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Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, I thank the previous gentleman here. His comments were very compelling to me.

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my comments tonight, let me just sincerely say that I hold in my heart this privilege of being a Member of the American family and this United States Congress to be a priceless gift of God. And I would ask that my comments tonight would be heard in that context, and I would even dare to hope, Mr. Speaker, that you and the Members of this body might grant me a modicum of understanding befitting the conviction and the gravity that give impulse to the statements that I make tonight.

Mr. Speaker, the very first responsibility of human government is to protect its people. Many times during the nearly 4 years of the Obama administration, I have stood on this floor and have called upon this administration to address the grave threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.

When I first began calling for Iran to be referred to the Security Council, they possessed only 157 centrifuges, Mr. Speaker. But tonight, Iran possesses more than 9,000. And tonight I stand here with such a sense of urgency that I find it difficult to articulate, Mr. Speaker. I believe we may be facing the very last window this world will ever have before it becomes too late to prevent jihad from becoming armed with nuclear weapons and shattering the peace and security of human freedom as we have known it.

Because this administration has delayed and sent ambiguous messages to Iran and the world, as of approximately 3 months ago, Iran reached the point where it now possesses all the components necessary to become a nuclear-armed nation.

Mr. Speaker, Iran has the knowledge, the technical expertise, the equipment, everything necessary to build a nuclear warhead. They need no new technology, no new personnel, no new parts or resources of any kind from anyone. All they need now is time and lack of intervention.

Mr. Speaker, if Iran is allowed to gain nuclear weapons, it will unequivocally transform the landscape of human freedom as we have known it throughout the world. The world's primary financier of terrorism will be armed with nuclear warheads. A desperate arms race will rage across the entire Middle East. Israel will be in range of nuclear missiles in the hands of a jihadist enemy who despises them, is dedicated to their complete annihilation and capable of obliterating their entire nation in 15 minutes.

America and our allies will then face an enemy with the ultimate asymmetric capability of a nuclear-generated high-altitude electromagnetic pulse potentially capable of devastating our electric grid and the civilizational architecture it sustains.

Jihadists the world over will have access to nuclear weapons, and the world's children, Mr. Speaker, will have forever etched in their memory that moment in history when this government allowed the hellish shadow of nuclear jihad to fall across their future.

For almost 4 years, Mr. Speaker, we have witnessed the same weakness, naivete, vacillation, ambiguity, and delusional policy toward radical jihadists in Iran that once allowed them to hold 56 American hostages for 444 days during the Carter administration. That failed approach, that failed understanding now saturates nearly every policy corner of the Obama administration as Iran seeks to gain a nuclear grip on America's throat.

As always, any credible threat should be evaluated by whether an enemy possesses both the intention and the capacity to inflict harm. The despotic regime now governing Iran has been explicitly clear in its intention toward the United States. Official military parades in Iran have, for years, routinely featured a litany of slogans calling for death to Israel, death to America.

President Ahmadinejad was speaking to the whole world when he said:

And you, for your part, if you would like to have good relations with the Iranian nation in the future, recognize the Iranian nation's greatness and bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender. If you don't accept to do this, the Iranian nation will later force you to surrender and bow down.

Does that sound like someone who thinks he knows something that we don't?

Ahmadinejad also said:

Israel is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical season.

Then he added:

The time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started.

Iranian Basij Commander Naqdi said:

As long as America exists, we will not rest. We must create the environment for the destruction of America.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has consistently denied the existence of the Holocaust, Mr. Speaker, calling it a myth or a fabrication. And in the same breath, he threatens to make it happen again by repeatedly calling for the destruction of the Jewish State, for Israel to be ``wiped off the map.'' He has said, point blank:

The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world. Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury.

And just today, Mr. Speaker, just today, Ahmadinejad called for the annihilation of Israel again.

Mr. Speaker, the Pentagon estimates that hundreds of U.S. soldiers have died, as many as three and four of our casualties, as a result of Iran supplying terrorists in Iraq with weapons such as highly sophisticated explosive form penetrators designed to destroy American armor and vehicles. What possesses us to believe that they would not do the same with nuclear weapons?

Former Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said:

My worst nightmare is terrorists with nuclear weapons. Not only do I know that they are trying to get them, but I know they will use them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Iran:

the major terrorist-sponsoring state of our time. Tehran could give those nuclear weapons to terrorists, or give them a nuclear umbrella that would bring terrorism beyond our wildest dreams.

