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Supporting Sanctions on Iran

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise in support of S. Res. 65, an important and timely resolution that restates U.S. policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and expresses U.S. support should Israel be compelled to take military action against Iran in its own legitimate self-defense.

I would like to take this time to thank my colleagues Senator Menendez, Senator Graham, Senator Hoeven, and Senator Blumenthal for joining forces to introduce this important bipartisan resolution that recognizes and reaffirms the special bonds of friendship and cooperation that have existed between the United States and the State of Israel for more than six decades.

Make no mistake--the diplomatic, security, and economic relationship between Israel and the United States is stronger than it has ever been, and nothing can break that everlasting bond. But let's be completely frank. Right now, our friend Israel faces one of the gravest threats it has confronted in more than a half a century.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is dangerously obsessed with the goal of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. And we are getting closer and closer to ``crunch time'' in terms of Iran developing that nuclear weapons capability.

Time is of the essence, but unfortunately the latest talks between the United States, our international partners, and Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, failed to achieve any progress toward curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions. ``Talks'' about the ``future talks'' are ongoing, but the centrifuges continue to spin in Iran, with more advanced centrifuges on the way.

And who can deny the horrific actions of the Iranian regime. From its support of the vicious Asad regime in Syria, which is spearheading a human rights catastrophe that has led to the deaths of more than 70,000 people, to its backing of murderous terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, the Iranian regime is getting more and more dangerous by the day. All the while, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to guide his people down a very perilous path.

That is why this bipartisan resolution is so timely. It recognizes the tremendous threat posed to the United States, the West, and Israel by Iran's continuing pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, and it deplores and condemns in the strongest possible terms the reprehensible statements and policies of the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran threatening the security and existence of Israel.

The United States must do everything we can--as quickly as we can--to convince the Iranian Government that it is in its interest to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. This resolution sends a blunt message to the Government of Iran the United States will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

This resolution states that nothing in this text shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war. But rest assured, I believe that when it comes to Iran, we should never take the military option off the table. President Obama has stated that Israel is a true friend. And if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. Most importantly, President Obama has said that Iran's leaders should understand that he does not have a policy of containment; rather President Obama has a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.'' I take the President at his word, and so should the Government of Iran. But we need to ratchet up the sanctions and the pressure on Iran now.

And rest assured--Congress has given the President a powerful package of economic sanctions that will paralyze the Iranian economy and I am confident we in Congress will do more and this Administration will do more to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

I strongly urge my colleagues in the Senate to support this important resolution and I look forward to its swift passage.

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