owe him apology after rape, incest comments MORE (R-Wyo.) said they would work with Trump to address issues in the Iran deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but emphasized the non-nuclear sanctions legislation.

“We cannot allow such a regime to become a nuclear power. The nuclear deal has significant flaws that must be addressed if that objective is going to be accomplished,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “We are committed to work with the president to address these flaws, hold Iran strictly accountable to its commitments and support efforts to counter all the Iranian threats.

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“We’ll take an important step to that end on the House floor by passing bills to increase sanctions unrelated to JCPOA that target Iran’s support for terrorism and its ballistic missile program when Congress returns in the coming weeks," the statement continued.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Soaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington MORE (R-Wis.) separately called the 2015 deal between the U.S., Iran and five other global powers “fatally flawed” and commended Trump for pushing changes to the accord.

“Simply enforcing a fatally flawed agreement is not sufficient,” Ryan said. “I support President Trump’s decision to reevaluate this dangerous deal, and the House will work with his administration to counter Iran’s range of destabilizing activities."

Trump declared Friday that the nuclear deal negotiated under the Obama administration is not in U.S. national security interests, but stopped short of withdrawing the U.S. from the deal.

He also did not push Congress to reimpose sanctions lifted under the deal, but did ask that they amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (IRANA) to address what he sees as issues in the accord. Trump also threatened to withdraw from the deal if Congress does not act.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator says he suggested Greenland purchase to Trump, met with Danish ambassador It's time to empower military families with education freedom Cotton warns China: Crackdown on Hong Kong would be 'grave miscalculation' MORE (R-Ark.) plan to introduce the legislation that Trump has requested. The bill would effectively end the so-called sunset provisions of the accord and automatically snap back nuclear sanctions if Iran gets within one year of obtaining a nuclear weapon.

In the House, Royce telegraphed the chamber’s approach to Iran earlier this week in a hearing on “Confronting the Full Range of Iranian Threats.” In the hearing, he said the United States should “enforce the hell” out the nuclear deal and touted the committee’s work on non-nuclear sanctions legislation.

On Thursday, his committee advanced legislation with a bipartisan voice vote that would slap more sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, which is not covered in the nuclear deal.

Royce, McCarthy, Thornberry and Cheney said in Friday's statement that U.S.-Iran relations should not be defined only by the nuclear agreement.

“From Yemen to Lebanon, Iran is working to impose its brutal theocratic rule throughout the region,” they said. “It supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah, bolsters the ruthless [Bashar] Assad dictatorship [in Syria], promotes instability through sectarianism in Iraq and abuses the human rights of the Iranian people."