Testimony of Martin Indyk to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. Strategy Toward Iran

March 28, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me to address the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today on a matter of considerable import: the bipartisan legislation to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities. As well as imposing sanctions on the IRGC for the organization’s involvement in terrorism, and on individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, the CIDA legislation also mandates the Administration to:

…develop and submit to the appropriate Congressional committees a strategy for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities and threats that directly threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. 

While the legislation imposes sanctions designed to address the threat posed by Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it clearly seeks to embed that effort in a broader approach that contends with Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East. Developing that strategy is an urgent priority because Iran’s hegemonic ambitions threaten the interests of the United States and its Middle Eastern allies. Through the sponsorship of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Palestine Islamic Jihad, the control of Shia militias like the Badr Brigade in Iraq and the Liwa Fatemayoun in Syria (whose troops come from Afghanistan), the deployment of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods force, and the provision of missiles and other arms to Houthi rebels in Yemen and other proxies across the region, Iran has gone a long way to achieving its regional ambitions. It has established an “arc of influence” that stretches from Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea, across Syria in the Middle East heartland, to Iraq and Bahrain on the Gulf, and to Yemen on the Red Sea. 

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Read the full testimony below.

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