Washington, D.C. – Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) today wrote Secretary of State Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions encouraging them to reopen law enforcement cases wrongly hindered under the Obama administration that targeted individuals assisting Iran in its pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs.
Full text of the letter is below and a signed copy is available for download here.
April 25, 2017
Dear Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions:
As the Trump Administration reviews its policy toward Iran, we are writing to recommend that you revive law enforcement efforts unwisely abandoned by the Obama Administration to target individuals assisting Iran in its pursuit of its nuclear and missile programs in violation of U.S. law. Iran’s continued belligerence toward the U.S. and our allies is a vital national security threat that demands constant vigilance.
As you may know, a new Politico report indicates that Obama Administration “Justice and State Department officials denied or delayed requests from prosecutors and agents to lure some key Iranian fugitives to friendly countries so that they could be arrested.”
Indeed, this echoes Dr. David Albright’s testimony at a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing:
…out of a misplaced fear of negatively affecting the deal, the Obama administration also interfered in U.S. law enforcement efforts. During the negotiations and for some time afterwards, the administration blocked or did not process several extradition requests and lure memos aimed at arresting and convicting Iranians and their agents engaged in breaking U.S. export and sanctions laws. These actions, largely concentrated in the State Department, reportedly interfered with investigations and served to discourage new or on-going federal investigations of commodity trafficking involving Iran.
Needless to say, the Obama Administration appears to have done serious damage to our national security. To better understand the impact of the prior Administration’s interference in law enforcement investigations, and to ascertain whether there was excessive denial or non-processing of extradition requests and lure memos, we respectfully request that your agencies brief the Committee on law enforcement investigations delayed by the previous Administration.
At the same time, we hope you will evaluate the feasibility of re-opening any cases that were wrongly hindered. This, along with an administration-wide policy directive to encourage investigations of Iranian commodity trafficking efforts that includes a determined extradition process, should be an important part of a reinvigorated U.S. policy to address Iranian threats.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, and we look forward to receiving your response. We stand ready to support the Administration’s efforts to more aggressively investigate, indict, and extradite those involved in supplying Iran’s nuclear, missile, or conventional weapons programs in defiance of U.S. law.
Edward R. Royce
Member of Congress