Rep. Joe Kennedy (D – Mass.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D – Fla.) introduced a bipartisan bill to quicken the process for imposing sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, human rights violations, and support of terrorism, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
Describing Democrats as being “frustrated” and “losing patience” with the Obama administration for failing to take action against Iran over its two recent ballistic missile tests, which were conducted in contravention of United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, the Post reported that lawmakers “are introducing legislation to ensure the next time Iran violates U.S. or international sanctions in any way, they don’t have to wait on Obama to act.”
According to Kennedy, “No response is in effect, a response…if responses are nonexistent, ineffective or delayed, those are also responses.” He added, “When it comes to the enforcement mechanisms, Congress should be acting with the administration…there needs to be a mechanism to allow for stronger and more rapid response going forward.”
The effort was hailed by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D – Md.), the Democratic congressional whip, who issued a statement in support of the bill.
“The bipartisan legislation that Reps. Joe Kennedy and Ted Deutch introduced today in the House, along with the bill introduced by Reps. John Delaney and Kennedy, are important steps in the ongoing process of countering Iran’s aggression and blocking its support for terrorism. The introduction of these bills should send a strong signal to hardliners in Iran that backing terror or pursuing ballistic missile technologies – activities outside the scope of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) but still in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions – will merit decisive action from the Congress and our global partners.
“Iran’s ballistic missile tests in recent weeks served as a powerful reminder of why the United States and our allies must remain vigilant even as we move ahead with the JCPOA’s implementation. That agreement must be viewed within the context of Iran’s nuclear program, and any sanctions relief that Iran is able to earn through a full and verified adherence to its obligations under the JCPOA must have no bearing on sanctions that will remain in place or be expanded as a result of its other nefarious activities.
Last weekend, Hoyer criticized the administration’s inaction over Iran’s ballistic missile launches and warned, “These recent violations underscore Iran’s readiness to test the will of the international community, instigated by its hardline elements that want to scuttle the deal. That challenge must be met with a decisive response.”
A UN panel determined this past November that Iran’s October ballistic missile test violated Security Council resolution 1929.
Following the UN ruling and congressional pressure, the Obama administration at the end of December prepared to impose sanctions on companies and individuals involved in Iran’s illicit ballistic missile program. However, after protests from Tehran, the White House decided to put the sanctions on hold indefinitely.
[Photo: Joe Kennedy for Congress / YouTube ]