Iran’s illicit nuclear program and support for international terrorism represent a significant threat to the US and an existential threat to Israel. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015, negotiated by President Obama allows Iran to enrich uranium after 10 years, construct nuclear facilities after 15 years achieve almost immediate nuclear breakout after 13-15 years, assuming that it complies with the terms of the JCPOA, which are entirely voluntary. Iran’s ballistic missile development program, conventional weapons procurement program and support for terrorism are not included in the JCPOA.
CIPAC congratulates the House and Senate for Public Law 115-44 the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
In addition to sanctions imposed on Russia and North Korea, P.L .115-44 imposes new sanctions and strengthens existing financial sanctions against those involved in Iran’s ballistic missile development program, including Iranian government agencies, as well as any foreign entity, involved in Iran’s ballistic missile development.
Sanctions were supposed to remain in place as an important element in bringing pressure against Iran to discontinue development of ballistic missiles and discontinue support for terrorism. They were emasculated by the Obama administration, providing a greater ability for businesses in Asia, Europe and North America to invest in Iran (estimated to be worth an additional $50 billion a year to Iran’s economy).
By undermining the international sanctions regime and weakening diplomatic consensus, Iran has been able to narrow the non-military options available for stopping Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability.
Iran has made clear its intention to continue pursuing a nuclear weapons capability despite its agreement to the terms of the JCPOA.
Ballistic missiles, including ICBMs, are designed to have nuclear warheads for delivery to Israel, Europe, Asia and America. The missiles flaunted by Iran in military parades often have slogans written on them making clear that they are intended for Israel, which Iran calls “the Little Satan”, or for the US, which Iran calls “the Great Satan”.
In the two years prior to the JPOA, Iran did not carry out any ballistic missile tests. However, during the first year after the JPOA was in force (2015-2016), Iran repeatedly and flagrantly carried out ballistic missile tests on October 10 and November 21 of 2015 and on March 8-9, May 9 and July 11-12 of 2016, and then again on January 29 of 2017.
We know that Iran is closely cooperating with the rogue regime in North Korea on ballistic missiles and possibly on nuclear research. North Korea has recently been carrying out a number of tests of ballistic missiles, including one that reached heights that could permit it to reach Europe and America. Obviously, such missiles, fitted with nuclear warheads, represent a grave threat to the US and many other countries.
It is clear that the Iranian regime is taking advantage of the deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to continue its support of terrorism and threatening behavior towards U.S. allies in the Middle East, most particularly Israel, where the threat of an Iranian nuclear missile remains the most significant danger to the only democratic government in the region.
CIPAC urges Congress support President Trump in decertifying Iran compliance with the JCPOA
Congress should support President Trump as he moves to dismantle the JCPOA and impose real constraints on the Iran nuclear weapons program. As detailed by such analysts as Omri Ceren of the Israel Project, Iran clearly is not complying with the JCPOA in a number of respects. Thus the President should decline to certify that Iran is in compliance at the next benchmark in October. A plan of other steps needed when the President decertifies Iran is laid out in a paper from Ambassador John Bolton in National Review, August 28, 2017, which we recommend the Administration adopt, and the Congress endorse.