House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan wrote a letter to the president Tuesday asking him to refrain from lifting punitive tax penalties in Iran for fear it will provide the country with more funds to be used toward state-sponsored terror.
Economic sanctions in the Middle Eastern country will be gradually lifted after Congress failed to stop the controversial Iran nuclear agreement last week.
In the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the intention is for limits to be put on Iran’s nuclear program for the next 10 years in exchange for the relaxed sanctions. Critics of the deal are skeptical the country can be trusted and feel the deal alienates America’s biggest ally in the Middle East, Israel.
“The State Department has designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984,” Ryan wrote. “But under the JCPOA, I understand that you plan to waive many key U.S. sanctions, even delisting entities that your administration has acknowledged support terrorism.”
Up to $150 billion could be released to the country under the agreement and billions more in revenue could be acquired though investments and trade deals, something Ryan says will further destabilize the region.
The tax code provision the Wisconsin Republican is asking the commander in chief to retain would keep a tax in place to discourage doing business with the country due to its support of acts of terror and human rights violations.
Under current policy, taxpayers can’t receive foreign tax credits for business done within the country and shareholders are taxed for any income earned there.
“The idea that a nuclear Iran can be deterred is unrealistic,” he said. “Instead of opening pathways for Iran’s nuclear and terrorist agenda, your administration should work with Congress to strengthen sanctions regimes until Iran changes its behavior.”
Obama has the ability to waive the provision, after giving Congress 30 days notice, if he believes it’s in “the national interest and will expand trade and investment opportunities for United States companies.”
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