WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded the inclusion of provisions from their Iran Nuclear Weapons Capability Monitoring Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation they introduced this summer to establish a State Department led joint task force to monitor and regularly provide reports to Congress regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
In addition to the original provisions establishing a task force led by the Department of State, new language included in the NDAA expands the task force’s purview and requires it to coordinate and synthesize U.S. government efforts concerning Iran and its proxies’ regional and global terrorism activities. Working in conjunction with the intelligence community, the task force will report to the appropriate congressional committees on all the above activities in order to provide Congress a more complete picture of the nefarious activities Iran is engaging in domestically and globally.
“It is imperative the United States government stays focused on monitoring Iranian nuclear ambitions,” said Senator Graham. “The National Defense Authorization Act includes language that I authored with Senator Menendez requiring the intelligence community and other federal agencies to report to Congress on the status of Iran’s nuclear ambitions in a number of areas critical to developing a nuclear weapons capability. This extra monitoring will make it harder for Iran to break out in a nuclear fashion. I’m pleased we’ve increased scrutiny of the Iranian Nuclear Program in a bipartisan fashion at a very critical time.”
“The inclusion of our legislation to better track Iran’s nuclear efforts in the NDAA is an important step forward as the United States continues to look for creative ways to fully address Iran’s illicit nuclear program in 2023,” Chairman Menendez said. “In establishing a managed process for enhanced Congressional review and oversight over Tehran’s nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, we are ensuring Congress is more informed when shaping our nation’s Iran policy. I thank Senator Graham for his partnership and determination to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state and potentially igniting a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous tinderbox in the world.”
Additionally, the senators’ NDAA provision requires the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an annual diplomatic strategy for engaging with U.S. partners and allies regarding Iran’s nuclear and terrorism activities to include:
- A description of efforts to address the increased threat that new or evolving uranium enrichment, nuclear weaponization, missile, or drone development activities by Iran poses to the national security interests of the United States.
- A description of efforts of the United States to counter efforts of Iran to project political and military influence.
- A description of a coordinated whole-of-government approach to use political, economic, and security related tools to address such activities.
- A comprehensive plan for engaging with allies and regional partners in all relevant multilateral fora to address such activities.