WASHINGTON –-(ENEWSPF)–October 1, 2015. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mark Warner (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), today introduced the Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015, legislation that builds upon the bipartisan commitment to oversight outlined in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 that passed the U.S. Senate 98 to 1.
Cosponsors of the legislation include Democratic senators who both supported and opposed the Iran agreement, but are united in working to strengthen U.S. policy toward Iran and to clarify aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that is set to take effect.
The legislation includes a regional security strategy for the Middle East and authorizes additional security assistance for Israel.
“For this nuclear agreement to be successful, there must be zero tolerance for cheating by Iran,” said Senator Wyden. “When it comes to the duplicitous and untrustworthy Iranian regime, the United States and our allies need every ounce of deterrence at our disposal in order to hold Iran’s leaders to their commitments, which is why we’re introducing this legislation today.”
“The JCPOA will be implemented and we must now focus on how best to make this agreement succeed by strengthening U.S. policy toward Iran and bolstering our strategic plan for a very volatile Middle East region,” said Senator Cardin. “Previously, U.S. policy toward Iran was so effective because of the congressional unity that brought Democrats and Republicans together on this issue. We as Democratic opponents and supporters of the Iran agreement are taking the first step forward to chart a new course that borrows from past practice. We must all stand firmly in our determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We must agree to counter Iranian support for terrorism and confront Iranian violations of international human rights obligations. We must rally together to accomplish these objectives.”
“This bill was drafted by senators who supported and did not support the JCPOA to help develop a cohesive strategy for U.S. policies toward Iran and the region,” said Senator Bennet. “It will strengthen implementation of the nuclear agreement and reiterate our support for Israel. It reiterates that all options, including the use of force, remain available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Through increased cooperation with our partners, it will help counter Iranian-backed terrorism and contribute to long-term interdiction and non-proliferation efforts in the region. This is the beginning of a long process in which Congress has an important role to play and Senator Cardin deserves great credit for the leadership he has exhibited on this bill.”
“This proposal strengthens and improves the agreement – while in no way contradicting or undermining it – by providing vital oversight and vigorous enforcement to prevent a nuclear armed Iran,” said Senator Blumenthal. “It confirms by law that a nuclear-armed Iran will never be permitted; reaffirms our dedication to sanctions related to terror financing and human rights abuses; and assures that our allies, especially Israel, will be provided with enhanced assets needed to deter Iran. The proposal seeks a regional strategy that pushes back against Iran’s malign, destabilizing influence – an approach hopefully bringing together both Republicans and Democrats. I support Congress taking additional steps, consistent with the Iran nuclear agreement, to crack down on the growing threat of Hezbollah and other terrorist extremists, and assure that verification and inspection are strictly enforced.”
“Now that the Iran nuclear deal will move forward, it is critical that Congress works with the Administration to strengthen the agreement and minimize any potential negative consequences,” said Senator Coons. “The Iran Policy Oversight Act will address the issues not resolved by the Iran deal, including reminding Iran that we reserve all options, including the military option, if it tries to break out towards a bomb, strengthening support for our allies and partners in the region, and pushing back against Iran’s support for terrorist proxies. I urge my colleagues to put aside partisan bickering and pass this bill to ensure the U.S. leads our partners in strictly enforcing this deal from day one.”
“This bill is a positive step forward that helps enhance the United States’ ability to enforce and monitor the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” said Senator Schumer. As Israel continues to face threats from Iran, we need to make sure the United States can provide the necessary security assistance to help Israel deter and counter those threats, and this bill does exactly that.
“While I believe the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is our best option available to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Congress can and should shore up some of the agreement’s weaker points,” said Senator Warner. “I join my colleagues – both supporters and opponents of the JCPOA – to introduce this legislation that clarifies that Congress retains the ability to pass sanctions against Iran, explains that the agreement does not shield foreign companies if sanctions must be re-imposed, and codifies our intent to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge.”
“While my colleagues and I may have come to different conclusions on the Iran deal, we are united in our dedication to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, whatever it takes,” said Senator Booker. “In the interest of America’s national security and that of our allies, it is imperative that we move forward with unified vigilance and an unwavering commitment to hold Iran accountable. I am pleased to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that strengthens our policy towards Iran.”
“The Iran Policy Oversight Act will strengthen the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, enhance Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, and provide greater assurances to our partners in the Middle East,” said Senator Schatz. “In particular, this bill will establish a multiyear process to help the United States monitor how Iran is using the funds it receives as a result of sanctions relief and determine if any of that money is being diverted, directly or indirectly, to support terrorism. Importantly, it will help ensure that the United States has the resources it needs to counter Iranian aggression and human rights abuses in the region and that, should Iran violate this historic nuclear agreement incrementally or abruptly, we have the resources to respond in an appropriate and measured way.”
The Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015 overview.