WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Jim Risch (R-ID) and 30 Republican colleagues introduced the Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act (ISRRA), a bill to ensure that the President submits any sanctions relief relating to Iran for congressional review. The legislation would provide a backstop if the Executive Branch attempts to evade the legal requirements for congressional review of any agreement related to Iran’s nuclear program contained in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Public Law 114-17).
“We must hold the largest state-sponsor of terror, Iran, accountable and sanctions are an effective method to do so,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bill forces the Biden administration to submit their plan to Congress for review before lifting any sanctions on Iran.”
“As Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime continues to pursue nuclear weapons to harm Americans and our regional partners and allies, it is critical to provide insurance if President Biden keeps trying to run around Congress and relieve sanctions on Iran,” said Senator Hagerty. “My legislation will make it abundantly clear to the Biden Administration that any agreement made with Iran that involves sanctions relief must be submitted for Congressional review.”
“As the Biden Administration contemplates another enormous cash windfall to the Iranian regime in exchange for dubious non-proliferation promises, it is vitally important that Congress has a voice in any sanctions relief,” said Senator Risch. “Iran remains actively engaged in supporting Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, continues to attack our troops and diplomats – most recently killing an American in March, plots assassination attempts against former U.S. officials, and violently quashes protests inside Iran. Congress has an obligation to ensure that sanctions relief does not fund these appalling activities.”
Cassidy, Hagerty and Risch were joined by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, (R-MS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Katie Britt (R-AL), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Rick Scott (R-FL) in the introduction of this bill.
In April 2021, the Biden administration announced that it was prepared to lift sanctions on Iran as part of its effort to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). ISRRA draws on the precedent found in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, Public Law 115-44). Section 216 of CAATSA authorizes congressional review—including a potential vote in each chamber on a joint resolution of disapproval—of certain actions relating to sanctions imposed with respect to the Russian Federation. ISRRA applies the same standard of congressional review procedures described in Section 216 of CAATSA to certain actions relating to sanctions imposed with respect to Iran. In other words, ISRRA preserves and protects the role of Congress if the Executive Branch, under any administration, attempts to circumvent INARA, including by using an unwritten agreement that includes sanctions relief relating to Iran.