Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of Illinois

Weekly Standard: Congress to Obama: Iran Sanctions Are Not Optional

Jan 26, 2012

In a letter to be released later today, a bipartisan group of 89 House members urge Barack Obama to fully implement Iranian sanctions Congress passed last year. In particular, the members of Congress want the president to implement the legislation, and not the president's interpretation of the sanctions.

"Upon signing the bill, you indicated that the sanctions program language was advisory only. It is not," the lawmakers write.

The sanctions bill provides Obama the legal means to punish Iran for its nuclear intransigence, but the president's has indicated he's not prepared to use them. Now, the members of Congress are demanding an explanation.

"As a co-equal branch of government, Congress has acted with overwhelming bipartisanship to put in place this tool to combat Iran's continued march towards nuclear weapons capability," the lawmakers write. "We respectfully urge you to clarify that your intent is to fully and forcefully implement these provisions. We hope we can continue to work with your Administration to shut off the spigot of financial support that has allowed Iran to continue to thwart international engagement thus far."

The letter signals a sense of urgency from members on both sides of the aisle, as well as frustration that the Obama administration is not doing everything it can to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear capability.

"With a belligerent Iranian regime marching towards nuclear capability, the time is now for President Obama to fully unleash the new sanctions at his disposal," said Congressman Peter Roskam (R, Ill.) about the letter. "The potential cost of half-action is unthinkable for America and our allies."

Rep. Leonard Lance (R, N.J.), who organized the bipartisan effort, along with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, Ill.), wants the administration to clearly state its intentions regarding Iran.

"There is a growing concern that the Administration does not fully support the tough new sanctions passed by Congress to thwart Iran's nuclear pursuits," Lance says in a statement. "It is the overwhelming position of the House and Senate that President Obama must use all available resources to prevent a nuclear Iran."