Leading GOP Lawmakers to Trump: You’re Getting Bad Advice on Iran

GOP hawks demand president stop permitting Iran nuclear work

U.S. Capitol
Getty Images
November 5, 2019

Three of the leading anti-Iran voices in Congress have joined together to warn President Donald Trump that he is being given bad advice on Iran, according to a joint statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon that demands the administration stop issuing sanctions waivers permitting Iran to continue sensitive nuclear work.

The Free Beacon first reported on Monday that Senators Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) have teamed up to forward legislation that will mandate the Trump administration stop granting Iran with sanctions exceptions that have allowed work to take place at several contested nuclear sites, including an underground bunker that once housed the regime’s atomic weapons program.

Cheney is introducing the legislation in the House, while Cruz and Graham are working on a parallel version in the Senate.

The joint statement is another sign of increasing frustration among GOP hawks. In one of the most public criticisms on the issue by Republicans to date, the lawmakers now accuse Trump’s advisers of giving him misguided advice on Iran.

"These waivers dangerously increase the risk of proliferation and whoever is advising President Trump otherwise is doing a disservice to him and the country," the lawmakers said in the joint statement. "Instead, there are two actions the president should take immediately to tear up the nuclear deal once and for all. First, end these waivers. Second, he should order our diplomats to invoke the United Nations snapback to restore international sanctions and restrictions on Iran."

The joint statement comes as Iran continues to walk back its commitments under the landmark nuclear agreement. Iran has installed advanced nuclear centrifuges capable of quickly enriching uranium to levels needed to build a weapon in direct violation of the accord.

"Today’s news reports confirm what we’ve known all along: Iran has been exploiting the civil-nuclear waivers from the catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration has continued to issue, to buy time and build up their nuclear facilities before openly returning to illicit activities in those very facilities," Cruz, Graham, and Cheney said. "It was entirely predictable that eventually Iran would go back to enriching uranium at their Fordow nuclear bunker, which they dug out of the side of a mountain so they could build nuclear weapons."

The lawmakers vow to work with allies in Congress to forward legislation that will prevent the Trump administration from issuing any further waivers. The legislation also would end all remaining U.S. commitments made in the Obama administration’s deal.

"We intend to work with our colleagues in Congress to reverse the civil-nuclear waivers and hold Iran accountable," the lawmakers said.