GOP Vows to Block Biden Giving Iran Sanctions Relief Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Thursday, 08 April 2021 01:34 PM
While the Biden administration is talking about relaxing sanctions on Iran in order to facilitate a new nuclear deal, Republican leaders in Congress are vowing to block any deal that promises sanctions relief.
Republicans leaders of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees wrote a warning to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that any deal the Biden administration makes with Iran must be brought before Congress, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
"As members of Congress, a co-equal branch of the federal government, we do not consider ourselves bound by executive agreements which purport to make commitments on behalf of the Congress of the United States," Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Joe Wilson, R-S.C., wrote in the letter obtained by the Free Beacon.
The original Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) made by the Obama administration in 2015 was infamously forged without congressional approval.
The State Department is prepared to remove sanctions on Iran to resume compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, including those that are inconsistent with the 2015 pact, it announced Wednesday.
"We are prepared to take the steps necessary to return to compliance with the JCPOA, including by lifting sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. "I am not in a position here to give you chapter and verse on what those might be."
The lack of congressional approval made it possible for the Trump administration to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. The Biden administration argues former President Donald Trump pulling out of the JCPOA has taken away all U.S. oversight of Iran's weapons programs.
The House GOP letter signals another withdrawal from any deal Biden forges will be withdrawn by the next Republican administration, according to the Free Beacon.
Any "work to reverse" the "sanctions relief for Iran," will be immediately opposed by congressional Republicans, Reps. Banks and Wilson's letter read.
"I agree with Blinken's comments last January, we must restore Congress' role in foreign policy," Banks told the Free Beacon. "Any deal with Iran should be submitted to the Senate as a treaty for ratification, and Congress should have an up or down vote on the lifting of any sanctions."
The letter also rebuked the Biden administration's "troubling pattern of ignoring congressional oversight" in the first few months in office.
"Blinken testified under oath that he wanted to restore the role of Congress in foreign policy, yet the administration has refused to commit to adhering to the bipartisan INARA law, and has refused to submit the failed Iran nuclear deal to the Senate as a treaty for ratification," Wilson told the Free Beacon.
"Congress must have a role," he continued, adding and the GOP "will continue to push back against the administration's attempts to bypass Congress."