María Elvira Salazar, Republican congressional representative from Florida, introduced on Friday a bipartisan bill proposing to investigate how the dictatorial regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela would benefit if the Biden administration reaches a new nuclear deal with Iran.
The Iranian Nuclear and Venezuelan Energy, Sanctions and Terrorism Investigation Government Accountability Report Act (INVESTIGATE Act) would require Joe Biden’s administration to produce a detailed report on the potential benefits of a nuclear deal with Iran for Maduro’s oil industry, how it could help Venezuela avoid U.S. sanctions against it, and how it would boost terrorist organizations.
If such an agreement is reached, the White House would have to deliver the report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives within 14 days.
A “fundamental” bill
Rep. Salazar noted that the regimes in Iran and Venezuela are united by “their hatred of the United States,” and any deal Biden reaches with one could benefit the other indirectly, so the president must understand the “disastrous impacts” a negotiation will have on the region.
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“Iran has enlisted Venezuela as its proxy for terror, including supplying its government with advanced drones for use against the United States, Colombia, and Jewish communities throughout the Western Hemisphere,” Salazar said. “A new nuclear deal would not only arm a U.S. enemy with nuclear weapons, it would also empower Nicolas Maduro in our own region. If President Biden moves forward with the new agreement, he must understand the disastrous external impacts the negotiation will have within our own region.”
For her part, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), a co-sponsor of the legislation, believes it is “critical” that Biden consider the “very real disadvantages” that a deal with Iran would have for national security.
“Unfreezing Iranian assets could enable Iran to increase support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and for the murderous Maduro regime in Venezuela,” Murphy said. “The U.S. needs to be clear-eyed about these threats and their impact on our security and the security of our allies.”
The INVESTIGATE bill is sponsored by Representatives Michael Waltz (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR-AL), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Scott Franklin (R-FL), and David McKinley (R-WV).