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Public Statements

Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PAUL. The chairman states that the main purpose of this bill is to prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. That isn't even as powerful a statement as was made that enticed us into the Iraq war. There was the claim that they already had them. But now, this is a pretense, and yet here we are taking these drastic steps. My main reason for opposing this bill is that I think it's detrimental to our national security. There's no other reason. It doesn't serve our interests. So I am absolutely opposed to it.

In the late 1930s and the early 1940s the American people did not want to go into war, but there were some that were maneuvering us into war, and they used the argument that you needed an event. So, in June of 1941, sanctions were put against Japan, incidentally and ironically, to prohibit oil products from going into Japan. Within 6 months there was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And there is now talk, there's been talk in the media, and we've heard about it, we need to bomb Iran. And that's what the people hear.

The sanctions are a use of force. This is just not modest. This is very serious. And the way this is written, it literally could end up with a blockade. It could be trying to punish our friends and cut off trade, and this cannot help us in any way. We would like to help the dissidents. We'd like to encourage them to overthrow their government. But hardly should we have our CIA, with U.S. funded programs, going in there with a policy of regime change. They know these kind of things happen. We've been involved in this business in Iran since 1953. And it doesn't serve us well. It backfires on us, comes back to haunt us.

One of the goals explicitly expressed by al Qaeda and their leaders has been they would like to draw us into the Middle East because it would cost us a lot of money and it could hurt us financially. And the second reason they want us over there is to get us bogged down in an endless war. And for the last decade, that is what we've been doing. We are bogged down to the point where it's very discouraging to the American people, very frustrating, no signs of victory, no signs of peace. But we're bogged down. These were the precise goals of the al Qaeda leadership.

And also, one of the purposes of enticing us over there and being involved is to give a greater incentive to recruit those individuals who become violent against us. And this has been unbelievably successful. So we've been involved in Iraq. We've been involved in

Afghanistan. We're bombing Pakistan and almost, this is like another bonus for those who want us to be attacked, is that we're over there and just fomenting this anger and hatred toward us.

That is why I believe this is not in our best interest. It actually hurts us. Once we say that we're going to do something like using force and prevent vital products from going in, it means that we've given up on diplomacy. Diplomacy's out the window. And they're not capable of attacking us. You know, this idea that they are on the verge of a bomb, you know, our CIA said they haven't been working on it since 2003. And the other thing is, if you want to give them incentive to have a bomb, just keep pestering like this, just intimidate them. Provoke it. This is provocative. They might have a greater incentive than ever.

They can't even make enough gasoline for themselves. I mean, they are not a threat. They don't have an army worth anything. They don't have a navy. They don't have an air force. They don't have intercontinental ballistic missiles. So it is not a threat to our national security. I see the threat to our national security with this type of policy which could come and backfire and hurt us.

I want to read number 5 in the bill, that particular item, because it makes my case, rather than making the case for those who want these sanctions. I think this literally makes my case. Number 5 says, on October 7, 2008, then-Senator Obama stated Iran right now imports gasoline, even though it's an oil producer, because its oil infrastructure has broken down. If we can prevent them from importing the gasoline that they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis, that starts putting the squeeze on them.

The squeeze on whom? On the people. This will unify the dissent. This will unify the Iranian people against us. If we want to encourage true dissent and overthrow that government, which is more spontaneous and honest, I would say this is doing exactly the opposite.

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