Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday joined with House Republicans in unveiling a bill to impose sanctions on the regime in Iran — renewing a push for sanctions he led during the Trump administration.
Pompeo joined Republicans on the Republican Study Committee led by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., in unveiling the “Maximum Pressure Act,” which would include measures that would require any new deal with the regime to be ratified by the Senate, as well as codifying into law the sanctions slapped on Iran during the Trump-era.
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“America, our ally, Israel and the world are safer because President Trump’s Maximum Pressure policy and crushing sanctions denied the Iranians the resources they needed to support building a nuclear weapon or to support terrorism around the globe,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The bill would also expand sanctions, slapping measures on Iran’s ballistic missile program, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian-backed terror groups in the Middle East.
The Biden administration has taken steps to reverse Trump’s maximum pressure strategy, which saw the U.S. leave the 2015 Iran deal in 2018, and re-impose waves of sanctions on Tehran.
The Biden administration has indicated it is open to rejoin the deal, and has ended a Trump-era push to snapback U.N. sanctions that expired as part of the deal — including an arms embargo that expired last year. It was Pompeo who spearheaded that push.
Earlier this month, envoys from Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran met in Vienna to discuss ways to get Iran and U.S. back into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the U.S. was due to start its own indirect talks with Iran.
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Republicans, as well as Pompeo, opposed the U.S. re-entering the deal.
“Rejoining the failed Iranian nuclear deal would come at great cost,” he said. “I’m proud to support the legislation Congressman Banks is introducing to ensure we stick to our America First policy and never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”
The legislation sends a signal of the opposition Biden will face from Republicans, as well as some Democrats, over a possible re-entry into the deal and a softer approach toward Tehran.
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“President Biden has already demonstrated a troubling pattern of using tough rhetoric but pursuing the same, failed appeasement policies as his predecessor President Obama,” Banks said. “His foreign policy can best be summarized: ‘Speak loudly and carry a twig.’”
Talks in Vienna were dealt a blow last week when Iran announced it was enriching uranium Friday to its highest level ever, edging closer to weapons-grade levels — part of a strategy to put pressure on the talks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.