Videos & Speeches

Mr. President, cyber security is an important issue, but I come to the floor to talk for a bit about one of the most consequential decisions that I, as a Member of the U.S. Senate, and my colleagues will make, and that concerns the negotiated agreement between the P5+1 and Iran--the proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. In my view, it provides too much relief in return for too few concessions. The deal implicitly concedes that Iran will become a nuclear power and will gain the ability and legitimacy to produce a weapon in a matter of years while gaining wealth and power in the meantime.

I serve on the Senate Banking Committee. The sanctions that were created by Congress originate from that committee. Those sanctions were put in place to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power--a country capable of delivering a nuclear weapon across their border. Those sanctions were not put in place to give Iran a path or a guideline to become a nuclear-weapon-capable country. The key is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Iran's Government. The key to that is to permanently disable Iran from nuclear capability and remove the technology used to produce nuclear materials. This deal fails to achieve this goal by allowing Iran to retain nuclear facilities. Though some of it will be limited in use in the near term, the centrifuges used to enrich nuclear matter will not be destroyed or removed from the country. This deal allows Iran's nuclear infrastructure to remain on standby for nuclear development when the restrictions expire.

Also troubling is the agreement's lack of restrictions on nuclear research and development. Iran seeks to replace its current enrichment technology with a more advanced centrifuge that more efficiently enriches nuclear material. By failing to restrict research and development now, we are priming Iran's nuclear program to hit the ground running toward a bomb once the restrictions are lifted in a matter of years.

Also, the inspection regime agreed to in this negotiation is dangerously accommodating. The agreement provides Iran a great deal of flexibility regarding the inspection of military sites just like those where Iran's past covert nuclear development work took place. The deal allows Iran to hold concerned international inspectors at bay for weeks, if not months, before granting access to a location suspected of being a site for nuclear development.

The value of any access to suspected Iranian nuclear sites that international inspectors ultimately do receive will depend upon their understanding of Iran's past nuclear weapons research. A comprehensive disclosure of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear research is necessary for inspectors to fully understand Iran's current infrastructure and is critical to their ability to rule out any future efforts to produce nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, has not made public its site agreement with Iran about their previous nuclear developments. This is an aside, but I would say none of us should agree to this negotiated agreement without seeing, reading, and knowing the content of that agreement. Under the proposed deal, that vital full disclosure of Iran's nuclear past may not occur, diminishing the value of inspections and increasing the risk that another covert weaponization of Iran will take place.

Painfully absent from the agreement's requirements is Iran's release of American hostages: Saeed Abedini, Jason Rezaian, Robert Levinson, and Amir Hekmati. The freedom of Americans unjustly held in Iran should have been a strict precondition for sanctions relief instead of an afterthought.

In return for very limited concessions, this deal gives Iran way too much. If implemented, the agreement would give Iran near complete sanctions relief up front. This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue. Common sense tells us that you don't give away a leverage until you get the result that you are looking for, and this agreement provides sanctions relief upfront, delivering billions in frozen assets to the Iranian Government and boosting the Iranian economy. Included in this relief are sanctions related to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, which were to be lifted only when Iran ceased providing support for international terrorism.

The sanctions relief in this proposal not only fails to require preconditions and cooperation regarding nuclear disarmament but will remove sanctions from the Iranian Guard, despite their status as a top supporter of terrorist groups around the Middle East and globe.

This type of gratuitous flexibility for Iran is found elsewhere in the agreement. The P5+1 acceptance of Iranian demands for a relaxed U.N. arms embargo is both perplexing and scary. This deal would relax trade restrictions on missiles after 8 years, while immediately erasing limits on missile research and development. It would also lift restrictions on Iranian centrifuge use and development after just 8 to 10 years. The deal grants Iran the ability to more efficiently produce nuclear material just as it gains the ability to access the delivery weapons system.

Earlier this month, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN Martin Dempsey, said: “Under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking. “Lifting the U.N. arms embargo was ‘out of the question.’ Yet, just 1 week later, negotiators announced the lifting of the embargo in 5 to 8 years or less. I wonder what has changed. Unless the menace of an increased flow of weapons in and out of Iran somehow substantially decreased during the intervening week, the consequence of this sudden capitulation should have us all greatly concerned.”

This fear of increased money flow to terror organizations linked to the Iranian Government is not based upon merely an outside possibility; it is a likelihood. Last week Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister stated: “Whenever it's needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so.” More money and more weapons in the hands of terrorist organizations are the fuel for increased violence and further destabilization in the conflict-torn Middle East.

We have little reason to believe Iran's behavior will change as a result of this agreement. In fact, their chants of “Death to America” become more real.

