Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he would not lift the state’s sanctions on Iran, rejecting a request to do so by President Obama and affirming “strong support” for Israel.

Abbott told the Obama administration in a letter that Texas will maintain and even strengthen its sanctions against Iran.

Abbott was responding to a letter from the administration sent in April requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against Iran.

The governor reiterated his strong opposition to the Iran deal, which was sealed with the Islamic Republic last summer, and informed the administration that he will continue to seek new legislation to strengthen existing economic sanctions against Iran, which he termed as the “world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

“Entering into an agreement with a country that consistently calls for ‘death to America’ and repeatedly articulates anti-Semitic policies is short-sighted and ignores geopolitical realities,” Abbott wrote in the letter.


US President Barack Obama. (Susan Walsh/AP)

“As a strong supporter of Israel, I am committed to doing everything in my power to oppose this misguided deal with Iran. Accordingly, not only will we not withdraw our sanctions, but we will strengthen them to ensure Texas taxpayer dollars are not used to aid and abet Iran,” he stated.

During his visit to Israel in January, Abbott met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and announced he would seek legislation to prohibit local government entities in the State of Texas from investing in Iran or entities conducting business with Iran, a law that requires all Texas state entities, and not just state pensions, to follow Texas’ divestiture policy, and further legislation to close additional loopholes in Texas’ current divestiture statute.

“Given all the flaws that are inherent in the Iran deal, Texas is absolutely committed to maintaining its sanctions against Iran,” the letter reads.

Meeting with the Jewish media in New York over the weekend, Abbot said 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, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Israel has no stronger ally in the United States than the State of Texas,” he added. “Texas is going to take the lead in sending the message to the international community that we stand with Israel.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel