Ambassador Hoekstra’s Statement on Iran Sanctions

Statement from the Ambassador – November 9, 2018

On November 4, the United States reintroduced expanded sanctions on the Iranian regime.  U.S. sanctions are aimed at deterring Iran’s behavior and driving Iran back to the negotiating table.  These actions continue efforts started by the Trump Administration to put into place a framework to prevent Iran from achieving its stated objective of gaining nuclear weapon capabilities, stop its ballistic missile program, and curtail its divisive and dangerous subversive activities throughout the Middle East and even into Europe.

The bottom line is that the JCPOA failed to ensure our collective security The United States has decided once more to lead the efforts to contain a very dangerous threat.  The re-imposition of American sanctions will exert maximum pressure on Tehran.  Their behavior needs to change.

The United States recognizes that some of our allies disagree with this direction.  We believe it is essential to ultimately achieve the shared objectives of stability and security.  An agreement that does not address the full range of Iran’s destructive activities just doesn’t make any sense.  To embrace an environment where Iran is permitted to continue developing ballistic capabilities is unacceptable.  Enriching an Iran that uses its economic gains to fund instability and terrorist actions rather than building economic prosperity for its people cannot continue.  U.S. sanctions are aimed squarely at the Iranian regime.  They are not aimed at the Iranian people, nor do they target European companies.

Iran’s nuclear program and other activities continue to present a risk to the United States and others.  That’s why President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA is the right one.  We ask for one simple thing – for the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave like a constructive nation.  If they’ll do that, they will be welcomed back into the community of nations.  If not, we must continue to apply pressure.

Europe needs to be a part of the solution.

President Trump has made confronting international security threats a top priority.  When the Iranian regime demonstrates a commitment to seriously change its behavior, then the United States is prepared to take actions to end sanctions, reestablish full diplomatic and commercial relations, permit Iran to access advanced technology, and support the reintegration of the Iranian economy into the international economic system.

The President has offered a good deal.  He said when the Iranian leadership makes the strategic decision to ensure its well-being and the well-being of its people, the United States is prepared to discuss how to proceed.  The President is prepared to deal with the leadership in Iran.

The world has seen Iran’s fingerprints on plots, assassinations attempts, and attacks throughout Europe.  Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.  To truly combat security threats, Europe needs to work with the United States to address ongoing Iranian terror in Europe.  Just as the U.S. continues to partner with Europe to counter threats via NATO, the United States needs Europe to partner with us to counter Iran’s threats – it is in all of our best interests.

–Pete Hoekstra

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