North Carolina Republican Rep. Greg Murphy is spearheading an effort to urge President Biden not to reenter the Iran nuclear deal or ease sanctions without verifiable assurances about the country’s nuclear activities.
“They [Iranian leaders] have funded terrorist organizations around the world,” Murphy told Fox News Thursday. “They have explicitly said they want to wipe out Israel. So these folks are not our friends, and to try and appease them is simply a ridiculous foreign policy.”
Although President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, Iran remains in the agreement with a number of other nations. But Iran has nevertheless been violating the terms, enriching uranium and funding destabilizing terrorism, Murphy said.
He has drafted a letter, signed by a growing number of fellow House Republicans, calling on Biden to carry on Trump’s approach and not to revert to the Obama-era “appeasement” of Iran, which the congressman argued “created instability in the region.”
UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 17: Newly sworn in Greg Murphy, R-N.C., departs after posing during a photo op with his family and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Washington on Tuesday September 17, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“The [Obama] administration’s failed nuclear agreement with Iran gave the regime billions of dollars which it used to support terrorism throughout the region, which increased the likelihood of conflict while providing Iran a legal pathway to a nuclear weapon within a decade,” he wrote.
He also argued that softening the U.S. approach to Iran would be harmful to Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.
“President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign has successfully deprived the Iranian regime of resources to support terrorism and carry out its destabilizing activities in the region without dragging us into a new conflict,” the letter reads.
Due to the stiff sanctions and targeted military strikes against international terrorists like Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Iran’s economy is struggling along with its ability to finance terrorism, Murphy said.
Despite crippling sanctions and other effects from the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy, Iran passed a law in November that threatens to block International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from visiting its nuclear sites and step up uranium enrichment unless the U.S. scales back on the penalties.
“We can never believe the Iranians one way or the other,” Murphy told Fox News Thursday. “And it’s really, really a bad policy to try and appease the Iranians because they lie right through their teeth.”
Murphy argued in favor of calling the Iranians out and keeping the sanctions in place to verify that the country is not developing nuclear arms.
“We have to basically say, you have to show you’re accountable, or else the relief of sanctions will not occur,” Murphy said. “As Reagan said, ‘Trust but verify.’ That we need to do. They’ve proven themselves not trustworthy.”
There are major concerns that Iran, a state-sponsor of terror and agitator of unrest in the Middle East, is attempting to produce atomic weapons.
Biden has indicated that he is willing to rejoin the JCPOA, so long as Iran complies with the original terms. But Iran, which has attempted to circumvent U.S. sanctions and had some of its oil tankers seized by federal authorities, has demanded Biden drop sanctions placed on its regime by the Trump administration as a first step.
“We strongly urge against a clean re-entry into the Iran Nuclear Deal and urge you to continue President Trump’s successful maximum pressure campaign,” the letter concludes.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.