Nuclear Agreement With Iranby Senator Daniel Sullivan
Posted on 2015-12-17
SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I know there is a lot going on today:
the spending bill, the budget. They are very critical to our country.
There is certainly a lot of focus on that. A lot of people are spending
a lot of time, myself included, digging into that agreement, but the
news yesterday on Iran also deserves our attention. Reuters reported
that Iran, according to the U.N. Security Council panel of experts,
violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 when it tested a
ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead in October.
They said it was a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
They are looking at--and it is probably likely, what you see here--the
Iranians also launched another ballistic missile in November. That is
also another likely violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
I made some remarks on the floor a few days ago about Iran and about the nuclear deal. I reminded my colleagues that one of the selling points by the President and by Secretary Kerry about this deal was they were making the case that it was likely to improve Iran's behavior: bring them into the community of nations, get them to behave more like a normal country and not the world's largest sponsor of terrorism, which it currently is.
Since the signing of the nuclear deal, which we debated on this floor, Iran's behavior has only gotten worse. Examples are very numerous. Leaders of the country continue to hold rallies, chanting: ``Death to America,'' ``Death to Israel.'' Iran continues to fund Hezbollah--one of its terrorist proxies around the world--hundreds of millions of dollars. It violated U.N. Security Council resolutions that prevent the Quds Force commander, General Soleimani, from traveling. He actually traveled to Russia to meet with Mr. Putin to talk about arms trade, in likely a violation of another security council resolution.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently said that up to 2,000 Iranian troops are in Syria helping to keep the Assad regime in power, working with the Russians on that.
Something that we can never forget, probably the worst outrage that we have seen, all since the signing of the nuclear agreement a couple of months ago, is that in a direct affront to the United States and our citizens, Iran is still holding five Americans against their will. They took another American hostage since the signing of this agreement. One of them is a marine. One of them is a pastor. One of them is a Washington Post reporter. They are all fellow American citizens.
As we prepare for the holidays, when families come together, when friends come together, the President and Secretary Kerry should be working day and night on the phone, every instrument of American power, to try and release these Americans, but that certainly doesn't seem to be happening.
All of this has taken place since the signing of the agreement. All of this is proof enough that the Iran nuclear deal certainly didn't change Iran's behavior for the better. To the contrary, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Obama administration's deal with Iran has only emboldened Iran to take more provocative action against the United States, our citizens, and our allies.
Iran's leaders are testing us. It is clear they are testing us right now. How we respond to these tests is critical. As noted, Iran's missile launches on October 11 clearly violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1921. The one on November 21 likely did as well. What does this mean? What does this mean for the current Iran nuclear deal that was recently signed? What are the implications on moving forward with that deal? What are the implications of this activity on moving forward with that deal? I believe a strong argument can be made that these actions by Iran mean they are already violating the spirit and the intent of the nuclear agreement that this body just voted on a few months ago-- already.
Former Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton actually predicted this just last week when she stated: They are going to violate it. They are going to violate the nuclear agreement, and when they do, we need to respond quickly and very harshly.
That was the former Secretary of State, former Member of this body. I think Secretary Clinton was right on this.
President Obama himself indicated that there is definitely a tie between the Iranian nuclear deal from his administration and Iran's use of ballistic missile activities. As a matter of fact, the President in a press conference clearly stated that the prohibitions on these activities were part of the nuclear agreement, when in July of this year, after the signing of the agreement, President Obama stated: What I said to our negotiators was . . . let's press for a longer extension of the arms embargo and the ballistic missile prohibitions. And we got that. We got five years in which, under this new agreement, arms coming in and out of Iran are prohibited, and we got eight years for the respective ballistic missiles.
This is the President talking about his nuclear agreement.
To look at another tie between ballistic missiles and the nuclear agreement, you need to look at the U.N. Security Council that implemented the Iran nuclear deal. That is U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. That is replacing some of the other U.N. security council resolutions, and it is the legal framework for the nuclear deal that this body debated and approved. Here is what U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 states: ``Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons . . . until the date eight years after the JCPOA adoption day.'' Again, plain English of the connection. The U.N. Security Council Resolution--that is the international framework for the nuclear deal-- says: no ballistic missile activity by Iran.
Yet now we know in no uncertain terms because our U.N. Ambassador, Ambassador Power, just stated that this launch in October was what that U.N. Security Council resolution said Iran couldn't do. She said that launch was inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. Those are a lot of U.N. Security Council resolutions. That is a lot of activity.
Where does that leave us with regard to the Iran nuclear deal? It is obviously clear that Iran just violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929. That has already been stated by the panel of experts, by Ambassador Power, and the language of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231--the implementation of the U.N. resolution of the Iranian U.N. deal.
This is what I mean when I say that Iran is already violating the spirit and the intent of the Iran nuclear deal. The deal that this body debated a couple of months ago is already being violated by the Iranians.
What should we do? Some of us have already taken action. Thirty-five Members of this body yesterday sent a letter to the President--written by my colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Ayotte--and it said basically: Mr. President, given these ballistic missile activities, given that Iran is violating U.N. Security Council resolutions that relate to the nuclear agreement, you should not be lifting sanctions.
The Obama administration is talking about lifting sanctions as part of the [[Page S8783]] nuclear agreement as early as next month--tens of billions of dollars to the world's largest terrorist regime--sanctions are going to be lifted to allow them to continue their provocative activities against the United States, our allies, and our citizens.
What we are saying, one-third of the Members of this body, is that we shouldn't be doing that. The President should heed the advice of Senator Ayotte's letter. Additionally, I think a strong argument--and people need to look at this issue--that can be made about Iran's recent behavior is that we cannot lift these sanctions pursuant to the terms of the nuclear deal. The nuclear agreement that was debated in this body states that before sanctions are lifted on implementation day, Iran must be in accord with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which among other things calls upon Iran not to undertake activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Do you see how they are related? The nuclear agreement that this body agreed to, the implementation plan of the nuclear agreement, paragraph 34(3) says that Iran has to be in accord with this provision in order for sanctions to be lifted.
Iran is not in accord with this provision. The U.N. has said that. Ambassador Power said that. The bottom line is, if Iran is already violating this U.N. Security Council resolution, then under paragraph 34(3) of the implementation plan of the nuclear deal by the Obama administration, sanctions shouldn't be lifted.
Here is how the President put it when he was selling the deal. ``If Iran violates this deal, the sanctions we imposed that have helped cripple the Iranian economy--the sanctions that helped make this deal possible--would snap back into place promptly.'' I agree that is what we should be doing, but here is the key point. The President doesn't need to wait for the sanctions to snap back. He can and he should take action now, before it is too late, before billions of dollars flood into Iran--the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism.
That is why over one-third of the Members of this body wrote the President yesterday. I urge my colleagues--particularly my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who I know are concerned about these issues because I have had discussions with a number of them--that they should be writing the President as well. They should be telling the President the same thing: Mr. President, Iran is violating the agreement; don't lift the sanctions. He can and should act now.
The President should not lift sanctions against Iran. He needs to go back and reread his own nuclear agreement, and he needs to heed the advice of his former Secretary of State to ``act quickly and harshly against Iran'' when it violates the agreement by not allowing them access to tens of billions of dollars. The President needs to do that now.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). Without objection, it is so ordered.