Spanberger Calls on Administration to Pursue Smart Iran Strategy, Outline Clear Goals for U.S. Engagement in the Region

A Former CIA Case Officer, the Congresswoman is Co-Leading an Effort to Clarify the Administration’s Position on Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is co-leading an effort calling on the administration to articulate a clear strategy in dealing with Iran’s destabilizing behavior.

In a letter sent to President Trump, Spanberger and 22 of her colleagues—all with national security backgrounds—urged the administration to articulate its goals for engagement with Iran. Additionally, the Members expressed concerns that administration officials have voiced conflicting and confusing goals related to the Iranian regime. The letter is also led by U.S. Representatives Ted W. Lieu (D-CA-33), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ-07).

“As veterans of our armed forces or federal agencies with a national security focus, we share your belief that Iran is a malignant state actor. Given our experience in national security affairs, we also understand that clearly-defined goals are integral to achieving success in U.S. foreign policy,” the letter states. “With that in mind, we are concerned that various members of your administration have articulated different goals when it comes to Iran. For instance, National Security Advisor John Bolton has made statements in the past about regime change, while Secretary of State Pompeo has set forth 12 demands for Iran, the majority of which are unrelated to nonproliferation. To add to the discordance, you have stated a desire simply for a stronger nuclear deal.”

The Members continue, “Congress and the American people have the right to know what your Administration’s goals—and the strategy for achieving those goals—actually are for Iran.  Therefore, we respectfully request your answers to the following basic questions:

  1. What is the Administration’s desired end state for Iran?
  2. How do current U.S. actions help achieve the desired end state?
  3. Is the lifting of Iran sanctions contingent on Iran’s agreement to a stronger nuclear deal or the 12 conditions outlined by Secretary Pompeo?
  4. Which U.S. allies currently support U.S. actions towards Iran?
  5. Does your Administration believe the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force—which is related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks—authorizes the use of force against Iran? If so, please explain how it applies.
  6. If the U.S. were to use military force against Iran, how does the Administration propose to contain escalation?”

Click here to read the full letter.


A former Central Intelligence Agency case officer, Spanberger is a proud Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she has advocated for a reexamined, smart strategy toward future U.S. military and diplomatic engagement in the Middle East.

During her first House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in February, Spanberger highlighted the importance of holding recipients of U.S. security assistance accountable for violations of international law. And last month, Spanberger questioned the administration’s decision to circumvent Congress and to authorize a new emergency sale of offensive weapons to the Saudi-led coalition currently fighting Houthis in Yemen.


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