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Expressing Sense of House Regarding Importance of Preventing Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapons Capability

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of House Resolution 568, which I introduced, together with the distinguished ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Berman), my friend.

The Iranian regime continues to pose an immediate and growing threat to the United States, to our allies, and to the Iranian people. In fact, just over the weekend, it was reported that the IAEA discovered a drawing that shows an explosive containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests. This was based on information from inside an Iranian military base.

Iran remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, aiding multiple groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas, which continue to destabilize the Middle East and which are responsible for the deaths of Americans. It was only a few months ago that U.S. officials foiled a planned attack on U.S. soil that was commissioned by the Iranian regime, and the Iranian regime is believed to have been behind the attacks against Israeli Embassies that took place earlier this year.

I have much more to say, Mr. Speaker, but at this time I will reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, as we know, Iran continues to sponsor violent extremist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan that have killed our men and women in uniform. With a nuclear weapons capability, the regime would dramatically increase its ability to threaten the United States and our allies.

We are running out of time to stop the nightmare of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran from becoming a reality. Estimates from the U.S. and Israeli officials indicate that Iran could develop nuclear weapons in less than 1 year. And even before the regime actually develops nuclear weapons, Iran may enter into what the Israeli Defense Minister calls a ``zone of immunity,'' and after that point we would have very few options left to actually stop Iran from going nuclear.

Right now, the regime is doing all it can to run down the clock and enter that zone of immunity. The most recent set of negotiations are just another way for Iran to hold off Western sanctions and buy more time to further their capabilities.

We need to stop the regime before it possesses the capability to develop nuclear weapons, not before it makes a decision to develop nuclear weapons, because we may not know that they have actually made that decision until it is too late. Once that regime enters into the zone of immunity, it can decide at any time to develop nuclear weapons, and we would probably not be able to stop them.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, as we know, Iran continues to sponsor violent extremist groups in Iraq and Afghanistan that have killed our men and women in uniform. With a nuclear weapons capability, the regime would dramatically increase its ability to threaten the United States and our allies.

We are running out of time to stop the nightmare of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran from becoming a reality. Estimates from the U.S. and Israeli officials indicate that Iran could develop nuclear weapons in less than 1 year. And even before the regime actually develops nuclear weapons, Iran may enter into what the Israeli Defense Minister calls a ``zone of immunity,'' and after that point we would have very few options left to actually stop Iran from going nuclear.

Right now, the regime is doing all it can to run down the clock and enter that zone of immunity. The most recent set of negotiations are just another way for Iran to hold off Western sanctions and buy more time to further their capabilities.

We need to stop the regime before it possesses the capability to develop nuclear weapons, not before it makes a decision to develop nuclear weapons, because we may not know that they have actually made that decision until it is too late. Once that regime enters into the zone of immunity, it can decide at any time to develop nuclear weapons, and we would probably not be able to stop them.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This resolution reaffirms the position of the House with respect to U.S. policy on Iran's nuclear program. Efforts to misrepresent this resolution really distract from the real problem, which is the increasing threat posed by Iran's nuclear program and the need to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.

Tehran has repeatedly lied to the world about its secret nuclear activities; Tehran has violated international nonproliferation obligations; and it has repeatedly threatened to destroy our ally Israel.

Just earlier this year, Ayatollah Khamenei said:

The truly cancerous Israel must be destroyed in the region, and this will without doubt come to fruition.

It is abundantly clear that Iran cannot be trusted with uranium enrichment or any component of the nuclear program. Even the U.N. Security Council resolutions have demanded that Iran stop all uranium enrichment and reprocessing.

Unless compelled to change course, Iran will soon have all of the basic components or capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon. The only thing that would be left for them to do will be to put the pieces together.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is expanding its stockpiles of uranium, advancing its missile capabilities, and burying and hiding its nuclear infrastructure. As if that were not enough, the smoking gun in the IAEA's November 2011 report was that Iran carried out, ``work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon, including the testing of components.'' In addition, the IAEA uncovered evidence that Iran was attempting to miniaturize a warhead to fit on top of a ballistic missile.

As we fast-forward to this weekend, drawings were revealed showing a secret chamber at an Iranian military facility of the type needed for nuclear weapons testing. Again, the regime is building up its capacities on all fronts. When it has mastered all of these, Tehran would be able to intimidate its neighbors and engage in even more threatening actions, always with the threat that it could flip the switch and produce nuclear weapons at any time. At that point, the U.S. and other responsible nations would have no other option but to sit in fear of this nuclear-armed state sponsor of terrorism.

We must reaffirm our commitment to adoption of this resolution and stronger sanctions legislation to prevent this doomsday scenario from becoming a reality.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Some may put forth the argument that this resolution undermines and threatens the ongoing P5+1 negotiations. The truth is, Mr. Speaker, that the Iranian regime is using these negotiations as a way to buy time and continue enrichment without any additional sanctions.

Time and again, the United States has come to the table with Iran, made concession after concession, and left with nothing in return. In one example, last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. officials are now willing to let Iran continue enriching uranium, even though multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions demand that Iran immediately halt uranium enrichment. And today's New York Times included a report, entitled, ``Iran Sees Success in Stalling on Nuclear Issue,'' and the report states:

Iran's negotiation team may be less interested in reaching a comprehensive settlement than in buying time and establishing the legitimacy of its enrichment program.

I couldn't say it better. It's time to stop glorifying negotiations for the sake of negotiations. This resolution strengthens the U.S. position and our leverage.

With that, I reserve the balance of our time.

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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Just 2 months ago, President Obama extended the national emergency, as we heard, with respect to Iran, declaring that the regime's activities pose ``an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.''

Well, this resolution is an important statement, clarifying congressional commitment to countering the Iranian threat. However, our focus must be on rapidly and dramatically ratcheting up sanctions, without the glaring exceptions that we now have, in order to put our boot on the throat of this dangerous regime.

We must compel the Iranian regime to permanently and verifiably dismantle its nuclear program, abandon its unconventional and missile development programs, and end its support for violent extremism. We do not want to look back, Mr. Speaker, and wish that we had heeded the warning signs.

We anxiously await the other body's strengthening and passage of companion legislation to the measures that the House passed months ago. We must meet our responsibility to the American people and protect the security of our Nation, our allies, and the world from this threat of a nuclear capable Iran.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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