Maintaining pressure on Iran

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Maintaining pressure on Iran

Before leaving Washington, Congress took a significant, bipartisan step to continue applying pressure to the rogue nation of Iran by extending and reauthorizing the Iran Sanctions Act. As you will recall, this law was responsible for punishing the Iranian regime for their aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons. These sanctions crippled their economy, forcing them to beg the Obama Administration and other world powers to come to the negotiating table with the aim of terminating their nuclear ambitions.

Unfortunately, as we know all too well, the agreement we struck with Iran in 2015 did not terminate the Iranian program; rather, it legitimized their nuclear research, infused the country with billions of dollars, and emboldened its radical leaders to be more aggressive toward its enemies in the region and around the world. It continues to be the world leader in terror financing, has tested ballistic missiles with a view toward nuclear weaponization and has violated the terms of the nuclear deal in a variety of ways. They must be pressured to cease this reckless behavior.

That is why it is encouraging that Congress acted to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, which maintains the authority to impose these damaging sanctions when the Iranians seek to expand their nuclear aims. Curiously, President Obama took no action on the bill — he neither signed nor vetoed it — and since Congress will technically remain in session through the end of the year, the bill will become law. It is unclear why he adopted this approach; perhaps the president worried about what the mullahs in Iran might think if he signed the bill. It is my hope that President-Elect Donald Trump will utilize the sanctions when needed to rein Iran in and protect our allies around the world from this dangerous regime.

The blessings of Christmas

As the holidays bring families together, it also reminds us of those who have loved ones serving in the armed forces who cannot be at home. For those who are serving and defending us all around the world, thank you. You represent the best that our country has to offer, and your bravery and dedication are an inspiration to all.

Robert Hurt represents Lunenburg County in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at his Farmville office at (434) 395-0120 or by email at