Mr. Speaker, can we allow a man like Ahmadinejad, leading the world's most dangerous regime, to be able to disseminate nuclear weapons to terrorists and to have his finger on the button that could launch nuclear missiles targeting our families and our children?

And how do we negotiate with a nuclear Iran, as Senator Obama suggested, when their jihadist ideology considers Armageddon a good thing?

Mr. Speaker, even without nuclear weapons, the Iranian regime has remained relentless and undeterred in its efforts to harm America, Israel, and Western interests. In October of last year, our intelligence interdicted an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador and to detonate bombs at both the Saudi Arabian and the Israeli Embassies right here in Washington, D.C. Tapes in American possession show that the Iranians were unconcerned with ``collateral damage.'' Now, Mr. Speaker, translated, that means dead Americans. It also means that Iran has no fear whatsoever of the

Obama administration.

And now, in recent days, we have learned that Iran was behind another barbaric attack, a terrorist attack on innocent civilians, when its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, bombed a Bulgarian bus, killing five innocent Israeli citizens and killing a pregnant woman and including dozens more. Imagine how emboldened Iran will become if they are allowed to come into possession of nuclear weapons.

Specifically, Mr. Speaker, imagine for a moment the scenario of Hezbollah, one of Iran's terrorist proxies, gaining possession of just two nuclear warheads and bringing them across the border into the United States concealed, say, in bales of marijuana--this shows you that they can get them in--when transporting them into the heart of two different crowded unnamed cities and then calling and telling the White House exactly when and where the first one will be detonated, and then following through 60 seconds later.

Then imagine them, Mr. Speaker, calling the White House back and making demands, which, if they're not met, would mean that the second warhead would also be detonated in a different unnamed American city. The entire United States would be held hostage by terrorist monsters, Mr. Speaker.

Or imagine if those same terrorists acquired two small cargo ships carrying mobile launchers with SCUD missiles from Iran's existing arsenal and used them to launch those two warheads in a coordinated and devastating high-altitude electromagnetic pulse attack over the homeland of the United States.

Well, the fact is, Mr. Speaker, that Iran is pursuing the means whereby they could assist groups like Hezbollah to do exactly these kinds of horrifying things. The only components they lack to proceed are the nuclear warheads.

Mr. Speaker, there is no longer a single rational defense for the argument that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons capability.

So let me say this, and pray that the Members of this body and pray that the President and this Nation understand. If Iran gains nuclear weapons, they will give them to terrorists the world over. And still, as the centrifuges in Iran are spinning, the Obama administration is fiddling, and many of the Members of this body stand by and contemplate.

Have we lost our minds?

Mr. Speaker, President Obama has allowed Iran to rope-a-dope this administration in so-called peace talks that have burned the clock for nearly 4 years of his Presidency. The President has made stern warnings and then backed down every time. We've endured five rounds of peace talks, five different proposals, six different United Nations resolutions, and more than a dozen sets of economic sanctions.

The House just voted yesterday on another Iran sanctions bill that was so weakened and watered down by Mr. Obama and his supporters in the Senate that it is now barely worth the paper it's written upon. The administration's focus has been on sanctions, and weak sanctions at that, Mr. Speaker. And even then, Mr. Obama has granted waivers to further weaken the sanctions already in place.

Now, I wonder if this administration has considered the fact that we have had economic sanctions against North Korea for over 60 years, and in recent decades we have sanctioned them nearly into starvation. And yet during that time, they have tested nuclear warheads twice. And it's a genie that we cannot put back in the bottle, Mr. Speaker.

President Ahmadinejad has said of economic sanctions:

If they want to continue with that path of sanctions, we will not be harmed. They can issue resolutions for 100 years.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran's nuclear policies would not change, no matter the pressure. He said:

With God's help, and without paying attention to propaganda, Iran's nuclear course should continually remain firmly and seriously. Pressures, sanctions, and assassinations will bear no fruit. No obstacles can stop Iran's nuclear work.

Mr. Obama's own Director of National Intelligence was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee whether sanctions had any effect on the course of Iran's nuclear program. The answer was simple, Mr. Speaker, ``No, none whatsoever.''

