House lawmakers call on Obama administration to oppose Iran joining global trade body

House lawmakers call on Obama administration to oppose Iran joining global trade body
© Getty Images

Four House lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to oppose Iran’s efforts to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertBottom Line The most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lymphedema Treatment Act would provide a commonsense solution to a fixable problem MORE (R-Wash.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) and Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report MORE on Friday arguing that Iran’s accession into the WTO would make it more difficult to impose sanctions in the future.


"America’s ability to impose financial or economic sanctions against Iran may be constrained if Iran were to accede to the WTO," the lawmakers wrote.

"The U.S. and other WTO Members should not be forced to defend against potential WTO disputes if we continue to impose sanctions against Iran," they wrote. 

The European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland are three nations that have formally announced support for Iranian membership to the 164-member WTO following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the lawmakers said.

“In addition to further empowering and enriching Iran’s tyrannical regime, Iranian accession to the WTO could seriously complicate our ability to combat Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights violations, ballistic missile program and other illicit activity,” the lawmakers wrote.

Since the United States has historically pushed back against Iranian accession to the WTO, the lawmakers asked for clarity as to where the Obama administration stands and will they oppose Iran joining the global trade body.

"As Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and continues to be a destabilizing force in the Middle East, maintaining our robust sanctions regime is critical," the lawmakers wrote.

"Iran must be held responsible for its actions, and our ability to impose sanctions is vital in deterring Iran from engaging in nefarious activities."

 The lawmakers also asked how the USTR is involved in Iran's effort to join the WTO would the United States attempt to block Iran's accession.

All WTO nations must agree to grant Iran or any other country admission to the group.