Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Whip Kevin McCarthy, Conference Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Chairman Buck McKeon, Chairman Mike Rogers, and Chairman Ed Royce today sent the following letter to President Obama following reports that Israel has once again intercepted an Iranian shipment of weapons bound for Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists. You may find a printable PDF version HERE.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to you today in the wake of reports that Israel once again has intercepted an Iranian shipment of weapons bound for Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists. We increasingly fear that Iran continues to respond to your open hand with a closed fist.
Since 1984, the United States Department of State has designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, and has for the last decade characterized Iran as the world's "most active state sponsor of terrorism."
From the 1983 bombings of the American Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia to the repeated attacks against American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and its terrorist proxies have killed a considerable number of Americans. During your presidency, Iran's support for the Taliban has continued and the IRGC-Qods Force has even plotted to conduct a terrorist attack against a foreign diplomat in Washington, D.C.
Many have been tempted to believe the selection of Hassan Rouhani as Iran's President represents a fundamental shift in Iran’s behavior. Such thinking is, however, inconsistent with reality. President Rouhani’s rhetoric may be conciliatory, but it obscures the true nature of Iran's regime and its profoundly destabilizing and aggressive activities throughout the region. These activities not only threaten our ally Israel and our closest Arab partners in the region, they also put our brave U.S. servicemen in the region at risk.
Iran's support for Hizballah threatens both Israel and the sovereignty of Lebanon, and fuels sectarian tensions throughout the region. And Iran’s role as a direct combatant in the Syria conflict as a strategic partner of Bashar Assad is extremely threatening to regional stability. We are also mindful that Iran has long-allowed al Qaeda's 'senior management council' to remain in Iran and allows certain al Qaeda terrorists to operate on Iranian territory.
Reports today regarding Israel's seizure of an Iranian shipment of Syrian weapons bound for Gaza clearly demonstrate that Iran's malign activities continue apace and highlight the danger posed by the deadly Iranian-Syria axis. While Iran has long-supported Palestinian terrorism, this provocative shipment brings into sharp relief the recent comments of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s representative to the IRGC, Ali Saeedi, that Iran's "borders have stretched to the Mediterranean coasts."
It is not just Israel that is threatened by Iran's illicit weapons shipment. Indeed, this seizure is reminiscent of a recent interception of Iranian weapons bound for Shi’ite militants in Bahrain.
For more than a year, we have encouraged your Administration to send a senior briefing team to Capitol Hill to discuss with the bipartisan leadership and chairmen and ranking members of the national security committees your strategy for confronting Iran's support for terrorism, its efforts to foment instability in the region, and its bid for regional hegemony. Although we all hope for a peaceful negotiated solution to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, we believe such diplomatic efforts must be part of a broader strategy to confront Iranian aggression throughout the region. We reiterate our desire to speak with senior representatives of your Administration about your broader regional strategy.
John A. Boehner
Chair, House Armed Services Committee
Chair, Select Committee on Intelligence
Chair, Committee on Foreign Affairs