Texas’ Governor Abbott formally responded on Monday to President Obama’s April 8th letter, stating that “Texas will maintain its sanctions against Iran.”
By DANIELLE ZIRI
New York – Texas will not lift its sanctions on Iran and will take no part in the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with the Islamic republic, which has made the world a “more dangerous and compromised” place, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Jewish media at a special meeting in New York on Monday afternoon.
The Governor formally responded on Monday to a letter sent out by President Barack Obama on April 8 requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against Iran as part of the deal concluded last year. In his response to the President, Governor Abbott wrote: “Because the Iran deal is fundamentally flawed and does not permanently dismantle Iran’s nuclear capability, Texas will maintain its sanctions against Iran.”
“Further, because your administration has recklessly and unilaterally removed critical sanctions, I have called on the Texas Legislature to strengthen the Iran sanctions that Texas already has in place,” he added.
Abbott, who recently visited Israel, told Jewish media he is “deeply disturbed” by the nuclear deal and views it as “a potential existential threat to Israel and frankly to nations across the globe.”
“It makes no sense to me why the United States would be an accomplice to arming and aiding economically a nation that to this day seems to be devoted to terrorism,” he said at the meeting.
Referring to Iran’s recent test launch of ballistic missiles, some of which reportedly had the message “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” written on them, Governor Abbott said: “If that is not a message that the world should comprehend and understand the magnitude of, then the world needs to wake up.”
“Israel has no stronger ally in the United States than the State of Texas,” he added.
On the contrary to Obama’s request, Abbott said that the entities in the state of Texas that have been participating in divestment from Iran will continue to do so. These entities, he explained, primarily include multi-billion dollar retirement investment funds.
Further strengthening Texan divestment, Abbott assured, will have significant economic and symbolic impact on Iran. According to the Texas Comptroller’s 2014 estimates, if Texas were a nation, its economy would rank as the 12th largest in the world by Gross Domestic Product. “This is an economic commitment as powerful as that of Australia or almost Canada,” he said. “Texas is going to take the lead in sending the message to the international community that we stand with Israel.”
Governor Abbott, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident when he was 26 years old, prides himself on literally having a “spine of steel”. He recounts the accident, in which an oak tree fell on his back leaving him forever paralyzed, and how he managed to recover from it and serve as a judge, supreme court justice, attorney general and governor, in his book unveiled on Monday : “Broken but Unbowed”.
The same principle, he said, applies to the United States as a nation. “I believe, and I think a lot of Americans believe that we are a nation that is broken right now. We are a great and strong nation that must remain unbowed,” he said. “My recommended way to do that is for the country to get back to its constitutional basis.”
When asked by the Post if he supports the current presumptuous republican nominee for the Presidency, Donald Trump, he said that he had originally supported Ted Cruz, who he considers a friend, but that he will support Trump, because the alternative is, to him, unacceptable.
“Candidly, I don’t know Donald Trump and I don’t know what his positions are, but I do know Hillary Clinton’s position and what she will do and Hillary will be catastrophic to the United States of America,” he said. The Governor added he is “perplexed” about the Jewish community, which primarily aligns with the Democratic Party, in regards to the vote.
“After seeing eight years of the Obama administration and the damage caused by the Obama administration to Israel and the Israel-US alliance, I don’t understand how anyone who cares about Israel can support a democrat,” he stated.
As the state’s legislative session resumes in January 2017, the Governor said he plans to seek proposals for expanding his anti-Iran divestment policy to include all state agencies in Texas as well call on local governments in the state to join in the effort. By that, he hopes to encourage other states to join in the effort.
Governor Abbott also added he is planning on pushing forward anti-BDS legislation, as was already done in some 20 US states.
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