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How States Can Respond if Biden Lifts Iran Sanctions

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President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in Alexandria, Va., May 28, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters) Republican governors and legislatures have some effective tools at their disposal.

A sixth round of indirect talks between the United States and Iran kicks off this weekend in Vienna with President Joe Biden still desperate to lift sanctions on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and rejoin a dangerous agreement that gives Iran future pathways to nuclear weapons. While Republicans in Congress are doing what they can to stop this slow-motion national-security train wreck, they face an uphill battle with Democrats in control of the House and Senate. In the short term, the power to prevent money from pouring into the mullahs’ coffers may instead rest with Republican governors who can leverage public-pension investments and state banking regulations to limit Tehran’s economic benefit.

Last month, the Republican Study Committee unveiled the “Max Pressure Act,” putting most House Republicans on record opposing U.S. reentry to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and pledging to reimpose maximum pressure on Iran whenever the power pendulum of Washington swings back to the GOP. In the Senate, a series of bills, resolutions, and letters signal a Republican Caucus united against the Iran nuclear deal — with sanctions amendments to must-pass legislation still possible later this year.

But the past few weeks have made something perfectly clear: Nothing will stop the Biden administration from lifting sanctions on Iran in the short term. Not the alarm sounded this week by the world’s top nuclear watchdog that Iran is actively concealing undeclared nuclear activities and materials. Not the recent findings by a Canadian court that Iran knowingly shot down a passenger airliner in 2019. Not Iran’s complicity in arming terrorist organizations and supporting violent attacks against Israeli civilians. And not even the likely imminent selection of Ebrahim Raisi — a mass murderer — as the Islamic Republic’s next president.

Biden apparently sent his special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, to Vienna wearing rose-colored goggles. Malley will do whatever it takes to rescue an expiring, flawed nuclear agreement that guarantees Iran’s pathways to

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