In a joint letter on December 15, 21 U.S. representatives issued a bipartisan letter calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken for adopting a decisive approach to the theocratic government in Iran. They expressed their “growing concern with Iran’s advancing nuclear program and continued failure to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.”
Representatives include Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tom Cole (R-OK), Jim Costa (D-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Ronny L. Jackson (R-TX), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Mo Brooks (R-AL).
“As your administration continues to explore diplomatic options, Iran has been advancing its nuclear program to dangerous levels. At the same time, there is a strong bipartisan consensus in Congress that Iran must be prevented from ever acquiring a nuclear weapons capability,” representatives added.
For several months, authorities in Iran have crippled the IAEA’s monitoring capabilities by denying inspectors access to key nuclear sites, where Tehran is producing advanced centrifuges.
During recent weeks, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi has issued consistent warnings to the Board of Governors concerning Iran’s refusal to answer questions regarding previously undisclosed nuclear activity and overall failure to comply with its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations.
“As a result, stop-gap measures to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities are no longer “intact,” according to Grossi. Yet the U.S. led no effort, and the Board took no action, to press Iran to change policy,” U.S. lawmakers emphasized.
They also reminded the statement made by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono on November 25 at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting. “It is imperative that the Board break the current pattern of Iran’s eleventh-hour attempts to undercut Board unity and forestall Board action in the face of continued Iranian noncooperation,” Bono had stated.
Representatives also warned the U.S. Secretary of State about his administration’s eagerness for reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) goes further the importance of the international conventions.
“Iran’s continuous efforts to degrade monitoring capabilities and refusal to answer questions on undisclosed nuclear activity undermine the authority of the IAEA and the legitimacy of the NPT. These issues go far beyond the JCPOA and speak directly to Iran’s compliance with the NPT and its safeguards agreement with the agency,” representatives mentioned.
In March, Grossi underscored the seriousness of Iran’s increased enrichment levels, noting that “a country enriching at 60 percent is a very serious thing — only countries making bombs are reaching this level.”
“Thus far, the new Iranian government has shown no willingness to cooperate with the international community and resolve these transgressions. It is vital that the United States lead the way in holding Iran accountable for its violations of international agreements and clearly demonstrate to the Iranians that there is a high price for intransigence,” lawmakers wrote.
“Without a show of resolve, Iran will likely assume that American desire to return to the JCPOA has outweighed its need to address the IAEA’s concerns. We appreciate the administration’s many statements expressing determination to ensure that Iran can never acquire nuclear weapons,” they underscored.
“The Administration must demonstrate clearly to the Iranians that there will be a high cost for continued refusal to cooperate with the IAEA,” they wrote in their letter.