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New bill pushes to make Iran sanctions permanent amid White House JCPOA

Lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday targeting Iran’s energy sector and making it more difficult to finance terrorist operations or develop ballistic missiles.

“It is absolutely critical that we prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapon capabilities and address the regime’s wide range of dangerous, hostile behavior,” Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, told Fox Digital. 

The congressman joined a bipartisan group to introduce the Solidify Iran Sanctions Act, including Reps. Susie Lee, D-Nev., and Michelle Steel, R-Calif.

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“I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle — not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans — to confront and contain Iranian aggression and ensure the safety of the American people, our ally Israel, and of all freedom-loving people in the Middle East. When dealing with the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, America must choose strength, not appeasement,” Rep. Joyce said.

HOUSE DEMS, GOP WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE IRAN SANCTIONS PERMANENT

As the Biden administration still negotiates the final details of a renewed nuclear deal with Iran, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at the Hudson Institute Thursday, addressing key concerns regarding America’s Iran policy.

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“It is a certainty that Iran will have the capability of building a nuclear weapons program if we reenter the agreement,” Pompeo said.

PUTIN WARNS WEST: THREAT TO RESORT TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS ‘NOT A BLUFF’

He added that discussions concerning JCPOA are “zombie talk.” “

“The truth is, they’re giving the Iranians money today, even with the sanctions in place, because as anyone who’s lived in this world knows, sanctions without enforcement are just a bad joke …,” Pompeo argued. 

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The former secretary argued the United States is losing leverage by pursuing the nuclear piece first and confronting the terror program second. 

“At least for now, the JCPOA … is the most effective means by which to permanently and verifiably ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said during an interview with Fox Digital.

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, second right, listens to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi while visiting an exhibition of Iran's new nuclear achievements in Tehran, Iran, in April 2021.

Iran still stands as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Michael Doran, senior fellow and director of the Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East at Hudson Institute, says a JCPOA purist is the centerpiece of the Biden administration policy on Iran.

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US SANCTIONS IRAN OFFICIALS, MORALITY POLICE OVER DEATH OF MAHSA AMINI

“The JCPOA is an instrument for engaging Iran and playing relations with it. They fundamentally believe in appeasing Iran … to reach a kind of accommodation with it over regional security,” Doran said.

The U.S. announced it would impose sanctions on senior Iran security officials and morality police following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained for allegedly failing to properly wear a hijab.

A police motorcycle burns during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police" in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 19, 2022. 

Through the Solidify Iran Sanctions Act, economic pressure would be placed on Iran’s energy sector, giving a clear signal the United States will not tolerate any existential threats.

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Doran says any effort to make the sanctions permanent is a laudatory effort, but he says they must be enforced.

“One of the problems that we have right now is that you can have sanctions on the books, and you can have the administration, in theory, enforcing the sanctions. But if it doesn’t actually enforce them, then they can be undermined,” he warned.

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