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Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I wish to thank the Senator from South Carolina for his leadership on this incredibly important issue and to also express my appreciation for the Senator from Tennessee and my agreement with his remarks.
I thought he was right-on with what he said, and I support what he had to say.
I am very pleased to be a cosponsor of S.J. Res. 41 with Senator Graham. He is knowledgeable on this issue. He has dedicated an incredible amount of time and commitment to this effort.
Recently I was with Senator Graham and Senator McCain and others. We were in Afghanistan, and then we were in Egypt, where we met with the Muslim Brotherhood. We were in Israel, where we met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Then we were in Libya, where we met with a number of the militia groups who now control Benghazi and Mirsrata and, of course, Tripoli. And we were in Tunisia as well. I have to say that it is incredibly important that we had the opportunity to go to those countries. Senator Graham has been there many times, as has Senator McCain. But it is very important that we understand what is going on.
Some of the comments Senator Corker expressed are so true. We have to understand what is going on in these countries. At the same time, we have to communicate with these countries as they try to build democracies. But we must be clear and consistent in our foreign policy that we support our friends, we support our allies, we will oppose our opponents, and that we demand safety for our embassies and for Americans abroad. We provide no less to the people who come to our country, and we expect the same in return.
S.J. Res. 41 is a bipartisan effort. And I want to express that again; that is so important. It is a bipartisan effort--80 Senators standing together and expressing their support, bringing this resolution to the Senate floor, and saying to the administration: We need to take a tough stand with Iran. We cannot allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. It is not an option. Containment--a nuclear Iran contained is not an option. It does not work.
Look what is going on in the Middle East right now, in Egypt, in Libya, Tunisia, Yemen. Across the Middle East right now, you have extremist groups--fundamental Islamic extremist groups--that are undermining the democratic efforts in those countries. Look at the attacks on our Embassy. Look at the killing of our Ambassador. We cannot allow that and can only prevent that through strength--through strength.
So we have to stand for America's interests in all of these countries, and we have to prevent a nuclear Iran. Iran is helping the extremists throughout all of these countries, supporting Bashar Asad in Syria, supporting Hezbollah, Hamas--all these groups that are undertaking violence throughout the Middle East, not only against Americans but against their own people, undermining these nations' democracies. The way we help stop that and the way we help support freedom and democracy is through a strong, consistent foreign policy.
That is what the resolution, on a bipartisan basis, is all about--saying to the administration: We must stand up to Iran, and we must prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon, that could also start a race for other countries in the Middle East to develop a nuclear capability. Look at the unstable situation there. It is certainly not a situation where nuclear weapons can be added to the equation as well.
We have worked in the Senate, in the House, to provide tools to the administration to put sanctions in place to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The Kirk-Menendez legislation, which was passed as part of the Defense authorization bill, provides strong sanctions against Iran that still have not been fully implemented. The best way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is through sanctions. All options have to be on the table. We must support Israel in whatever action Israel determines it must take to protect itself. All options for the United States must be on the table as well. The best way to stop Iran, if we can, is with sanctions, but the only way that is going to work is if they are fully imposed to the full extent possible.
Let me use Kirk-Menendez as an example. What did that legislation provide? That legislation provided a tool to the administration that essentially barred any company or country that does business with Iran or its Central Bank from doing business with the central banking system in the United States. That is an effective tool because if Iran cannot sell its oil, it cannot continue to function.
We must fully impose those sanctions. We must stand strongly with our closest friend and ally Israel in the region. This resolution is a bipartisan message to our administration saying: Stand strong. We can and we must prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
With that, Mr. President, I see the majority leader and the minority leader are on the floor, and I will turn the floor back to the esteemed Senator from South Carolina and thank him for his work.
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