Friday, October 02, 2015
Billy Long: We must hold Iran accountable
A tsunami of southwest Missouri residents have contacted my office in opposition to President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Like me, they have every right to be deeply concerned. It allows Iran to keep its current nuclear infrastructure, allows for billions of dollars that could go toward state sponsored terrorists, doesn’t allow “anytime anywhere” inspections, and does nothing to free American hostages currently being held in Iran’s grasp.
On top of all this, Iran owes American victims of terrorism huge sums in damages for terrorist attacks it helped fund throughout the world. Over 35 years, there have been more than 80 events where Iranian sponsored terrorism has cost U.S. lives, resulting in more than $43.5 billion in unpaid damages that have been awarded in U.S. courts.
Some of these judgments include monetary reparations to victims of the 9/11 attacks, the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, the 1983 attack on the Beirut Marine barracks, and numerous other suicide attacks, hostage situations, hijackings, and bus bombings. I believe that before any sanctions are lifted on Iran due to the Iran agreement, their nation should have to pay out every cent they owe these victims.
In the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which I sit on, I supported the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, which would prevent relief from these Iran deal sanctions until Iran has paid the damages they owe their victims.
Furthermore, I have joined other Missouri delegation members in encouraging our state leaders to protect our more than six million residents from pitfalls of the Iran Nuclear agreement. There are ways that, even at the state level, Missouri can influence this pivotal deal. In a letter, we outlined our hope that Missouri state leaders will enact policies that bar Missouri companies and financial institutions from conducting business transactions with Iran. Also, we have proposed that similar insurance legislation should require the state to bar itself from ownership of stocks or bonds of any foreign company invested in the Iranian energy sector.
Again, in-step with nearly one-thousand of my constituents who’ve recently contacted me about this deal, I too am deeply concerned. But, there are still ways in which we in Congress and each state can still influence this deal by financially inhibiting the Iranian regime for its transgressions and, at the very least, hold them accountable for the reparations they owe victims of the horrid attacks they have helped enable over the past 35 years.