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May 17, 2019

Chairman Schiff Statement on Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released a statement on the threat posed by Iran:

“Iran is a thoroughly malign actor, a cause of deep instability in the region, a profound contributor to the violence and misery in Yemen, and one of the most dangerous regimes in the world. Through the IRGC and its proxies, it is also a state sponsor of terror. The threat it poses is real. 

“Given the degree to which the President has mischaracterized prior intelligence on other matters, or disputed the work product of the agencies when it contradicted his preferred narrative, his actions have generated understandable doubt on what we really know of Iranian plans and intentions. 

“All Members of Congress should be fully briefed by our intelligence agencies on their assessment of the threat posed by Iran, and I am pleased that this will occur in the coming days. 

“However, understanding the potential for conflict with Iran requires much more than hearing from our intelligence agencies. Members also must closely scrutinize the many highly escalatory actions taken by the Administration over the past year. If the intelligence supports the conclusion that the risk of conflict with Iran has been heightened over the past month, this should be no surprise – indeed it would be surprising were the case otherwise. 

“By withdrawing from the JCPOA despite Iranian compliance, tightening sanctions on Iran's oil exports, and designating the IRGC as a terrorist group, the Administration has dramatically increased tensions with Iran, without articulating how doing so is in our national interest. In particular, our departure from the JCPOA caused a tremendous rift with our European and other allies — who likewise assessed that Iran was complying with its obligations under that agreement — and thus increased our isolation, rather than Iran’s.

“None of the actions taken by the Administration, ill-considered or otherwise, justify any form of violent response from the Iranian regime. Iran should have no doubt that any attack on our forces would be disastrous. My greatest concern is the potential for miscalculation on the Iranian side which could lead to a cycle spinning quickly beyond control, with devastating consequences for both our nations and the region. 

“Finally, it must be reiterated that Congress has the sole constitutional authority to authorize force, and in the case of Iran, we have not done so. Any suggestion that the use of force against Iran would be covered by the 2001 AUMF is dangerous and insupportable.”