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 CheneyAmash storm hits Capitol Hill The GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House GOP launches anti-BDS discharge petition 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 RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 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 CorkerJeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump Corker: 'I just don't' see path to challenge Trump in 2020 Ex-GOP Sen. Corker: Trump primary would be 'good thing for our country' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator: Supreme Court abortion cases were 'wrongly decided as a constitutional matter' Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes' 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."