White House Faces Bipartisan Pressure to Sanction Iran for Ballistic Missile Tests

Democratic and Republican lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives have called on the Obama administration to take action against Iran in light of its ballistic missile launches, which are in violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who voted for the Iran deal, urged the administration “to be engaged and strenuous” in the face of this violation, and to make sure that it enforced sanctions. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “The Obama administration and the U.N. Security Council must wake up and impose costs on Iran because clearly the current ballistic missile sanctions regime is ineffective.” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) released a statement asserting, “If the United Nations does not finally take action against these illegal missile tests, it once again calls into question the willingness to take action against Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement.”

Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.), who has introduced legislation called the Iran Ballistic Missile Prevention and Sanctions Act, added that “Iran’s ballistic missile tests this week show the need for stricter sanctions and for hyper vigilance” and called on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power to “bring Iran’s newest violations to the UNSC for immediate action. ” Ambassador Power in fact did so on Friday. Former Secretary of State and Democratic front-runner for the presidency Hillary Clinton stated unequivocally, “Iran should face sanctions for these activities [missile launches], and the international community must demonstrate that Iran’s threats toward Israel will not be tolerated.”

When he appeared in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress not to renew the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), which expires at the end of this year. “We have all the snapback power that we need without the ISA,” said Kerry, adding that Congress should give Iran time to show whether or not it will comply with the nuclear deal, which went into effect in January. At the hearing, Rep. Deutch asked Kerry, “Implementation day has now come and passed, it is 2016, the year in which this is going to expire, Mr. Secretary, if not now when?” Senators Corker and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are seeking to extend the ISA and add sanctions against Iran in response to its repeated ballistic missile launches. Cardin was quoted as saying, “It is important that Congress be pretty strong in the way that we make it clear that we won’t tolerate ballistic missile violations by Iran.”

[Photo: U.S. Senator Chris Coons / YouTube ]