Since the announcement of the agreement, the leader of Iran has been openly antagonistic to the United States. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has promised to continue to incite unrest and said Iran's “policy towards the arrogant U.S. will not change.” These anti-American statements come from an Iranian leader whose commitment the Obama administration is relying on for the nuclear accord to work. It should trouble every American that the Obama administration is asking us to support a deal that relies on the total cooperation of those who, as I say, strongly state their commitment to bringing about ``death to America.''

Given the Obama administration's troubling efforts to push through this deal to the United Nations and restrict the influence of the American people through this Congress in the decision, it is all the more important that we follow through with a serious assessment of this nuclear agreement. We are faced with a circumstance that, by the administration's own previous standards, concedes too much and secures too little.

I strongly oppose this nuclear deal. It is intolerably risky, and the result will be a new Iran--a legitimized nuclear power with a growing economy and enhanced means to finance terror, to antagonize, and to ultimately pursue a nuclear weapons program. I will support the congressional resolution to express Congress's explicit disapproval.

President Obama has used fear in his agenda in seeking our support for this agreement. The warning has been that a vote against his policy is a vote for war with Iran. The President's political scare tactics are not only untrue but also illogical.

Incidentally, we were not at war with Iran when the agreements were in place before the negotiation. The absence of agreeing to the negotiated agreement would not mean we will be at war thereafter.

The President's claims undermine numerous statements his own administration has made about the negotiation process, the nature of the Iranian nuclear program, and the proposed agreement's prospects for success. If true, the President's words concede that his foreign policy has led America into a dangerous position.

We would expect a President to provide the American people as many alternatives to war as possible, not just a single narrow and risky one such as this. According to the President, the only alternative to war is this agreement--a deal that results in better financed terrorists, a weakened arms embargo, and the need for boosting U.S. weapons sales to Iran's regional rivals. If this prospect of war is his concern, the President would benefit by reevaluating the geopolitical consequences of the deal and seeking out much better options.

I had hoped these negotiations would result in a strong but fair deal to dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Again, the purpose of placing sanctions on Iran was to get rid of their nuclear capability as far as delivery of nuclear material across their borders. Yet this agreement leaves that infrastructure in place and puts them on a promising path toward that nuclear capability.

Regrettably, that kind of deal was not reached. Now my hope is a simple one: that we are able to reverse some of the damage that is already done and that this agreement is rejected.

I would say that there are those who argue that we would be isolated by rejection of this agreement, that other countries would approve and the United Nations may approve. This is an issue of such importance that we need to do everything possible to see that Iran does not become a nuclear power, and we need to have the moral character and fiber to say no to this agreement.’

Mr. President, cyber security is an important issue, but I come to the floor to talk for a bit about one of the most consequential decisions that I, as a Member of the U.S. Senate, and my colleagues will make, and that concerns the negotiated agreement between the P5+1 and Iran--the proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran. In my view, it provides too much relief in return for too few concessions. The deal implicitly concedes that Iran will become a nuclear power and will gain the ability and legitimacy to produce a weapon in a matter of years while gaining wealth and power in the meantime.

I serve on the Senate Banking Committee. The sanctions that were created by Congress originate from that committee. Those sanctions were put in place to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power--a country capable of delivering a nuclear weapon across their border. Those sanctions were not put in place to give Iran a path or a guideline to become a nuclear-weapon-capable country. The key is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Iran's Government. The key to that is to permanently disable Iran from nuclear capability and remove the technology used to produce nuclear materials. This deal fails to achieve this goal by allowing Iran to retain nuclear facilities. Though some of it will be limited in use in the near term, the centrifuges used to enrich nuclear matter will not be destroyed or removed from the country. This deal allows Iran's nuclear infrastructure to remain on standby for nuclear development when the restrictions expire.

Also troubling is the agreement's lack of restrictions on nuclear research and development. Iran seeks to replace its current enrichment technology with a more advanced centrifuge that more efficiently enriches nuclear material. By failing to restrict research and development now, we are priming Iran's nuclear program to hit the ground running toward a bomb once the restrictions are lifted in a matter of years.

Also, the inspection regime agreed to in this negotiation is dangerously accommodating. The agreement provides Iran a great deal of flexibility regarding the inspection of military sites just like those where Iran's past covert nuclear development work took place. The deal allows Iran to hold concerned international inspectors at bay for weeks, if not months, before granting access to a location suspected of being a site for nuclear development.

The value of any access to suspected Iranian nuclear sites that international inspectors ultimately do receive will depend upon their understanding of Iran's past nuclear weapons research. A comprehensive disclosure of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear research is necessary for inspectors to fully understand Iran's current infrastructure and is critical to their ability to rule out any future efforts to produce nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, has not made public its site agreement with Iran about their previous nuclear developments. This is an aside, but I would say none of us should agree to this negotiated agreement without seeing, reading, and knowing the content of that agreement. Under the proposed deal, that vital full disclosure of Iran's nuclear past may not occur, diminishing the value of inspections and increasing the risk that another covert weaponization of Iran will take place.

