One year ago today, President Obama announced the start of the flawed nuclear deal that he claimed would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has made America less safe. It at best only delays Iran’s nuclear-weapons program and does nothing to protect Israel and our allies in the region from Tehran’s continued nefarious activities.
The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to save this deal. Administration officials have boasted of creating an “echo chamber” with reporters ensuring that journalists parroted the administration’s line and ignored worrisome details about the deal.
Iran has kidnapped U.S. citizens and dual citizens as part of its statecraft. Iran still has not provided information on the whereabouts of Floridian Robert Levinson, who is the longest-held hostage in American history. Iran also continues its unjust detention of Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi.
Iran has expanded its support to proxy forces in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, which has been made easier by the $100 billion Tehran received because of the JCPOA. The head of designated terrorist group Hezbollah recently admitted that his group, which has the blood of Americans and Israelis on its hands, receives funding directly from Iran.
In January, Iran detained U.S. sailors in international waters and an investigation by the chief of naval operations noted that Iran “violated international law by impeding the boats’ innocent passage transit and they violated sovereign immunity by boarding, searching and seizing the boats and by photographing and videotaping the crew.”
Secretary of State John Kerry often seems to be more interested in acting as Iran’s de facto trade representative than holding Iran accountable for its actions.
This has been Iran’s record of continued and expanded aggression and provocation. Meanwhile, at every opportunity, Secretary of State John Kerry and other administration officials have encouraged foreign companies to do business with Iran’s terrorist-supporting regime and have attempted to provide Iran access to the U.S. financial system. Secretary of State John Kerry often seems to be more interested in acting as Iran’s de facto trade representative than holding Iran accountable for its actions.
One of the more egregious and recent concessions from this administration was allowing Boeing to sell aircraft to Iran nominally for use as commercial passenger aircraft. Iran has a history of using its airlines to ferry fighters and cargo to terrorist groups. In fact, Boeing even markets the ease of converting passenger aircraft for cargo use.
In response to these administration concessions and Iran’s dangerous and destabilizing behavior, I have joined with many of my colleagues in the Senate to try to pressure Iran.
We have introduced crushing new sanctions on Iran for its ongoing support for terrorism, the regime’s human-rights abuses, and its ballistic-missile program. We have made clear to the administration that Congress will block any attempt to allow Iran to access the U.S. financial system. We are working to ensure that taxpayer money cannot be used to finance Boeing’s dangerous deal with Tehran. We have also targeted Iran’s primary terrorist proxy Hezbollah, with the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, making it more difficult for that group to fund its terrorist activities.On today’s anniversary, the Obama administration will try to distract the American people by claiming it has ended Iran’s nuclear-weapons program. The reality is that the Iranian threat has not disappeared. Iran appears to be continuing its efforts to build up its nuclear capability, as recent reports from the German intelligence agency indicate.
Tehran has exploited the JCPOA to destabilize the region and expand its nefarious activities, including provocations against Americans and Israel. Those of us opposed to this fundamentally flawed deal are not going to give up. We will continue to fight to hold Tehran accountable for its actions even if President Obama continues to fail to do so.
— Marco Rubio represents Florida in the U.S. Senate.