Vermont Press Releases

Leahy, others write Trump administration about Iran deal certification

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy
Sept. 20, 2017

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Leahy And Other Senior Dem. Senators Write Trump Administration About Iran Deal Certification, Seek Additional Information

“The President himself has twice certified that Iran is complying, and that continuing to abide by the agreement is in the vital national security interests of the United States. We are unaware of any information in the interim that would argue for a change in those determinations in October.”

WASHINGTON – Seven Senate national security Ranking Members wrote to senior Trump Administration officials Wednesday, reminding them of their legal obligations to report to Congress on potential Iranian breaches of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as mandated by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015.

“[INARA] requires the President to provide information to Congress on any potentially significant Iranian breach or compliance concern related to the JCPOA within ten calendar days of receiving the information. To date, the Senate has received no such notification and the Administration has provided little public testimony to Congress on the status of Iranian compliance with the agreement,” the Senators wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is the co-author of INARA. Joining him on the letter are his colleagues and fellow ranking members U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) of the Appropriations Committee; Dick Durbin of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee; Jack Reed (D-R.I.) of the Armed Services Committee; Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) of the Banking Committee; and Mark Warner (D-Va.) of the Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Senators request any changes in the Administration’s determination of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, be made in writing to the committees of jurisdiction by October 6.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Secretaries Tillerson, Mattis, Mnuchin, Perry and Director Coats:

In 2015, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). INARA established the framework for Congressional oversight of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.

This law requires the President to provide information to Congress on any potentially significant Iranian breach or compliance concern related to the JCPOA within ten calendar days of receiving the information. To date, the Senate has received no such notification and the Administration has provided little public testimony to Congress on the status of Iranian compliance with the agreement. The only such public testimony of which we are aware was that of Air Force General Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during his reconfirmation hearing in July before the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he noted that U.S. intelligence demonstrates that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the JCPOA. The International Atomic Energy Agency has also recently concluded, in its August 31, 2017 verification report, that Iran is in compliance, a view shared by our P5+1 partners. Indeed, the President himself has twice certified that Iran is complying, and that continuing to abide by the agreement is in the vital national security interests of the United States.

We are unaware of any information in the interim that would argue for a change in those determinations in October.

In light of the upcoming certification decision the President must make with respect to Iran’s compliance, if you are aware of any information that would suggest that Iran is no longer complying with the JCPOA, or that would lead the President to conclude that the continued suspension of sanctions is no longer in the vital national security interests of the United States, we request that you provide a written report containing such information and, as appropriate, public testimony promptly to the Senate Committees of jurisdiction with oversight over each of your agencies prior to October 6, 2017.

Sincerely,

United States Senators:
Benjamin L. Cardin
Patrick J. Leahy
Richard J. Durbin
Jack Reed
Maria Cantwell
Sherrod Brown
Mark R. Warner

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