Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia has some words for Biden’s Secretary of State. He wrote a letter to Antony Blicken that called on the State Department to not rush into giving Iran relief from their heavy sanctions. Manchin is concerned about the way the Biden administration is moving into a new nuclear deal with the Islamic nation.
Manchin said in his letter to Blinken that he was “very concerned” about the ongoing discussions the administration is having in Iran and he asked for a briefing so that details of the talks would be known.
“While I support President Biden’s commitment to reengaging the Government of Iran in diplomacy, we should not reward Iran with sanctions relief before they demonstrate verifiable efforts towards curbing their malign influence holistically; including their nuclear ambitions, terrorism financing, and dual-use-weapons development,” Manchin wrote.
The senator from West Virginia focused on reports that Biden’s administration was planning to remove Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of foreign terrorist organizations at the State Department. He is worried that the tension over gas prices being high because Russian oil has been banned might cause the White House administration to use energy from Iran.
Manchin said clearly that the IRGC was a terrorist organization and the administration should not be shortsighted in planning sanction relief to offset the energy issues with having right now because of sanctions against Russia. He noted that sanctions are still the most effective way to bring Iran back to the negotiating table and there should be a focus from the White House on not going after “non-strategic objectives.”
The Democratic senator asked the administration to remember how, for decades, Iran was a destabilizing force in the Middle East and Africa. They funded terror around the world while they were developing ballistic missiles that could eventually carry nuclear warheads.
Manchin closed the letter to Blinken saying, “I agree we must halt the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. However, we must continue to negotiate a halt to Iran’s use of state-sponsored terrorism, advancement of its missile program, and the continued proliferation of dual-use technologies.”
The main issue for Manchin is that Congress be given the information necessary for due process in deciding about such massive foreign policy implications. He does not want to duplicate the mistake with the 2015 nuclear deal. He said that deal left him “disappointed.” He plans to do everything in his power to not make that mistake again.
Manchin is one of just four Democrats in the Senate who opposed the Obama Iran deal in 2015. There is an increasing number of Democratic voices who now join Manchin in opposing the removal of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps from the foreign terrorism list.
Senator Ben Cardin from Maryland also opposed the 2015 deal. He said about the negotiations happening now with Iran, “At the end of the day, the president will get his way.” But he also noted that opponents of the agreement could get a symbolic victory if there was a bipartisan majority in both chambers that voted in favor of blocking it.
Manchin confessed his support of President Biden’s commitment to reengage Iran in diplomacy, but he does not believe with should reward them with sanctions relief before they show verifiable efforts towards “curbing their malign influence holistically.”
Manchin wants Biden to keep investing in an “all-of-the-above domestic energy policy.” He believes that this will increase national security in the United States and also help our allies abroad. And we should not look to Iran to solve our present energy problems.
Let’s hope that the Biden team listens to this important Democratic voice.