U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today on reports of advancements in the Iranian nuclear weapons program, and a Hezbollah announcement that it now has the capacity to conduct missile strikes anywhere in Israel. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The released images of an explosives chamber needed for nuclear weapons-related testing in Iran paint a disturbing picture: that, while the world is chasing more negotiations, Iran is racing towards a nuclear weapons capability. Just two months ago President Obama extended the national emergency with respect to Iran declaring that the regime's activities pose "an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.' Well, prolonged negotiations and concessions will only increase the threat, rather than curtail it.
"Iran has consistently played fast and loose with Western governments, engaging in bad-faith negotiations to buy time to achieve a nuclear weapons capability, as it commissioned attacks on U.S. soil. This week, Iran's proxy Hezbollah announced that it is capable of launching rocket strikes that could hit anywhere in Israel, while reiterating calls for Israel's destruction. The negotiations track is having the opposite of its intended effect by making a nuclear Iran more likely.
"As U.S. and other Western diplomats scramble to give more concessions, such as permitting Iran to continue enriching uranium, it is critical that the Senate move legislation adopted by the full House which seeks to strengthen U.S. sanctions, close loopholes, and deny any lifeline to the Iranian regime. Crippling sanctions must be imposed now if we are to compel Iran to completely dismantle its nuclear program and end other destructive activities that threaten the U.S., our interests, and our allies."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of H.R. 1905, the Iran Threat Reduction Act. The bill was approved by the House in December 2011 by a vote of 410-11. The bill strengthens, updates, and replaces previous Iran sanctions laws to ensure that current law vigorously addresses the multiple threats posed by Iran. The bill closes loopholes in energy and financial sanctions, including by targeting the Central Bank of Iran. The bill also targets the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and senior Iranian regime officials.
Ros-Lehtinen is also the author of H.R. 2105, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act, which was approved by the House by a vote of 418-2. The bill expands sanctions on those assisting Iran, North Korea, and Syria in the development of their weapons programs, including their nuclear programs.