Republicans are criticizing President Biden’s move to give up on a Trump-era push to reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran, as the administration takes a warmer tone toward Tehran.
“This is outrageous and dangerous. Biden just legalized Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping selling arms to Iran,” Rep Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said. “Why?”
“I agree Joe,” responded Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., who is on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees. “Why is Biden lifting U.N. sanctions banning Putin from selling arms to Iran? Seems to warrant an investigation…”
The reaction comes to a move by the Biden administration to end the Trump administration’s position on the “snapback” of U.N. sanctions on Tehran.
The Trump administration triggered the “snapback” mechanism in August, which would restore all U.N. sanctions that expired under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. That move came after a failed effort by the U.S. to extend an arms embargo on Iran that was set to expire in October as part of the 2015 deal and barred the regime from buying and selling arms from allies.
However, that effort to snap back the sanctions was rejected by the U.N. Security Council, which said the U.S. had no authority to use the mechanism since it was part of the deal from which the U.S. had withdrawn.
Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed the U.N. arguments, claiming it was part of the accompanying U.N. resolution of which the U.S. was still a participant.
However, the Biden administration has sought to take a different approach to the Iranian regime and has sought to re-enter the Iran deal. As part of that, the State Department said a letter had been sent to the Council reversing the U.S. position on the snapback.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called Biden’s posture toward Iran “nothing short of reckless.”
“Not long after Iranian-backed forces attacked Americans in Iraq, President Biden is desperately trying to re-enter a failed deal and provide sanctions relief to the Iranian regime,” Rubio said in a statement. “The President must make clear that he understands that Khamenei cannot be trusted to honor international agreements, and that the United States will not play into the hands of the Iranians for the next four years.”
The move by the administration is one of a number of moves to reverse Trump-era foreign policy. Biden has re-entered the U.S. in the Paris climate deal and has halted the withdrawal of the U.S. from the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a speech to European leaders on Friday, Biden indicated he was trying to turn the page on the Trump era.
“I’m sending a clear message to the world, America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back and we’re not looking backward, we’re looking forward together,” he said during a virtual address to the annual Munich Security Conference.