Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have attacked the Biden administration for lifting sanctions last week on three former Iranian officials, and two companies, that had been involved in trading Iranian petrochemical products. The delisting, the State Department said, followed a “verified change in status or behavior.”
The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, which has a copy of a June 17 congressional letter to State, accused the government of giving in to Iranian demands for sanctions relief “as part of a package of concessions meant to appease Iranian officials” during Vienna talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
In the latter, Republicans led by Claudia Tenney accuse Biden officials of lying and demand they “come clean about any internal plans to provide Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief.” They say Secretary of State Antony Blinken has broken a promise to give lawmakers prior notification of any lifting of sanctions.
Tenney was a strong supporter of president Donald Trump in withdrawing from the JCPOA in 2018, after which Iran expanded its nuclear program beyond JCPOA limits. The US government routinely sanctions individuals and groups, including under presidential executive orders, and occasionally lifts such designations if their behavior changes.
The Republicans’ letter demands to know why Blinken did not make Congresspeople “aware in advance of these high-profile delistings,” including appearances before House and Senate committees on June 7 and June 8. The letter accuses Iran of supporting “terrorism,” citing the Palestinian group Hamas, and points out Tehran is enriching uranium to 60 percent in violation of the JCPOA.