Senate Republicans: U.S. Business Dealings With Iran Are 'Doomed to Fail'

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May 12, 2021

As the Biden administration prepares to lift sanctions on Iran, Senate Republicans are warning U.S. business leaders that any ventures with the Islamic Republic are "doomed to fail."

In a letter Wednesday, more than a dozen Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas), and Marco Rubio (Fla.), told members of leading business advocacy groups that staunch GOP opposition to sanctions relief would imperil potential business dealings with the regime.

"If U.S. sanctions on Iran were temporarily lifted and these firms decided to reenter the Iran market, not only would they be engaging with a corrupt and capricious regime, they would be investing in ventures doomed to fail," the lawmakers wrote to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Financial Services Forum, and Business Roundtable. The Republicans said any Biden administration agreement with Iran "will not survive" if the GOP regains the White House in 2024 and warned future Republican majorities in Congress would "severely" restrict sanctions relief.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden has reversed course on the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran as his administration pushes for a renewed nuclear deal with the regime. The White House is considering a wide array of concessions to entice Iran to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal struck by former president Barack Obama, the Washington Free Beacon reported last week.

Although the Biden administration is preparing to grant economic relief to Tehran, the Republicans said U.S. businesses that enter the Iranian market "would also risk exposure to individuals and companies that are intertwined with the malign activities of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism."

Both Democrats and Republicans have voiced opposition to rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal. In their letter, Senate Republicans said the White House must seek "broad and bipartisan support" on any agreement with the Islamic Republic. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable did not return requests for comment. The Financial Services Forum declined to comment.