Now that Congress has had its say and the Iran nuclear deal stands, it is time to move forward and take steps to contain the fallout. To that end, bipartisan cooperation will be key.
The agreement will not definitively prevent a nuclear Iran. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that after 15 years, Iran will be able to sprint to a nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. But it does buy time.
We call on Congress and the administration to immediately take action to limit Iranian aggression and protect U.S. interests and allies, without breaching the agreement. The following recommendations will help in that effort:
- Pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force covering not just the ongoing campaign against ISIS, but potential action against the Assad regime in Syria as well.
- Reassure the leaders of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other regional allies of U.S. commitment to their security. This should include developing a regional missile defense shield and sharing intelligence and defensive military capacity.
- Reinstate the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system to protect the United States and Europe from the ballistic missiles that Iran will be allowed to pursue.
- Strengthen U.S. sanctions on Iranian entities and officials tied to terrorism and human rights violations. Reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act now, even though it lapses next year, to signal resolve to enforce existing and new non-nuclear sanctions.
- Treasury should enhance its efforts to tighten international counter-terrorist financing to prevent Iran from transferring the proceeds of sanctions relief to Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. This may require more resources as well as greater authority from Congress.
- Immediately lift the U.S. crude oil export ban. It makes no sense to allow Iran to market its oil internationally while preventing competition from U.S. producers. U.S. crude would directly compete with Iranian oil, weakening Iran’s international leverage and economic spoils. Also invest in technology innovation to reduce U.S. reliance on oil.
- Ensure full funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency to properly conduct inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The immediate congressional review period is over. We must now begin taking steps to deal with the deal.