For years, the Iranian regime has literally been getting away with murder. Meanwhile, the United States has lacked a comprehensive strategy to meet the multifaceted threat Iran poses. The goals President Trump presented in his speech today are a welcomed long overdue change. They offer the United States a path forward that centers our policy towards Iran on its destabilizing regional ambitions rather than its nuclear program alone. I look forward to learning more about the specifics of this strategy, and the Senate Armed Services Committee will conduct thorough oversight of our military’s role in it.
Iran has routinely threatened the United States and its neighbors for decades. It is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Its support of the murderous Assad regime has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions, destabilizing nations across the Middle East. Its continued development and testing of ballistic missiles flouts international law. Its rampant abuse of human rights within its own borders and around the Middle East is horrific. And it has the blood of hundreds of American soldiers on its hands from its support of anti-American terrorist groups and militias throughout the region. And yet, despite this long track record of Iranian malign activities, the Obama administration consistently treated Iran narrowly as a non-proliferation problem rather than as a geopolitical one. This legacy of failure casts a long shadow on our present situation.
I did not support the nuclear deal at the time it was proposed, and many of its specific terms will make it harder to pursue the comprehensive strategy we need. In that sense, I agree with the President that the deal is not in the vital national interests of the United States. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress on additional legislation to increase sanctions and other pressure to hold Iran accountable for its broader destructive behavior in the region. I am also eager to collaborate with our partners and allies to revisit the most problematic provisions of the nuclear deal, and support a unified, forceful international front in the event that Iran materially breaches the terms of the agreement.