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WASHINGTON, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently joined 12 of her Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding that the Biden administration press for a broader, more permanent framework of sanctions on Iran from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The letter was led by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

On October 18, the United Nation’s (UN) sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs expired, and in October 2020, the UN’s conventional arms embargo against Iran expired. Both expirations are delayed consequences of the Obama administration’s Iran Nuclear Deal. 

“[Iran’s] systemic support of terror merits broader, permanent treatment by the UN Security Council. If the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China wish to demonstrate their opposition to the UN Charter’s call to advance peace and security, it would provide important clarity to other nations suffering from Iranian terror threats of their true allegiances,”
 wrote the Senators.

“A new UNSC resolution should target the same activity the UN permanently sanctioned prior to the 2015 enactment of Resolution 2231, including … involvement in Iran’s enrichment, reprocessing, and heavy water production; assistance with its ballistic missile testing, development, and launches; transfer of nuclear and missile technology to Iran; transfer of conventional weapons, rockets, and drones to and from Iran. It should also add a multilateral prohibition on the import of Iranian oil, petroleum products, metals, or investment in its energy sector, essentially multi-lateralizing the objective of American secondary sanctions in these areas,”
 the Senators continued.

The Senators argued that Iran’s material support for terrorist organizations poses a significant threat to the world and merits strong sanctions, just like Iran’s nuclear program — especially following the recent Hamas attack on Israel.

In addition to Senators Fischer and Sullivan, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Katie Boyd Britt (R-Ala.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Read the full letter here or below. 

The Honorable Antony Blinken
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We were dismayed to witness the October 18, 2023 expiration of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs. We urge you to table a new comprehensive framework for Iran-related sanctions that supersedes UNSC Resolution 2231 and lays the groundwork in advance of the resolution’s slated termination in October 2025.

Iran’s nuclear program remains the number one long-term threat to stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. However, this is not the only threat the Iranian regime poses. Iran’s material support for terrorist organizations like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and other proxy forces in the Middle East are front and center in the current crisis in Israel, as is Tehran’s assistance for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Iran, according to the State Department’s own “Country Reports on Terrorism,” is the world’s “leading sponsor of state terrorism”, “involved in supporting terrorist recruitment, financing, and plots across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.”

This systemic support of terror merits broader, permanent treatment by the UN Security Council. If the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China wish to demonstrate their opposition to the UN Charter’s call to advance peace and security, it would provide important clarity to other nations suffering from Iranian terror threats of their true allegiances.

In addition to the expiry in October 2020 of the UN’s conventional arms embargo against Iran, the most recent expiration of sanctions on ballistic missiles and drones leaves the world with a rapidly evaporating UN framework for multilateral sanctions on Iran at precisely the time the threat from Iran has become so menacingly clear.

A new UNSC resolution should target the same activity the UN permanently sanctioned prior to the 2015 enactment of Resolution 2231, including the following:

  • Involvement in Iran’s enrichment, reprocessing, and heavy water production.
  • Assistance with its ballistic missile testing, development, and launches.
  • Transfer of nuclear and missile technology to Iran.
  • Transfer of conventional weapons, rockets, and drones to and from Iran.


It should also add a multilateral prohibition on the import of Iranian oil, petroleum products, metals, or investment in its energy sector, essentially multi-lateralizing the objective of American secondary sanctions in these areas.

We are under no illusions that this will be easy. Beijing and Moscow have made common cause with each other and Iran to undermine the global operating system in support of liberty that we have forged in cooperation with our allies over the last 80 years. The U.S. must open a conversation with those same allies about the path forward should UNSC Resolution 2231 sanctions expire permanently in 2025.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you as you develop a much needed new approach to Iran.

Sincerely,

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