IRAN FREEDOM SUPPORT ACT -- (House of Representatives - April 26, 2006)
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Ms. BERKLEY. I thank Mr. Crowley for yielding time, Madam Speaker, and I rise in strong support of the Iran Freedom Support Act. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this important legislation and ask for its immediate passage.
It would be difficult to overstate the danger Iran represents. Unchecked Iranian nuclear proliferation, combined with increasing support for international terrorism, will help to further destabilize the entire region.
Iran currently possesses ballistic missiles capable of striking 1,200 miles away. This places U.S. forces in this region, moderate Islamic Arab countries located in the region, as well as the State of Israel in grave danger. Imagine, if you will, if these missiles had nuclear delivery capability.
For over two decades, the Iranian regime has been pursuing a covert and now overt nuclear program. It has manufactured centrifuges, sought completion of heavy-water reactors, and experimented with uranium enrichment. According to one weapons inspector, it has already converted 45 tons of uranium into gas, enough to build more than one nuclear bomb.
In a perfect world, we should be able to rely on the United Nations to curb Iranian nuclear proliferation. In a perfect world, the eight reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran's violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty would be enough to motivate action. In a perfect world, all of the members of the Security Council would appreciate the seriousness and catastrophe of a nuclear Iran. But since we cannot count on the international community, China and Russia are far too interested in Iranian oil and Iranian trade money, the United States must step up the pressure and do what is right.
This bill, in my opinion, accomplishes that goal. U.S. sanctions would dramatically increase the pressure on the Iranian regime to give up their nuclear ambitions and allow international inspections of their facilities. Since the President of Iran was elected last summer, Iran's stock market has lost 40 percent of its value, there has been a capital flight of more than $200 billion, and Iran's manufacturing sector is increasingly dependent on imports. Iran is struggling financially. This legislation will further squeeze Iran and deny it the financial resources to continue its path towards nuclear armament.
There is no debate, not anywhere, not in this body, that Iran is a radical and fundamentalist country headed by a President who is willing to share nuclear technology with the most unstable countries in the world, and by mullahs who raise religious fanaticism to a new art form. Every pronouncement this President makes further dramatizes how mentally unstable and unbalanced and dangerous he is. The United States must act quickly and decisively if we are to counter the continuing threat posed by the Iranian regime. We must deny Iran the technology and assistance and financial resources it needs to pursue this unacceptable behavior.
I have no illusions. I can't guarantee that the sanctions contained in this bill will have the desired effect, but I do know that it is a far better alternative to invading Iran or bombing Iran. And unlike the Iraq Freedom Act, which many people have cited today as a reason not to pass this particular piece of legislation, there is nothing in this act that we are debating today, there is nothing in this legislation that can be construed as authorizing use of force against Iran, and none of the assistance should be used to support covert action that is contained in the legislation.
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