Sen. Johnson Joins Letter Urging Biden Administration to Enforce Iran Steel Sanctions

WASHINGTON – On Monday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) joined U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), and 29 of their Senate GOP colleagues, in sending a letter to President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, urging the Administration to enforce existing sanctions on Iranian steel.

In the letter, the senators express the importance of “proactively and continuously” enforcing sanctions and the detrimental consequences of ineffective—or willfully negligent—enforcement. Iran is one of the largest steel producing countries in the world, with the industry generating significant export revenue.

“In 2020, the United States sanctioned Iran’s metals industries and steel producers, massively impacting their exports in 2021. The enforcement of these sanctions decreased Iranian steel exports from 9 million metric tons in 2020 to 4.2 million tons in 2021,” wrote the senators. “However, Iranian steel exports rebounded to 10 million tons in 2022. This correlates to the United States reengaging with Iran to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), along with a decrease in enforcement of existing sanctions by the Treasury Department.” 

The senators warned relaxed sanctions enforcement only fuels the ability of Iranian-backed proxies to continue to fund and carry out terrorist attacks that further destabilize the region. 

“In this instance, relaxing sanctions enforcement resulted in economic enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” the senators continued. “We urge your Administration to enforce all Iran-related sanctions at your disposal, to include secondary sanctions on other countries who seek economic engagement with Iran. We owe it to the innocent children, women, and men who were savagely beaten, raped, tortured, and killed on October 7, 2023.”

Sens. Johnson and Britt were joined on this letter by Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho.), Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Senators John Barrasso, M.D. (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

Read more about the senators’ December 4, 2023 letter to the President and Secs. Blinken and Yellen in Politico.

Full text of the letter can be found here.