Paul Ryan: Nuclear Deal Gives ‘Iran a Roadmap to a Full-Scale Nuclear Weapons Program’

Questions move to lift sanctions on Iranian terrorist entities

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan / AP
September 24, 2015

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is probing the Obama administration to discern whether, under the recent nuclear deal, U.S. sanctions on Iranian terrorist entities will be lifted along with restrictions on American companies doing business with them, according to a copy of a letter sent Tuesday to the White House.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) is petitioning the administration to reveal whether the nuclear deal will force the United States to waive sanctions on Iranian terrorist entities and individuals, a move that Ryan fears would enable American companies to do business with these groups.

Ryan also warns in the letter that the nuclear deal will give "Iran a road map to a full-scale nuclear weapons program combined with advanced missile systems that can deliver those weapons."

While U.S. companies are currently prohibited from doing business with Iran, President Obama could use his executive authority to lift these restrictions and waive financial penalties on Americans who begin working with Tehran.

"The agreement also gives Iran free rein to increase its support for terrorism," the lawmaker adds. "The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] weakens our allies in the Middle East, strengthens our enemies, and endangers America. The idea that a nuclear Iran can be deterred is unrealistic."

"Instead of opening pathways for Iran’s nuclear and terrorist agenda your administration should work with Congress to strengthen sanctions regimes until Iran changes its behavior," Ryan writes.

Ryan asks the administration to disclose whether it is considering waiving a portion of the Internal Revenue Code that disincentivizes investment in countries such as Iran. Under section 901(j)(5) of the tax code, Obama could use his authority to remove these restrictions.

"In light of the JCPOA and the statutory framework, has the administration made any direct or indirect commitment or promise of any kind, whether or not in writing, that you will exercise your waiver authority under Code section 901(j)(5) with respect to Iran?" Paul asks. "Furthermore, will you commit not to exercise the waiver authority under Code section 901(j)(5) with respect to Iran during the remainder of your term in office?"

Paul expresses further concern that the administration will waive sanctions on Iranian entities directly responsible for enabling terrorist groups.

"I understand that you plan to waive many key U.S. sanctions, even delisting entities that your administration has acknowledged support terrorism," he states in the letter. "This policy will almost immediately provide Iran access to, at a minimum, $100 billion to $150 billion of previously frozen funds, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars of increased investment and trade flows."

"These funds will give Iran significantly more resources to increase its support of terrorism and further destabilize an already volatile region," he writes. "Your policy raises serious questions about whether you intend to keep in place tax rules that discourage conducting business with Iran."