Painfully absent from the agreement's requirements is Iran's release of American hostages: Saeed Abedini, Jason Rezaian, Robert Levinson, and Amir Hekmati. The freedom of Americans unjustly held in Iran should have been a strict precondition for sanctions relief instead of an afterthought.

In return for very limited concessions, this deal gives Iran way too much. If implemented, the agreement would give Iran near complete sanctions relief up front. This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue. Common sense tells us that you don't give away a leverage until you get the result that you are looking for, and this agreement provides sanctions relief upfront, delivering billions in frozen assets to the Iranian Government and boosting the Iranian economy. Included in this relief are sanctions related to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, which were to be lifted only when Iran ceased providing support for international terrorism.

The sanctions relief in this proposal not only fails to require preconditions and cooperation regarding nuclear disarmament but will remove sanctions from the Iranian Guard, despite their status as a top supporter of terrorist groups around the Middle East and globe.

This type of gratuitous flexibility for Iran is found elsewhere in the agreement. The P5+1 acceptance of Iranian demands for a relaxed U.N. arms embargo is both perplexing and scary. This deal would relax trade restrictions on missiles after 8 years, while immediately erasing limits on missile research and development. It would also lift restrictions on Iranian centrifuge use and development after just 8 to 10 years. The deal grants Iran the ability to more efficiently produce nuclear material just as it gains the ability to access the delivery weapons system.

Earlier this month, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN Martin Dempsey, said: “Under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking. “Lifting the U.N. arms embargo was ‘out of the question.’ Yet, just 1 week later, negotiators announced the lifting of the embargo in 5 to 8 years or less. I wonder what has changed. Unless the menace of an increased flow of weapons in and out of Iran somehow substantially decreased during the intervening week, the consequence of this sudden capitulation should have us all greatly concerned.”

This fear of increased money flow to terror organizations linked to the Iranian Government is not based upon merely an outside possibility; it is a likelihood. Last week Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister stated: “Whenever it's needed to send arms to our allies in the region, we will do so.” More money and more weapons in the hands of terrorist organizations are the fuel for increased violence and further destabilization in the conflict-torn Middle East.

We have little reason to believe Iran's behavior will change as a result of this agreement. In fact, their chants of “Death to America” become more real.

Since the announcement of the agreement, the leader of Iran has been openly antagonistic to the United States. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has promised to continue to incite unrest and said Iran's “policy towards the arrogant U.S. will not change.” These anti-American statements come from an Iranian leader whose commitment the Obama administration is relying on for the nuclear accord to work. It should trouble every American that the Obama administration is asking us to support a deal that relies on the total cooperation of those who, as I say, strongly state their commitment to bringing about ``death to America.''

Given the Obama administration's troubling efforts to push through this deal to the United Nations and restrict the influence of the American people through this Congress in the decision, it is all the more important that we follow through with a serious assessment of this nuclear agreement. We are faced with a circumstance that, by the administration's own previous standards, concedes too much and secures too little.

I strongly oppose this nuclear deal. It is intolerably risky, and the result will be a new Iran--a legitimized nuclear power with a growing economy and enhanced means to finance terror, to antagonize, and to ultimately pursue a nuclear weapons program. I will support the congressional resolution to express Congress's explicit disapproval.

President Obama has used fear in his agenda in seeking our support for this agreement. The warning has been that a vote against his policy is a vote for war with Iran. The President's political scare tactics are not only untrue but also illogical.

Incidentally, we were not at war with Iran when the agreements were in place before the negotiation. The absence of agreeing to the negotiated agreement would not mean we will be at war thereafter.

The President's claims undermine numerous statements his own administration has made about the negotiation process, the nature of the Iranian nuclear program, and the proposed agreement's prospects for success. If true, the President's words concede that his foreign policy has led America into a dangerous position.

We would expect a President to provide the American people as many alternatives to war as possible, not just a single narrow and risky one such as this. According to the President, the only alternative to war is this agreement--a deal that results in better financed terrorists, a weakened arms embargo, and the need for boosting U.S. weapons sales to Iran's regional rivals. If this prospect of war is his concern, the President would benefit by reevaluating the geopolitical consequences of the deal and seeking out much better options.

I had hoped these negotiations would result in a strong but fair deal to dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Again, the purpose of placing sanctions on Iran was to get rid of their nuclear capability as far as delivery of nuclear material across their borders. Yet this agreement leaves that infrastructure in place and puts them on a promising path toward that nuclear capability.

Regrettably, that kind of deal was not reached. Now my hope is a simple one: that we are able to reverse some of the damage that is already done and that this agreement is rejected.

I would say that there are those who argue that we would be isolated by rejection of this agreement, that other countries would approve and the United Nations may approve. This is an issue of such importance that we need to do everything possible to see that Iran does not become a nuclear power, and we need to have the moral character and fiber to say no to this agreement.