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Senators Introduce Legislation Aimed at Bolstering Support for Israel, Countering Iranian Threat

Sep 20, 2016 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), John McCain (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) today introduced legislation which will provide Israel $1.5 billion to counter the increasing threats emanating from Iran.
The funding — $750 million for missile defense and $750 million in direct assistance to Israel’s military – will be in addition to funding provided in the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The legislation also extends the Iran Sanctions Act through the end of the Iranian nuclear deal.
“Israel faces increasing threats from a provocative Iranian regime who has threatened to wipe Israel off the map,” said Senator Graham.  “Israel also faces threats from Iranian-backed terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.  The recent nuclear deal has left Iran flush with cash.  It’s important we make clear to the Iranian regime that we continue to stand with our close ally and are committed to Israel’s defense.” 
“Iran is using its financial windfall from the ill-advised nuclear deal to increasingly threaten the U.S. and Israel— our closest and most reliable ally in the Middle East,” said Senator Ayotte.  “We have to make sure our aid to Israel reflects the growing threat they face. Iran is using the cash it has received from the Obama administration’s ransom payment for its military expansion and terrorist activities to target the United States and Israel—potentially including a larger, more accurate, fleet of ballistic missiles and more weapons for Hezbollah.  There must be consequences for Iran’s ballistic missile activities.  That’s why I’ll continue to push for my legislation to impose tough new sanctions against Iran so that we can better protect our country and our close ally, Israel.” 
“Support for Israel is not a burden, it is an investment in our mutual national defense against the common enemy that is radical Islamic terrorism,” Senator Cruz said. “The MOU is an important baseline, but Congress can and must play an ongoing, active role in making sure that the alliance is adequately maintained. Sen. Graham’s legislation has brought together a diverse array of senators committed to strengthening our friendship with Israel and committed to doing whatever it takes to keep this country safe, and also committed to protecting the constitutional authority of Congress over appropriations. I’m proud to stand with Sen. Graham on these vital issues.”
“Standing with Israel today is the right thing to do after the Administration airlifted $1.7 billion in cash to Iran, on top of releasing over $100 billion in sanctions relief under the nuclear deal to the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” said Senator Kirk. “Congress should treat the new U.S.-Israel memorandum of understanding as the floor, not the ceiling, for ensuring the security and survival of the Jewish state of Israel, a fellow democracy and our closest ally in the Middle East.”
“Israel faces an increasingly dangerous security environment,” said Senator Rubio.  “President Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran and the billions of dollars the regime has received in sanctions relief and ransom payments have put Israel at greater risk. Increasing America’s security assistance to Israel is the least we can do to help our close friend and ally given the enriched and empowered enemy they now face.”
“The Obama administration handed the Iranian regime – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism – a $1.7 billion ransom payment on top of the $100 billion in sanctions relief it gained under the president’s nuclear agreement,” Senator Blunt said. “That gives the regime billions in new resources to continue fomenting violence and instability in the Middle East, and increases the threat to Israel’s very existence.  It is imperative that we provide Israel, our close friend and democratic ally, the support it needs to strengthen its defense.”
The senators noted the amount is a fraction — 1 percent – of the amount of assistance provided to the Iranian regime since completion of the nuclear accord.  Since the agreement was completed, Iran has fired four missiles in defiance of United Nations resolutions.  Iran also continues to provide support to terrorists groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.