Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Sherman’s Statement on America’s Policy Towards Iran


Mar 9, 2021
Press Release
Commentary on Congressional Letters of March 9th and December 23rd

I believe that it is critical to quickly bring Iran back into compliance with the JCPOA, so that the restrictions, inspections, and safeguards in that agreement are put back in place. We must also work to address Iran’s other destructive policies, including its support for international terrorism, its support for mass-murder in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, and its development of missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads.  

I applaud the Biden Administration for embarking on a three-step diplomatic process to address our disputes with Tehran. First, Iran must return to strict compliance with the nuclear deal. Second, the United States should then rejoin the agreement. And third, the United States, working with other powers, will pursue follow-on negotiations addressing both nuclear and non-nuclear issues.

House members have sent two letters to the Biden Administration recently concerning U.S. Iran policy.  I signed both letters because both, in tandem, support the three-step process articulated above.

One letter focuses on Iran’s nuclear proliferation and the second focuses on non-nuclear issues. It is critical to rapidly get restrictions on Iran’s program, which is the focus of the December 23rd letter circulated by Representatives Schakowsky, Price, Lee, Meeks, Castro, Spanberger, and myself. The December letter notes that there are numerous other issues with Iran that must also be addressed. The March 9th letter, circulated by Congressmen Brown and Waltz, focused on the second part of the policy, the need for agreements addressing issues including Syria, Yemen, Iraq, support for terrorism, Iran's domestic human rights abuses, and its ballistic missile program. The March 9th letter calls for negotiations to address these non-nuclear issues, but does not say that a resolution of the nuclear issues should be delayed pending a resolution of the non-nuclear issues.

On July 28, 2015, then Secretary of State John Kerry came before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to explain the JCPOA. Secretary Kerry made it clear, particularly in response to my questioning, that the JCPOA dealt only with Iran's nuclear programs and that that United States would, if necessary, impose sanctions commensurate with Iran's wrongful acts outside of the nuclear arena. Consistent with John Kerry’s testimony, the December letter states the JCPOA does not prevent us from addressing Iran’s wrongdoing outside of the nuclear arena.

I strongly supported and helped write both letters because they are both consistent with the Biden Administration’s three-step approach.

See the December 23, 2020 letter here.

See the March 9, 2021 letter here.