Congress Should Not Allow Weak Iran Nuke Deal; P5+1 Must Either Secure Deal with Complete Cessation of Enrichment and Dismantlement of Nuclear Infrastructure or Walk Away, Ros-Lehtinen Says

Nov 20, 2014

Congress Should Not Allow Weak Iran Nuke Deal; P5+1 Must Either Secure Deal with Complete Cessation of Enrichment and Dismantlement of Nuclear Infrastructure or Walk Away, Ros-Lehtinen Says

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement at a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining What a Nuclear Iran Deal Means for Global Security.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“We are now just a few days away from the Iran nuclear deadline. And the P5+1 appear poised to accept a weak deal with a regime that cannot be trusted. Despite approximately $14 billion in direct sanctions relief, as well as incalculable indirect benefits to the Iranian economy and the nuclear program, Iran has repeatedly stated that it will never stop enriching uranium or take one step back in its research and development. Despite a four month extension of talks and allowing Iran access to an additional $700 million dollars of its blocked currency each month, Iran’s Supreme Leader two weeks ago called for the destruction of our greatest ally in the Middle East, the democratic Jewish state of Israel. Iran recently claimed its ballistic missiles are capable of razing Israeli cities and American military bases in the region to the ground. Iran has called for Palestinian incitement against Israel, the result of which can be seen in the tragic murders two days ago of five Israelis, three of whom were US citizens, in a Jerusalem synagogue as they were praying.

From the very outset, Iran has not complied with the terms outlined by the P5+1, exporting more oil than allowed, continuing production at the Arak heavy water reactor, denying access to key facilities, and dragging its feet every step of the way. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that Iran isn’t even cooperating with its past commitments, such as completely disclosing its past work on nuclear weaponization. Rouhani, who bragged in the past about deceiving the administration as its chief negotiator, is known for using stall tactics while continuing to advance Iran’s nuclear weapons program behind the scenes. And our leadership in the White House falls for it.

The administration turns a blind eye to Iran’s support of terrorism, its constant threats against the United States and our allies, and its failure to cooperate even during this negotiation period. It ignores every lesson we thought we learned when North Korea delayed its way into a nuclear weapon. President Obama even sends secret letters to the Supreme Leader, naively hoping to appeal to the rational side of a man who has proven himself to be anything but. The Iranians have made clear that no matter what a final deal contains, they will not stop enrichment and will not allow access to sites like Parchin and who knows how many other covert sites.

As General Hayden has stated, because of the covert nature of Iran’s activities, American intelligence alone will not be able to verify the agreement, and if he would still be advising the President, he would tell him that this deal could not be adequately verified. Iran must be completely transparent about its current and past programs, including its weaponization efforts, and accept snap inspections anywhere, anytime. But experience and the track record tells us that Iran will not do so. It is impossible to verify Iran’s nuclear program because as the Defense Science Board report has said, the capability to detect Iran’s undeclared or covert nuclear sites is either inadequate or does not exist.

Finally, this administration has misunderstood the point of sanctions – sanctions that Congress worked hard to build – from the very beginning. The sanctions regime that Congress put into place was designed to work together, the sanctions are interconnected to target not just the nuclear program, but Iran’s ballistic weapons program and human rights abuses as well. The P5+1 has allowed Iran’s economy to grow, its currency to strengthen, and has provided a dangerous amount of concessions and sanctions relief to the regime based only on its nuclear program. And they have given Iran the time and money it needs to be more resilient and even better able to weather sanctions in the future. The effect of sanctions takes time and cannot be easily re-implemented once lifted or once suspended.

Yet all indications are that President Obama, if a final deal is reached, would seek to lift sanctions or use waiver authority provided within the sanctions laws. These waivers, however, are national security waivers. And it is not in the national security interest of the United States to provide Iran additional access to cash with which it can proliferate and expand its other illicit activities, specifically its support for global terror. Just last week, the President reissued a continuation of the National Emergency with respect to Iran, a status which has been in place since the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. It strains the imagination to see how the President can on one hand declare Iran as a national emergency yet on the other waive sanctions and say Iran is not a national security threat.

Congress needs to reclaim its sanctions authority from this administration and do everything it can to prevent this weak deal from happening. So let me be clear: no matter what the P5+1 does, Congress should not allow a deal that threatens our national security interests to stand, and we intend on repairing the damage that has been done as soon as possible. We must reinstate and expand sanctions and we must not allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb. Either the P5+1 secures a deal that includes the complete cessation of Iran’s enrichment and the full dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure, or it must walk away from these doomed talks altogether.”