President Joe Biden has made it clear that he is open to reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that was scuttled by his predecessor.
After the president openly discussed the possibility of lifting sanctions while indirectly negotiating with members of the Iranian regime, however, a surge in attacks by the Hamas terrorist group in Palestine has resulted in renewed GOP backlash over the idea.
“Funded by Iran”
According to reports, a sizable group of Republican officials is demanding that ongoing negotiations ceased and any possible sanctions relief be immediately discarded.
The demands come as Hamas and other anti-Israel organizations launched thousands of rockets toward Israel over the past week. Though most of them have been intercepted by the nation’s advanced Iron Dome defense system, there have been civilian casualties reported on both sides.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and 43 of his GOP colleagues in the Senate signed on to the letter sent to Biden on Wednesday, which cited undeniable links between Iran and Hamas they claimed would ensure that any sanctions relief would result in increased financial support for terrorism.
“Over the past couple days, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, who are funded by Iran, have launched a series of rocket attacks into Israel. They are targeting Israeli civilians and cities, including Israel’s capital Jerusalem,” the senators wrote.
Describing the “troubling” nature of U.S.-Iran negotiations in “light of these recent attacks by Hamas against Israel,” they asserted that “the United States should take all steps necessary to hold Tehran accountable and under no circumstances, provide sanctions relief to Iran.”
“Engaging in active negotiations”
Just two weeks ago, NBC News reported that the Biden administration touted supposed progress in its indirect negotiation process being conducted in Vienna, Austria.
Those talks reportedly hinged on a discussion of easing or entirely lifting certain economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. State Department spokesperson Ned Price admitted that some sanctions would need to be lifted in order to convince Iran to return to compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal.
Critics immediately shot back that any economic relief for Iran would almost certainly translate to a financial boon to militant and terrorist forces that have relied heavily on Iran for support.
Noting that Hamas has been formally designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, the GOP senators wrote in their letter that “engaging in active negotiations with Iran and potentially providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief will no doubt contribute to Iran’s support of Hamas and other terrorist organizations who attack Americans and our allies.”
The letter concluded by describing Biden as a “longtime friend of the Jewish state,” urging him to “unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against any and all terrorist attacks.”