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Pompeo appears with GOP to unveil new Iran sanctions bill to counter Biden

Then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Press Club, Jan. 12, 2021. (State Department/Released)
April 22, 2021

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has backed legislation by House Republicans that seeks to codify sanctions on Iran imposed by former President Donald Trump.

The former top diplomat joined Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) on the Republican Study Committee in presenting the Maximum Pressure Act, which he described as “the toughest sanctions bill on Iran ever proposed by Congress.” The measure would require that all new deals with Iran be ratified by the Senate, in addition to codifying Trump-era sanctions.

“America, our ally, Israel and the world are safer because President Trump’s Maximum Pressure policy and crushing sanctions denied the Iranians the resources they needed to support building a nuclear weapon or to support terrorism around the globe,” Pompeo said in a statement to Fox News

The bill would also impose measures on Iran’s ballistic missile program, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iranian-backed terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The legislation comes as President Joe Biden has reportedly agreed to Iran’s demands to lift certain sanctions, including oil and finance, in exchange for gaining Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

Pompeo and GOP lawmakers strongly oppose re-entering the deal that then-President Trump pulled out of in 2018. The deal had afforded Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear capabilities, but after leaving the deal, the U.S. started a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, re-imposing expired sanctions and implementing new ones.

“Rejoining the failed Iranian nuclear deal would come at great cost,” Pompeo said. “I’m proud to support the legislation Congressman Banks is introducing to ensure we stick to our America First policy and never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.” 

Representative Banks said the president might use strong language against the Middle Eastern regime, but his actions are weak.

“President Biden has already demonstrated a troubling pattern of using tough rhetoric but pursuing the same, failed appeasement policies as his predecessor President Obama,” Banks said. “His foreign policy can best be summarized: ‘Speak loudly and carry a twig.’”

On Thursday, Pompeo reiterated his opposition to rejoining the deal, tweeting, “Don’t let the Left fool you – the Iran Deal was, and still is, a terrible deal for America.”

Earlier this month, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the nation would not communicate, either directly or indirectly, with the United States in Vienna during planned talks on reviving the nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers.

“Iran’s policy in this regard is clear and simple: the United States must return to the Vienna nuclear agreement, fulfill the deal in accordance with the treaty, and lift sanctions against Iran,” said Araqchi, who heads the Iranian delegation.