Lankford, Abraham Accords Caucus Members Push to Strengthen Maritime Strategy to Counter Iran

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), co-chairs of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, to introduce the Maritime Architecture and Response to International Terrorism in the Middle East (MARITIME) Act, which would build on the Abraham Accords by requiring the Department of Defense to develop a strategy with partners and allies in the Middle East to counter maritime threats posed by Iran, violent extremist organizations, and criminal networks. An integrated maritime security architecture would expand US intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) capabilities, as well as operational coordination with partners and allies in the region to defend against shared threats.

“The Abraham Accords are essential to promoting a secure and prosperous future for the Middle East and North Africa, which ultimately strengthens our national security and our work with allies,” said Lankford. “We should continue to utilize the Accords to strengthen and expand our defense and national security capabilities on the ground, in the air, and at sea. I’m glad to join my fellow Abraham Accords Caucus members to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between the US, Israel, and Arab partners in the maritime domain. Iran and its proxies remain a significant and growing threat in the region, and we must make sure we stay ready to keep Americans and our allies safe and all our international trade routes open.”

“The Abraham Accords have enabled unprecedented security cooperation between Israel and Arab partners. Recent hostile naval actions by Iran and its terrorist proxies demonstrate the significant threat that Iran poses to maritime security in the Middle East,” said Rosen. “I’m proud to introduce legislation that would build on the Abraham Accords by strengthening maritime cooperation in the region between the US., Israel, and Arab partners. Now more than ever, we must work together to bolster our collective security to defend against Iranian-based threats.”

“Further security cooperation between the United States, Israel, and our partners and allies in the region will advance prosperity, counter Iran’s malign influence, and promote a more peaceful Middle East centered on the success of the Abraham Accords,” said Ernst. “As violent extremists, criminal networks, and piracy activities threaten lives and lawful commerce, it’s important to the safety and security of the U.S., our servicemembers, and our partners that we encourage increased maritime cooperation, including interdiction capabilities, to deter Iran and its proxies.”

“Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, the United States has further engaged with regional partners in the Middle East to develop defense strategies and cooperation to enhance the protection of our country’s allies and interests,” said Booker. “This legislation will build on such efforts by requiring the timely development of a multifaceted maritime-focused security strategy to strengthen our collective capabilities to counter shared maritime threats.”

Lankford also joined Ernst, Rose, and Booker to introduce the Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defense (DEFEND) Act to develop a strategic approach among countries included in the Abraham Accords, aimed at combatting Iranian aggression in the Middle East.