Senator Scott Leads Call for Censure of Iran for Nuclear Buildup

WASHINGTON — On Friday, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and James Lankford (R-Okla.) in calling on the Biden administration to censure Iran at the next International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting, which begins on March 4, 2024. In December, the IAEA issued a report showing that Iran’s nuclear enrichment activity tripled by the end of last year. A U.S.-led censure of Iran at the IAEA would apply needed pressure on the regime after months of heightened tension on the Middle East and would send a strong message that rogue nuclear programs by any country, especially the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, will not be tolerated.

The senators wrote, “In recent months, the Iranian regime has utilized its proxy network to disrupt global commerce and threaten our armed forces, while simultaneously increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium. The United States must demonstrate leadership at the IAEA and encourage the international community to uphold its non-proliferation standards. The stakes could not be higher.” 

“Iran’s destabilizing behavior is nothing new. Since 1979, the regime has jeopardized long-term security and stability in the Middle East through its support for terrorism and insurgency,” they continued. “However, these efforts have intensified since its proxy Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023. In the past three months, Tehran’s so-called ‘Axis of Resistance’ has launched over 160 attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, as well as international shipping vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.” 

“We also encourage the U.S. delegation at the IAEA to push for Iran’s nuclear program to be formally referred to the United Nations Security Council for review. There is no better way to uphold global non-proliferation norms than to maintain a clear and consistent standard of institutional treatment toward Iran’s nuclear advances. Special treatment must not be accorded in the mistaken belief that it could help de-escalate Iran’s behavior. As we’ve seen in recent months, appeasement is often rewarded with further escalation,” the senators concluded. 

Senator Scott and his colleagues requested a response from the Secretary of State by March 11, 2024, on whether the U.S. pushed for a censure resolution of Iran, and if not, details on why the resolution was not pursued, the administration’s plan for preventing other countries from pursuing rogue nuclear programs, and whether any concessions were made by Iran in exchange for not pursuing a censure resolution.

The full text of the letter can be found here


Senator Scott has long criticized the Biden administration’s lack of a comprehensive strategy to contain Iran’s aggression and has urged the administration to take necessary steps restore deterrence in the Middle East, following the horrific attacks against Israel on October 7, 2023.

In August, he led twenty-five of his Republican colleagues in demanding answers from the administration after it made accessible approximately $6 billion in frozen assets to Iran in exchange for the release of American detainees. After the October 7 attacks, Senator Scott led another effort questioning the administration’s decision to waive sanctions that would allow the regime to access an additional $10 billion in revenue. He also pressed the administration on the need for a cohesive strategy on Iran, utilizing all appropriate national security tools. In December, the Senator joined nearly a dozen of his bipartisan colleagues in introducing a resolution condemning the ongoing attacks from Iranian proxies against American forces in Iraq and Syria, and calling for the administration to increase pressure against the regime.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Scott introduced the Revoke Iranian Funding Act to permanently freeze the $6 billion released by the Biden administration in August, and to direct the Treasury Secretary to provide an accounting of all high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently restricted by U.S. sanctions. He also pushed for passage of his Solidify Iran Sanctions Act (SISA), to make permanent energy and weapons sanctions in the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996.

In October 2023, Senator Scott joined Senator Rubio and other Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the State Department criticizing the administration’s decision to not censure Iran at the last IAEA Board of Governors meeting.