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Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise in strong support of the Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act. I would like to acknowledge the great leadership of our chairman, Chairman Berman, and the ranking member, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, for their efforts and leadership to bring this legislation to the floor.

All Members of Congress, regardless of party, agree a nuclear Iran is simply unacceptable; it is a threat to the region, to the United States, and to the world. The American people have great hopes for our friendship with the people of Iran. We look forward to a day when Iran is a much more productive member of the community of nations. Until that day, though, we must ensure that Iran is prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons that would threaten the security of the world.

Iran must take the necessary steps to demonstrate its willingness to live as a peaceful partner in the international community. And we must use all of the tools at our disposal, from diplomacy to sanctions, to stop Iran's march toward nuclear capability.

Today, with this legislation, we give the President a new option, a new tool, the power to impose sanctions against companies that supply Iran with or support its domestic production of gasoline and other refined petroleum products. By targeting Iran's ongoing dependence on largely imported refined petroleum, we reduce the chance that Iran will acquire the capacity to produce nuclear weapons.

A pillar, Mr. Speaker, of our national security is diplomacy; and in the case of Iran, we must use it. We must exhaust every diplomatic remedy. I commend President Obama for standing with other U.N. Security Council leaders earlier this year to condemn Iran and to work toward an agreeable diplomatic solution to end Iran's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

However, as we have seen, Iran has refused to accept a reasonable offer that was put on the table a couple of months ago. Instead, it has reiterated its resolve to continue its uranium enrichment program, the cornerstone of its nuclear program. The international community must, therefore, consider stronger options. We have that opportunity today to give the President the option with a waiver to use in the best possible way.

Now, I have heard mention of the State of Israel in some of the debate here today, and Israel certainly has proximity to Iran. Iran is increasing its capability both to develop a weapon of mass destruction and the delivery system to deliver that bad news. But this isn't about Israel. Israel, again, is close, and this development of a weapon of mass destruction is a threat to the region. But the development of a weapon of mass destruction anyplace in the world is a threat to the entire world, and it is not in the national security interest of the United States. So while Israel may bear the brunt or be the closest target--or target of words, if, hopefully, not anything else--they have carried this fight, but it's not just their fight. The fight is all of ours.

I mentioned diplomacy as a pillar of our national security. Another pillar of our foreign policy and of our national security is stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Imagine what the reaction would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon, what that would evoke in the Arab world in terms of their interest in having weapons of mass destruction. It simply cannot happen. With this legislation today, we strengthen the President's hand to use or to withhold this particular sanction, but to have the capability to use diplomacy in a stronger way.

I urge all of my colleagues to support the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act.


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