Senator David Perdue Highlights Failures Of President Obama’s Dangerous Iran Deal
“The world was given a false promise: that this nuclear deal would serve as a catalyst for change and moderation in Iran.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, addressed the failures of President Obama’s dangerous nuclear deal with Iran a year after its announcement. Since the Obama Administration finalized this agreement, Iran has launched four ballistic test missiles, violated human rights, and continued to prop up terrorist organizations.
Click here to view the speech or on the image below.
“It was just one year ago, on April 2, that actually marked the framework for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the President’s nuclear deal with Iran. We were promised by the Obama Administration, at all levels, that this nuclear agreement would make the world a safer place.
I’ve traveled the world quite a bit in the last year. I just got back from another trip to the Middle East. I believe the world possibly is more dangerous, right now, than any time in my lifetime. Unfortunately, the message to make the world a safer place did not resonate with Iran.
The world was given a false promise: this nuclear deal would serve as a catalyst for change and moderation in Iran.
We’ve seen change, but it’s only been for the worse. Iran is both enriched and emboldened by this dangerous deal. The President’s deal provided Iran with over an estimated $100 billion windfall.
Secretary Kerry said just this January that Iran, ‘had massive needs within their country and we – the U.S. – will be able to track where this money is going, what’s happening with it.’ But, instead of focusing these funds inward as we were assured – on improving the lives of their people – Iran has chosen to use this money to bolster its conventional forces and cyber capabilities; to strengthen its proxies; to crack down on its own people; and to further destabilize the region.
Iran has test-launched four ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal was announced. Most recently, these missiles were launched with the words ‘death to Israel’ emblazoned on their side. The most recently launched missiles were more advanced—precision guided and more sophisticated. Iran has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. They continue in developing space launch vehicles as well that are a transparent guise for seeking longer-range missile capability. Iran humiliated, and detained at gunpoint, U.S. Navy sailors in violation of international law.
According to American officials, Iran is using cyberespionage and cyberattacks as a tool of influence, with Iranian hackers breaking into email and social media accounts of employees of our very own State Department who work on Iran-related issues. Iran also used American hostages for strategic and economic leverage from this Administration – only turning over innocent Americans when the Administration freed seven Iranian sanctions violators and dismissed charges on 14 other Iranians, including two men who helped transfer soldiers and weapons to the Assad regime and to the terror group, Hezbollah. Iran continues to spend millions to support the Houthi insurgency that is contributing to the security vacuum in Yemen.
Just last week, the U.S. Navy confiscated another weapons cache from the Arabian Sea, believed to be en route from Iran to Yemen in support of the Houthis. This shipment included about 1500 Kalashnikov rifles, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and 21 .50-caliber machine guns. That would be bad enough if it were the only one, but this is the fourth such seizure in the region since just September of last year. The fourth. I think it’s is very clear what the Iranian intentions are with regard to the rebels in Yemen and also to the terrorists of Hezbollah, Hamas, and others in the region.
According to the State Department, Iran continues to be the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. In its quest to dominate the Middle East and expel American influence, Iran has exploited terrorism as a tool of statecraft to oppose U.S. interests and objectives in Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. Iran continues to spend an estimated $6 billion per year in support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and millions in dollars and material to Hezbollah and Hamas.
On a recent trip to the Middle East two weeks ago, I heard these concerns from our friends and allies in the region firsthand. Iran’s domestic repression has also gotten worse. The crackdown on dissent is at its worst since the 2009 Green Revolution, according to NGOs. Iran continues to imprison those who disagree with the mullahs, and to imprison those who are at odds with the regime. Executions are at their highest level since 1989. Further, the regime disqualified thousands of reformist candidates in its recently-held parliamentary elections.
When you look at the facts, it’s clear that the Middle East – and I would argue, the world – is potentially worse off since the signing of the President’s nuclear deal. And what are we doing about it? I think that’s the question the American people should keep their eyes on.
Well, according to Secretary Kerry, ‘Iran deserves the benefits of the agreement that they struck.’ And despite the four ballistic missile launches, the Administration won’t call them a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, this is the resolution that includes the nuclear deal, arms embargo, and ballistic missile prohibitions.
Just last week, Ambassador Shannon, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, told the Foreign Relations Committee that he believes these ballistic missile tests, ‘violated the intent’ of the U.N. Security Council Resolution, but would not call it a violation.
I’m troubled by that. Iran’s ever-increasing support for terrorism and instability is going essentially unchecked. This is no way to handle a rogue regime. Instead, we need to take a tougher stance on Iran. Now that we see their intentions post-deal.
On ballistic missile violations, we must go beyond the President’s designation of 11 individuals and companies for the ballistic missile launches. The Iranians paid for that technology somehow, yet no financial institution was sanctioned for this transaction. The technology arrived in Iran by boat or plane, yet no shipping line, or airline, or logistics firm was included in the sanctions. We need to codify sectoral sanctions on Iran for ballistic missiles and impose tougher standards for mandatory sanctions – including acquisition or development of ballistic missiles or as activity required sanctions.
We need to show Iran we are serious about stopping their continued support of terrorism and human rights violations. We should impose stricter sanctions on the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for their support of terrorism. We need to freeze assets owned by the IRGC, its members and its affiliates. We should codify Executive Order 13599, which prohibits Iran’s direct and indirect access to the U.S. financial system. We need to improve new sanctions against Iran as a money-laundering entity for terrorist groups, and for its human rights abuses.
We need to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). This vital legislation, which is one of the most important lynchpins in U.S. sanctions architecture on Iran, is due to expire by the end of this very year. Without the reauthorization of ISA, the threat of ‘snapback’ for Iranian violations of the nuclear deal doesn’t carry much weight. We need to have these sanctions reauthorized, so we can use them swiftly in the event of any future Iranian violation. President Obama has already admitted that Iran has violated the ‘spirit’ of the nuclear agreement.
And finally, we must ensure that Israel is able to maintain its Qualitative Military Edge – this is a standard that we’ve held up for many years – and equip our Gulf Allies against increased Iranian aggression from proxies. Iran’s behavior over the past year has proven that they are not worthy of the trust bestowed upon them by this Administration. While the Administration refuses to admit reality, Congress must hold Iran’s feet to the fire to get a stronger U.S. policy towards Iran.
We cannot afford to give this rogue regime the benefit of the doubt any longer.
Iran refuses to be an honest actor – it’s clear from Iranian actions, just since the nuclear deal was announced, that they have not changed their behavior on missile testing, human rights violations, or support for terrorism. Our policies must change to reflect the dangerous reality. The Obama Administration should work with Congress to strengthen our sanctions, reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, and stand up to Iran’s total disregard for international restrictions and the original intent of the nuclear deal.
The world is a very dangerous place. Iran needs to see a strong America stand up and lead again in the region. On this recent trip, the question that we asked of these leaders was, ‘what do we need to do to as America?’ The number one answer from these heads of state was universal, ‘America needs to lead again.’”
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