The chair of one of the top committees in the House of Representatives said over the weekend that Congress might want to consider implementing a new travel ban on hostile Iran.
Appearing on the “Face the Nation” program on CBS on Sunday, Republican Representative Mike Turner of Ohio said that he’d support broader negotiations and a diplomatic deal between Iran and the United States that eventually would lead to a freeze in progress in the nuclear program that Iran is conducting.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew America from what was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018. That was the nuclear deal that was struck between the European Union and the P5+1 back in 2015.
As Turner, who serves as the chair of the Intelligence Committee in the House, said:
“But the terms of the deal are absolutely important, because you know, last time we had an insufficient inspection regime, we had terms that were critical that expired. In this instance, they appear to be careening toward a deal that would be informal, not subject to congressional oversight, because we don’t know all the terms.”
Turner emphasized that a majority of the members of Congress don’t want the White House to strike a private deal with Iran behind closed doors without going to Congress first.
The host of the CBS program, Margaret Brennan, asked Turner whether he believed that a travel ban to Iran should be considered, and he said that it’s something they should consider. He replied:
“I think it’s, it’s – it should be certainly considered. I think the – I know you’re going to have coming up, one of the family members of one of the detainees, and I think her message is incredibly important; people should not be going to Iran.”
Just last week, the Biden administration struck a tentative agreement with Iran that would lead to the release of five Americans who have been detained in Iran, as well as an unknown number of Iranian prisoners who are currently detained in America.
Turner was asked about the agreement, and he said that members of Congress want the Biden administration “to work diligently to bring Americans home – whether Iran or Russia or elsewhere, and our hearts certainly go out to them.
“But, in this instance, the administration is signaling that this is part of a broader deal concerning Iran’s enrichment program, and if that becomes a secret deal, then that’s obviously a great concern to Congress.”
Immediately after the tentative agreement was announced, Republican Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, who serves as the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed the Biden administration.
As it is currently proposed, the U.S. would unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets that are currently located in South Korea. They would be transferred first to Qatar and eventually sent to Tehran.
While McCaul said he wants to see the American prisoners freed, he doesn’t like the fact that Iran is going to get access to all that money. He said:
“We’re talking about $6 billion dollars, right? $6 billion. Under Obama, it was $400 million of cash and airplanes that went to Iran. Look, I want to get these Americans home more than anybody, and one of them is a critical asset, I agree with that. But, we have to go in eyes wide open.”