Congress will require that the Biden administration come clean about how economic sanctions relief for Iran would impact the regime's ability to conduct terror attacks.
Written into the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the sprawling annual defense spending bill, is a provision mandating the Biden administration account for every dollar Iran receives as a result of sanctions being lifted. This is the first time such strenuous reporting requirements have been forced on an administration, and they are part of a larger bid by Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress to expose how negotiations with Iran will end up enriching the country's terrorist allies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. The NDAA passed the House on Tuesday and is expected to pass the Senate this week.
"Iran is the world's leading state-sponsor of murder and terrorism," Sen. Roger Marshall (R., Kan.), the provision's chief Senate sponsor, told the Washington Free Beacon. "They actively fund violence against America and her allies and partners. The inclusion of this amendment in the NDAA will reveal what we've known all along—the Biden administration’s disastrous negotiations and attempts to lift sanctions on the Iranian regime will only embolden them to continue spreading terror."
The requirements come as the Biden administration restarts negotiations aimed at securing a new Iran nuclear deal. Marshall and his colleagues in the House told the Free Beacon that the Biden administration claims Iran will use sanctions relief to aid its people and rebuild its economy—claims made by the Obama administration during its diplomacy with Iran, which included billions of dollars in sanctions relief. In reality, Iran spent this money on its nuclear program and regional terrorist proxies.
As part of the new reporting requirements, the Biden Pentagon will also be required to provide Congress with an assessment of how sanctions relief benefits Iran's military infrastructure, including its paramilitary fighting brigades and ballistic missile program. The measure was spearheaded by the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, and received bipartisan support. The RSC championed these new reporting requirements as part of its larger push to stop the Biden administration from granting Iran full-scale sanctions relief.
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), the RSC's chair and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon that this is "the only legislative provision that will pass this year to hold the Biden administration accountable for its plans to lift sanctions on Iran and go back into Obama's failed deal, or even worse."
"These provisions will provide unprecedented transparency to Congress which didn't even exist during the run up to JCPOA," Banks said, "and will allow us to know in real time whether any sanctions relief provided by Biden will end up in the hands of terrorists who want to do us harm."
The NDAA includes other provisions meant to increase pressure on Iran as the Biden administration engages in diplomacy.
The administration is banned from using any funds appropriated by Congress in the funding bill on delivering Iran "pallets of currency," a reference to the Obama administration’s 2016 decision to award Iran with $1.7 billion in cash to secure the release of American hostages.
Congress also for the first time prohibited taxpayer funds from going to Iraq's Badr Corps, a militia group that is supported by Iran and integral to Iraq's security services. The corps is not designated as a terror group, despite GOP efforts.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R., Texas), who spearheaded the Iran provisions in the House, told the Free Beacon it is Congress's job to block the Biden administration from refilling the Iranian regime’s coffers.
"Joe Biden has tried to befriend the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism merely because he wants to undo President Trump’s successful foreign policy work, and he has empowered terrorist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis in the process," Jackson said. "Since Joe Biden won’t stand up to Iranian aggression, Congress will. I'm pleased that the final NDAA includes my provision to assess the impact that sanctions on Iran will have on the military capabilities of these Iran-backed terrorist groups. I look forward to seeing it become law."