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Public Statements

Support of H. Res. 568

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 568, a bipartisan resolution reaffirming U.S. resolve to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I co-sponsored this resolution because of the critical importance to U.S. national security and regional stability to deny Iranian nuclear weapon capability through every diplomatic tool and pressure to avoid resorting to military force.

Reports of progress in Iran's nuclear program have been disconcerting. The November 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency report presented ``serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme'' and asserted that ``Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device.''

There would be devastating consequences for a nation that has threatened Israel's existence and poses significant security threats to its neighbors to acquire nuclear weapons. As President Obama said during his January 24, 2012 State of the Union Address, ``Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.''

Since I entered Congress in 2007, I have stood firmly against nuclear proliferation to Iran. In 2010, I co-sponsored and supported through passage the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which enacted sanctions against companies investing in Iran's energy sector. In addition, I am a cosponsor of legislation to expand sanctions against Iran, the Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905).

It has been under President Obama's leadership and reinvigorated cooperation with allies and other nations that has ramped up the pressure to deny Iran weapons capability. President Obama entered office with the international effort to challenge Iran divided and in shambles. Immediately, the President rallied the international community to apply pressure in conjunction with the United States as a diplomatic force multiplier. Russia and China joined in a 2010 the U.N. Security Council comprehensive sanctions effort. These sanctions slowed the Iranian nuclear program and have levied damaging effects on the Iranian economy. The coalition held as we expanded a sanctions offensive against Iran's Central Bank and their oil exports.

These efforts make it clear that Iran must change its recent behavior and instead fulfill its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The longer it takes Iran to change its course, the further cut-off it will grow diplomatically and the more strangled its economy will become. Now we must expand these efforts to increase sanctions, further isolate Iran, and explore every outlet to undermine the Iranian regime politically and seek real change in that country's leadership and political direction.

This resolution communicates Congressional unity with the Administration and determination to the international community to maximize every diplomatic and economic tool available to pressure and deny Iran nuclear weapon capability. To be clear, other options--such as the use of United States military force against Iran--require the deliberate and thoughtful consideration of this Congress, a power which I believe this resolution clearly preserves. I am co-sponsoring this resolution to continue our nation's effective, ratcheting pressure to force Iran on a new path and to avoid a subsequent request from the Administration some day to authorize the use of military force against Iran.

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