During a hearing to examine U.S. policy toward Iran in the Trump administration, Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday warned of Iran’s increasingly threatening behavior since implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
“One of my criticisms of the JCPOA was that it would become our de-facto Middle East policy and Iran would expand their destabilizing activities,” said Sen.
Corker, who led opposition in Congress to the nuclear deal. “I think we are seeing a lot of that today. Regionally, we’ve seen an escalation in Iranian intervention.”
He cited as examples Iran’s efforts to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, influence Shia militias in Iraq, support the terrorist group Lebanese Hizballah, and arm Houthi rebels in Yemen that attack Saudi Arabia and U.S. vessels. To address Iranian attempts to become the dominant power in the Middle East, Sen. Corker pointed to bipartisan legislation that he introduced last week as a component of the U.S. developing a comprehensive approach for deterring the threat from Iran.
“Last week, many members of this committee joined together in a bipartisan manner and introduced a bill to begin rebalancing our Iran policy,” said Sen. Corker. “With a new administration in place, we have an opportunity to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with both Iran’s regional activities and the longer-term threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.”
The committee heard testimony on Tuesday from Michael Singh, a senior fellow with The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Martin S. Indyk, a former U.S. diplomat to the Middle East and executive vice president of The Brookings Institution.