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Public Statements

Iran

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, there are hinge points in history. There are times at which you can sense that history is moving almost on a hinge from one trajectory to another trajectory, and my sense and my observation is that the United States is experiencing such a hinge right now.

Okay, what is the hinge? What is the change? What is going on? Here is what is happening. The administration has made a decision that is moving subtly in some ways, but I think the results are going to be very, very consequential and the subtleties will be lost, and we are going to be at a very different position. In other words, the hinge will move us from our current policy which says that Iran shall not be a nuclear power. That is the stated position of the United States. It is unambiguous. There is no ambiguity about that, at least not up until now.

But the hinge that is changing is a direction that begins to say, well, maybe not. Maybe instead we need a policy of containment, and that is very dangerous, Mr. Speaker. That is a direction that we ought not go. It is a direction, unfortunately, that the Obama administration is leading us in right now, and I'm convinced it is a mistake.

The House of Representatives has a responsibility as part of a coequal branch of government. We have worked, we have passed sanctions that are robust and dynamic that are not taken up by the false claim of the Iranians, a false promise of future conduct. We need our colleagues on the other side of the rotunda to take on a very rigorous sanctions bill and to push back very, very aggressively.

Because here is the thing: the Iranians are allowed to enrich under this proposed deal. There is no investigation as it relates to the warheads. There is no investigation as it relates to their missile capacity. And so what is happening? The Iranians gain an advantage of time and money, and we squander both. This is the time when the United States needed to be clear and not ambiguous.

So there are Members who are gathered here today, Mr. Speaker, to talk about the seriousness of this issue, to admonish the administration and encourage them to change course; and we hope to highlight the significant nature of this shift in American foreign policy that we are seeing lay out before us as we speak.

So toward that end, I would be honored at this point to yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman), my colleague and friend.

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, I will yield to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Franks). As he is approaching the microphone, let me just make one point, and that is something that Mr. Davis just highlighted.

Sanctions are working. Sanctions have brought the Iranians to the table. So think of it this way. You have got a hold of a pit bull. You have got it. It is a very dangerous animal and it is ferocious, and if you let go of it, it may come and attack you. Why in the world, if you have got it under control or under some semblance of control, would you say, ``You know what? Let's loosen our grip and try this again''?

It doesn't make any sense.

I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

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Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, it is an amazing thing to think about how aggressive Iran has been without a nuclear weapon. It is a worldwide sponsor of terror, incredibly aggressive, and going after and making threats about the Strait of Hormuz and so forth. Can you even imagine what it would be like as a nation if it had a nuclear threat behind it? It would change the dynamic entirely.

I think one of the weaknesses of the administration's proposed deal is this: it puts the imprimatur of approval on enrichment. Up until now, it has been American policy that says, You can't enrich. You have no right to a nuclear capability.

And let's be frank. There is nobody with a straight face that is saying that the Iranians have any interest in pursuing nuclear technology because of an interest in global warming. This is not an energy pursuit at all. It is clearly a pursuit to manipulate the world stage toward their ends that are oftentimes driven by terror.

One of the great advocates of a strong U.S.-Israeli relationship and one of the great advocates of a strong U.S. foreign policy is the gentlelady from Florida, former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, to whom I now yield.

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, we have had a discussion tonight that has been incredibly robust. It has been bipartisan. We have had insight from members of the Intelligence Committee, the Armed Services Committee, Members who have had a long-term interest in Middle Eastern affairs and American military affairs, all of whom, Mr. Speaker, have a clear view of history. A clear view of history says let's look back at past activities as the best indicator of what the future is going to be like.

In summary, Mr. Speaker, what we know is this. That the administration has struck a bad deal, maybe for all the right reasons, but they have struck a bad deal. It is the responsibility of Congress not to put its imprimatur of support on a bad deal, but to act as a coequal branch of government and say, We ought not do this. We have got to recognize the weakness of it. We have got to recognize the long-term consequences of it, and we have got to hold this administration accountable.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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