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Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, bipartisan unity may be rare these days, but if there is one issue we have consistently come together on, it is the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.

That's why last year's body voted to enact tough new sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That's why 332 Members of this House are today cosponsors of new legislation to strengthen Iran sanctions law. And it is also why this body should join me on this final amendment to the bill so we do not reward companies that provide financial and material support to the Iranian regime--because this bill, in its current form, will bolster Iran's illicit quest for nuclear weapons.

This legislation awards U.S. land to Resolution Copper, a company owned by Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto also owns a majority stake in the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia, where it partners with the Iran Foreign Investment Company. The Iran Foreign Investment Company is wholly owned by the Iranian regime, and last summer the Treasury Department added it to the list of Iranian entities in violation of sanctions law.

Quite simply, we are about to reward a company that partners with the Iranian regime to mine, of all things, the uranium it needs to become a nuclear-armed power. This Congress cannot be in the business of assisting a regime that plots an attack on U.S. soil, that kills brave American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and threatens to wipe our ally Israel off the map.

Iran has made its intentions clear. The Iranian nuclear program is not intended for peaceful purposes. Just last month, an IAEA agency report indicated ``increasing concerns'' about possible ``military dimensions'' to the Iranian program. The threat is real, and this Congress has always taken it seriously.

We have watched Iran attempt to make a mockery of U.S. law by finding new ways to evade sanctions. And now we are going to help them do it?

My amendment does one thing: It blocks any land exchange with a company or affiliate connected to the Iran Foreign Investment Company.

Let me be clear. This amendment will not prevent the passage of the legislation. If adopted, it will be incorporated and we will vote on the final bill. We have come together against a nuclear-armed Iran before, and we can do it again today. Let's put bipartisanship aside. Join me on this motion to recommit and let's unite against the very real threat of a nuclear-armed Iranian regime.

I am pleased to yield to the ranking member, the gentleman from Massachusetts.


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