US lawmakers urge Trump to define clear Iran strategy

U.S. Capitol Building in Washington DC.

A group of lawmakers urging Trump administration to define a clear strategy for containing Iran amid recent tensions.

Reps. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) on Tuesday led a group of 23 members calling on President Donald Trump to articulate his goals for engagement with Iran.

In a letter, the representatives expressed concerns that the White House lacks a cogent strategy on Iran, and that various Administration officials like National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have articulated different and confusing goals in the past.

They argued Bolton has made statements about regime change, while Secretary Pompeo has set forth 12 demands for Iran.

In the letter, the representatives write:

Dear President Trump:

As veterans of our armed forces or federal agencies with a national security focus, we share your belief that Iran is a malignant state actor. Given our experience in national security affairs, we also understand that clearly-defined goals are integral to achieving success in U.S. foreign policy. With that in mind, we are concerned that various members of your Administration have articulated different goals when it comes to Iran. For instance, National Security Advisor John Bolton has made statements in the past about regime change, while Secretary of State Pompeo has set forth 12 demands for Iran, the majority of which are unrelated to nonproliferation. To add to the discordance, you have stated a desire simply for a stronger nuclear deal.

Congress and the American people have the right to know what your Administration’s goals—and the strategy for achieving those goals—actually are for Iran.  Therefore, we respectfully request your answers to the following basic questions:

  1. What is the Administration’s desired end state for Iran?
  2. How do current U.S. actions help achieve the desired end state?
  3. Is the lifting of Iran sanctions contingent on Iran’s agreement to a stronger nuclear deal or the 12 conditions outlined by Secretary Pompeo?
  4. Which U.S. allies currently support U.S. actions towards Iran?
  5. Does your Administration believe the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force—which is related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks—authorizes the use of force against Iran? If so, please explain how it applies.
  6. If the U.S. were to use military force against Iran, how does the Administration propose to contain escalation?

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.




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