Iranby Representative Scott Perry
Posted on 2015-04-13
PERRY. Madam Speaker, I appreciate the efforts of my good friend
from Florida to bring this issue to the floor and start the discussion.
Of course, when we hear from the administration that, somehow, because we are having the discussion because, somehow, we dare to question that we are on the wrong side of history, that we are unpatriotic, and literally, in many cases, the administration is trying to equate those in this Chamber, in this body, who would have a discussion and would call into question some of the tenets of this framework and then this agreement--which we didn't know much about-- that we are tantamount to the same thing as the hardliners in Iran, the hardliners that had horrific human rights violations over the course of the last 50 years, as far as America is concerned, and literally do unspeakable things. That is breathtaking to me.
The problem is, among other things, that we are skeptical because our negotiating partner in this, Iran, is not trustworthy, simply not trustworthy. Just picture yourself and your own family, if you were negotiating an infraction within your own family, and while you were discussing the infraction, that member of your family was doing the exact same thing that you were discussing about the cheating. That is exactly what happened, Madam Speaker.
During the discussion, during this negotiation, we found an undisclosed site in Iran, and we don't know how many more there are. It was undisclosed. They said, Oh, well, yeah, sorry about that; you can take a look now, I suppose.
But how many more are there? Why would we trust someone like that? Why would we trust someone, knowing the track record over the last 35 or 40 years of this country, of this nation? I think Americans need to know where the negotiation started on both sides--what were Iran's requirements, what were the United States' requirements--because we hear this is a good deal. We understand from the administration that it is a good deal, but we want to know it is a good deal with our own eyes.
We want to see it. We want to think about it. We want to internalize it. We want to have an opportunity to ruminate on it and sleep on it and look at our children and think about our grandchildren in the world they are going to live in and think about whether this is a good deal. We are told: No, it is a good deal, take my word for it.
We don't know where negotiations started and ended for the most part, but some things, we do know. We do know that 2 years ago--heck, a year ago, enriching uranium for Iran was unforgivable, it was not allowed not only by the United States, but by the community of nations, by the United Nations.
Now, just with this framework, we have legitimized not hundreds of centrifuges, but tens of thousands of centrifuges. Meanwhile, countries around the globe, across the globe, have peaceful nuclear programs and don't have any centrifuges.
That makes one wonder--not a nuclear scientist, not a physicist, don't work at a reactor down at your local power plant--but if that is true, why did they need them? Why would we have agreed to that? We are right to be skeptical.
Iran practices strategic delay. At this point, Rouhani, the guy that wrote this book, who lauded himself for duping the West in other negotiations, is at the top of the heap right now.
You wonder why people in this body--forget people in this body. What about the vast majority of Americans that are skeptical? This is their voice. We are not necessarily only speaking for ourselves.
We are speaking for our constituents and the majority of Americans that say ``hold on'' to the administration. You say it is a good deal, but let's look with our own eyes because of these things, because the negotiators that negotiated the nuclear deal with North Korea that was going to disallow them to have nuclear weapons, they are the same negotiators that we have now in many cases; and, oh, by the way, in case you haven't kept up on current events, North Korea has nuclear weapons. So is it really prudent and proper for us to be skeptical? Is it prudent and proper for us to ask questions? The biggest situation here, the biggest part of this is that there can be no mistakes. There is no margin of error with nuclear weapons. If one or two terrorists gets set free from Guantanamo and gets back out on the battlefield, that is regrettable; that is unacceptable, but that is very different than a nuclear blast.
Unfortunately, for Israel, they are close. We live thousands and thousands of miles away, but Israel is described by their enemies that would have this nuclear weapon as a one-bomb country because that is all it will take and it will all be over for that little country.
Now, you might wonder: Okay, well, certainly, Israel, that is bad for them, but why should we care so much? Yeah, it is Israel, but they are over there, and we are over here, which begets the next question: Why are intercontinental ballistic missiles not included in the negotiation? Ask yourself: What is the need for intercontinental ballistic missiles? [[Page H2143]] Well, I will tell you if you don't know. It is to deliver armament. What would that armament be? Well, that would be a nuclear warhead. You don't need one to get to Israel, folks. You need one of those to get to the United States.
These folks call Israel the Little Satan. Madam Speaker, you know who the Great Satan is; that is us. If this is so good, if this is so obviously good, why isn't that included in the negotiation, in the agreement, in the framework? Look, we are just foolish Americans, but it seems to make sense to us that that should be there.
You have got to ask yourself--I have heard the administration say: Well, during the duration of this Presidential term, we can be assured there will be no nuclear weapon in Iran.
Well, thank goodness for that; but what about the rest of us that are going to plan on living out the fullest part of our lives and our children and our grandchildren that are worried past the next 2 years? Ten to 15 years is a blink of the eye, is a moment in history. That is still too short.
Never is the right answer. Never is the right answer for people and nations that act like Iran.
