Senate Republicans warn business groups against Iran engagement

Letter says firms would be engaging with 'corrupt' Iranian regime

FIRST ON FOX: Fifteen Republican senators have written a letter to three major business and financial groups warning them against engaging with Iranian businesses if the Biden administration lifts sanctions to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

The letter sent Tuesday to the heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Financial Services Forum and Business Roundtable was co-signed by Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Marsha Blackburn, among others. 

"Your member companies may see this potential removal of U.S. sanctions on Iran as a lucrative opportunity," the letter reads. "Trust us, they should not. If U.S. sanctions on Iran were temporarily lifted and these firms decided to reenter the Iranian market, not only would they be engaging with a corrupt and capricious regime, they would be investing in ventures doomed to fail." 


The letter begins by criticizing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that President Obama negotiated with Iran and other world superpowers in 2015. 

"This deeply flawed agreement handed Iran significant economic concessions in exchange for modest and temporary restrictions on Iran's nuclear enrichment activities," it reads, adding that the deal "also failed to address the threat of Iran's missile programs and other malign activities." 

"Recognizing that the agreement paved Iran's path to nuclear weapons, President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement and pursued a strategy of 'maximum pressure' to force a change in Iranian behavior," it continues. "Since the JCPOA was not a legally binding instrument under U.S. or international law, the sanctions waived in the JCPOA were re-imposed by the United States in 2018, resulting in more than 100 international companies and organizations terminating or curtailing business with the Iranian regime to avoid U.S. sanctions." 

The Republicans wrote that they now fear the Biden administration "has ambitions to toss aside the progress of the maximum pressure campaign and return to a JCPOA-like framework." 

"In fact, U.S. negotiators may begin offering sanctions relief even before Iran returns to compliance with the feeble nuclear agreement and regardless of whether the administration has addressed the full scope of Iran's malign activities or obtained the release of U.S. hostages in Iran," the letter warns. 


The senators concluded their message by stating that "any attempt by the Biden administration to broker a JCPOA-like deal or offer sanctions relief to the Iranian regime will be fleeting."  

"We kindly ask that you distribute this correspondence to your member companies," the letter adds. "Thank you for your consideration of this important matter."