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Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel Urge President to Use Sanctions to Deter Russia's S-300 Missile Sale to Iran

Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel Urge President to Use Sanctions to Deter Russia’s S-300 Missile Sale to Iran

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, urged President Obama to consider using sanctions to deter Russia’s planned delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran.  In a letter to the President, Royce and Engel point out that existing U.S. law provides the President the authority to apply sanctions in response to a transfer of these destabilizing weapons systems.

In the letter, Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel wrote:  “We are writing to express our deep concern with Russia’s planned delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. If completed, the transfer of this sophisticated weapons system would significantly bolster Iran’s military capabilities and introduce new obstacles to our ability to eliminate the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. We believe existing U.S. sanctions should be used to deter Russia from transferring this or other dangerous weapons systems to Iran.”

The signed letter is available HERE

Text of the letter is below:

 

April 30, 2015

 

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

Washington D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We are writing to express our deep concern with Russia’s planned delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. If completed, the transfer of this sophisticated weapons system would significantly bolster Iran’s military capabilities and introduce new obstacles to our ability to eliminate the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. We believe existing U.S. sanctions should be used to deter Russia from transferring this or other dangerous weapons systems to Iran.

You recently stated that the Russians “were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons.” And while UN Security Council sanctions may not prohibit the transfer of this weapons system to Iran, U.S. law provides your administration with the authority toapply sanctions in response to such a transfer.  For example, the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act and the Iran Sanctions Act provide authority for you to sanction individuals or countries that you determine are aiding Iran’s efforts to acquire or develop “destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons.”

Given the serious implications for the United States and our allies in the region, we respectfully request that you quickly determine whether Russia’s proposed transfer of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems would advance Iran’s efforts to acquire “destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons” and whether U.S. sanctions would be triggered by the planned Russian delivery. We are concerned that without such a determination, your recent comments could be interpreted as the United States acquiescing to this transfer.

 

 

We look forward to receiving your decision. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.