Ryan calls for toughness as Iran deal starts to ‘unravel’

Ryan calls for toughness as Iran deal starts to ‘unravel’
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The Obama administration’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran is "starting to unravel" and needs to be quickly supplemented with tough U.S. action, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.) claimed on Monday.

In an op-ed for the Independent Journal Review, Ryan promised that House Republicans will soon offer “an overarching vision for our national security” that includes measures targeting Iran.


“Our goal is to restore a more confident America that keeps its word and upholds its commitments,” Ryan wrote. “This is what we need to keep the peace, protect our homeland, and make the world a safer place for this generation and the next."

The Iran agreement, which sets limits on Tehran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief, is a hallmark of the Obama administration’s foreign policy legacy.

Yet even months after sanctions were lifted, Iran has refused to fall in line with broader tenets of the international order.

Among other points, the Iranian regime has conducted multiple ballistic missile tests, briefly held captive U.S. Navy sailors and continued tough rhetoric against Saudi Arabia and Israel — two American allies.

And the U.S. is only encouraging Iran’s behavior, critics say, by spending $8.6 million to buy Iranian heavy water — which is used in nuclear reactors — and suggesting that it might have some access to the U.S. financial system.  

“The administration can spin it anyway it likes, but this was a bad deal,” Ryan wrote.

“Before this president leaves office, we must do everything possible to prevent his administration from making further concessions to Iran.”

This year, lawmakers must renew the Iranian sanctions legislation and block any effort to allow Iranian officials to trade in U.S. dollars, Ryan said.

The op-ed comes on the heels of new anger from critics of the agreement, who claimed that a New York Times Magazine story about deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes shows how the administration spun journalists and experts into supporting the agreement.

In the story, Rhodes described the average White House reporter as being “27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns.”

“They literally know nothing,” he said.

On Sunday evening, Rhodes was forced to defend the administration’s sales pitch on the nuclear agreement and deny that it had misled eager journalists and think tank experts.

“It wasn’t ‘spin,’ it’s what we believed and continue to believe,” he wrote in a blog post on Medium.

Though the Ryan op-ed was published on Monday, it was written before the profile of Rhodes went online last week, according to spokeswoman AshLee Strong.

While Ryan’s op-ed on Monday distanced itself from the Obama administration, any new GOP national security framework also threatens to reinforce the internal Republican divide over presumptive presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE.

Trump’s unorthodox foreign policy vision — which has included questioning the role of U.S. alliances with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and nations from Asia to the Middle East as part of a somewhat isolationist “America First” ideology — has frustrated Republican establishment thinkers, who worry about his hand on the nuclear trigger.

More than 100 prominent GOP defense officials have pledged to oppose Trump, and they now find themselves adrift in the GOP.