Dear President Trump,
We write to urge you to increase pressure on Iran’s nuclear program, in the aftermath of Iran publicly violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by stockpiling more than 300kg of low-enriched uranium and threatening further violations within weeks. Regime officials have signaled they intend to creep towards a nuclear weapon, while demanding concessions and promising to “reverse” their violations if their demands are met. We urge you to reject their nuclear blackmail.
Two years ago, you correctly decided that the JCPOA gave Iran too much while imposing restrictions that were too little, and that the United States would no longer “continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.” Last year you correctly reimposed economic pressure on the regime to begin reversing the catastrophic effects of the deal and pressure them into negotiating a better one.
We urge you to respond to Iran’s nuclear violations this week by increasing pressure on their nuclear program as well.
First, your administration has continued to issue civil-nuclear waivers allowing Iran to build up its nuclear program as part of an effort to “maintain the nuclear status quo with Iran until a better deal can be negotiated,” including at their Fordow centrifuge facility, a military bunker which they dug into the side of a mountain so they could build nuclear weapons there. The Iranians have now changed the nuclear status quo and are trying to create a new normal of minor violations that will enable their creep toward a nuclear weapon. We urge you to end these waivers.
Second, your administration has refrained from invoking the snapback mechanism in United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231, which if invoked would restore international restrictions against Iranian uranium enrichment, plutonium-related heavy water work, and ballistic missile development. Paragraph 10 of UNSCR 2231 defines the United States as a participant for the purpose of invoking the mechanism. We urge you to do so.
The JCPOA was built to enable Iranian cheating. It disempowered the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspection and reporting authorities to find violations, incentivized other parties to preserve the deal by ignoring whatever violations were found, and when necessary pressuring the Joint Commission (JC) to issue still-confidential side deals that redefined noncompliance as compliance, allowing Iran to keep more material than specified in the public version of the JCPOA.
As a result, hundreds of billions of dollars flowed into Iran, allowing the Iranians to boost its military and terrorist activities regionally and globally, even as they maintained nuclear weapons infrastructure, periodically exceeded restrictions on nuclear materials, and inched toward the deal’s promise of an unrestricted civilian nuclear program. When Iran’s nuclear weapons infrastructure was recently unveiled by Israel in the form of the Nuclear Archive, the IAEA allowed several months to elapse as the Iranian regime scrubbed nuclear weapons-related sites revealed by the Archive, while other parties in the deal downplayed Iran’s violation. That’s how the deal was always supposed to work, that’s how it did work, and that’s why it is imperative that the United States now respond forcefully to Iran’s systematic violations by ending civil-nuclear waivers and invoking the U.N. snapback.
As always, we stand ready to provide you and your administration with whatever resources you need to continue rolling back Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear malign activities.
Ted Cruz, United States Senator
Tom Cotton, United States Senator
Marco Rubio, United States Senator