Now, I heard recently that the administration said that they might let Congress express themselves. I thought about that--express themselves. I don't know where that verbiage came from, but it seems to me--I am looking at my rule book here. It is the recipe which we follow to run the country. It says here, under article II, section 2, regarding the President: He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.
Now, if you wonder what a treaty is, just go and look it up in the dictionary. It is an agreement. I keep hearing about this is a framework for a historic agreement.
Folks, ladies and gentlemen, citizens, this is an agreement between the citizens of the United States and Iran, and the President is encumbering you when he signs this to everything therein, whether you agree with it or not.
We understand we have representative government, but that is why the Congress is supposed to be involved. That is why article II, section 2 says the Senate must provide advice and consent, so that your wishes are heard, so that your concerns are heard, not so that one guy, one person, makes a decision for the entire country on issues that are so important.
Let's talk about other issues of like importance. There is strong precedent, historical precedent, for congressional review of nonproliferation: three strategic arm reduction treaties, START treaties with Russia; the Nonproliferation Treaty; the Biological Weapons Convention; the Chemical Weapons Convention; the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty; the U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2008; and the civilian nuclear energy agreements with Vietnam and Taiwan submitted for congressional review by this President in 2014.
If it is okay for them, why is this one any different? I would say to you that, recently, we heard that the country is stronger when the Congress and the administration work together. That was in reference to the authorization for the use of military force to confront ISIS.
Now, ISIS is a regional threat in that portion of the world that might become a growing cancer outside its bounds. I guess it is; but what is more important than nuclear war? If it is good enough for an AUMF with ISIS, why doesn't it apply here? Finally, with your indulgence, Madam Speaker, we are told that this is a good deal and we should just trust the administration. With all due respect, I think it is important to review the recent foreign policy issues and the record. I am just going to highlight a couple of events that you might be familiar with.
The Syrian red line, the red line in Syria for the use of chemical weapons--we drew a red line, and then we watched it violated a dozen times before we said something, and then we backed off. Now, we are actually talking about having discussions and some kind of an agreement with Bashar al-Assad. That didn't work out too well.
Russia, they are doing whatever they want to in Ukraine. We have convinced the Ukrainians to dismantle their nuclear program, saying that we would be there for them if they were ever attacked, and we are nowhere. I served in Iraq and so did my good friend from Florida, and we think about all the lives and the energy and the hardship lost in Iraq. I think you can hardly call that a success under this current administration.
Afghanistan, we were staying. We were going. We were staying. We were going. That was hardly a success in my mind.
Egypt, a great wellspring of democracy where we chose the wrong side, and the Egyptian people had to choose the correct side. The Iranian green revolution, when they tried to rise up against oppression, and America turned its eyes and turned its face. Libya, where we helped overthrow a dictator, and, now, we have a failed state--and Yemen, the model of success for counterterrorism.
What about the exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five terrorists? I mean, I don't mean to be overly and hypercritical, Madam Speaker, but it just seems to me, if future performance is indicated by past performance, we have a right to be skeptical.
All we are saying is it is right and it is our duty to question and to make sure that this is, indeed, good for the American people.
If it is good, then the administration should have no problem showing it to us and allowing us to vet it, like so many other historical precedents have. The greatness of it will be obvious to the American people and their Representatives, their Representatives here in this Hall and the Hall across the building.
With that, I thank the gentleman.
Mr. DeSANTIS. I thank my friend.
I think the gentleman from Pennsylvania did a good job of putting this all into a broader perspective in terms of this administration's approach to the world.
I think, if you look around the world, there are probably two countries that we have better relations with than when this President took office; and I think, almost uniformly, everywhere else, we are worse off.
Cuba, we have much closer relationships now. The President shakes the hand of Raul Castro, a blood-stained hand, a hand that has suppressed thousands and thousands of people, that has killed the sinners, that has caused thousands of people to flee in shark-infested waters to try to reach the shore of Florida; but the President is doing business with him, not helping the Cuban people. You actually see political repression has increased since we have changed policies, but the President seems fine with that.
Then Iran, we talk with Iran a lot more than we ever have. The question is: Is that a good thing? I think the answer is a dance-with- the-devil foreign policy has really never been tried before, and I think the chance of it succeeding is almost zero.
Part of the problem we see with this framework, I think, is that it is symptomatic of a larger failure to properly address the hostile actors throughout the world.
Goodness gracious, we need to look at our allies like Israel, like democracies in Europe, and they need to know that we are going to stand with them. I think we have an approach to the world right now where our allies can't depend on us and our adversaries don't really fear us. I think that is a bad approach, and I think, unfortunately, it is an approach that is going to invite more danger rather than keep us out of trouble.
I appreciate all my friends who came and made great comments. The President said recently that the criticism of this deal needs to stop.
Mr. President, we are not going to stop. We are going to be here; we are going to make the case on behalf of the American people, and we are going to be urging the Congress to speak loudly and clearly on behalf of American security.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.