I've said many times, starting long ago, that we should have pursued truly effective sanctions, dissident support, regime change, and political pressures to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state. But without the conviction in the minds of the Iranian leadership that military intervention will occur if they continue to develop nuclear weapons, none of these other approaches will change their minds. Our greatest hope to prevent military action against Iran was to make sure their leaders understood that the free world would respond militarily before we allowed them to threaten it with nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, Iran's radical leaders concluded that Barack Obama simply lacked the understanding or the resolve to use military action to prevent their nuclear weapons development. And why would they conclude anything else, Mr. Speaker? Even now, the stated goal of the Obama sanctions policy is simply to get Iran back to the negotiating table where they can waste even more time and gain even more valuable advances. And if we do get them back to the negotiating table, Mr. Speaker, what compromise can we seek--maybe that Iran keeps only a small number of nuclear weapons? No, Mr. Speaker. If Iran is hell-bent on getting nuclear weapons, there is no diplomatic solution.

In the popular revolt in Iran in 2009, the President could have assisted the dissidents and the peace-loving, decent people of Iran, of which there are so many, to overthrow their oppressors in the Iranian regime--or at least he could have spoken up on their behalf when they were out dying in the streets to try to bring about regime change, which, if they had been successful, could have changed all of this equation. But the President left them twisting in the wind.

To call Mr. Obama a bystander in all of this is to be charitable. The truth is, Mr. Speaker, he has been nowhere to be found. Many congressional Republicans have written and pleaded with this President numerous times on this vital issue to absolutely no avail.

The truth is that this President has waited too long. He has waited so long that the equation now before us has no good answer. His policies have only helped Iran accelerate their nuclear program. Iran is now tripling its uranium output, moving enrichment facilities deep under a mountain near Qom and restraining the IAEA from even inspecting weaponization facilities.

Maybe now it is becoming clear why Israel is so very concerned, because for them, a nuclear Iran is not just an academic question--it calls into question their very survival--and the Obama administration has now placed Israel into an almost impossible circumstance. Israel has watched this President resist an Israeli strike on nuclear facilities in Iran more than he has resisted a nuclear Iran. Israel has listened to Mr. Obama openly criticize Israel more for building homes in their capital city than he has openly criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for building nuclear weapons with which to threaten the entire free world. In fact, they have watched this administration systematically scrub references that Jerusalem is even the capital of Israel.

Consequently, I believe Israel has known for some time that they can no longer trust the Obama administration to act in their best interest.

They know that Mr. Obama has waited so long that if Israel acts now to defend their own nation--and all of us incidentally--that they will suffer a far more damaging response from the radical regimes that surround them than they otherwise would have. Israel knows that, if they wait much longer to attack, the Iranian nuclear facilities may well be beyond their conventional military capability. Israel desperately needs America and her greater ability to attack heavily fortified targets. They need us, Mr. Speaker, but they will act without us if they must.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said simply and clearly, ``One thing I'll never compromise on, and that is Israel's security ..... When it comes to Israel's survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate.''

So what is this administration's present strategy? ``We're trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel.'' The most disgraceful part of it is President Obama's threat to withhold resupply from Israel to pressure them into his brand of inaction.

So let me just see if I have this straight, Mr. Speaker. The President says, according to his own State Department, that the world's greatest supporter of terrorism, a self-avowed enemy of America, with an advancing nuclear weapons program, has committed to destroy us and Israel and that the President's goal is to prevent Israel--our best and most committed friend and national ally on this Earth--from defending themselves. Did I get that right?

Mr. Speaker, that's why Israel will never trust this President with their national survival.

You see, Israel knows the very inconvenient truth that, when it comes to a nuclear Iran, if we are to prevent, we must preempt. They know that the choice with Iran is no longer a choice between the way the world is now and the way the world might be after a military strike to prevent them from gaining nuclear weapons. Rather, the choice now is between what the world will be like after a preventative military strike on Iran or what the world will be like after Iran gains nuclear weapons.

So, Mr. Speaker, we should not deceive ourselves. When the head of Israeli intelligence tells the prime minister that Iran is entering into that ``zone of immunity'' where Israel will no longer have the conventional capacity to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons, Israel will act.

They will act knowing that many in the world will condemn them. They will act knowing that they will be blamed for any radiation releases from Iran's nuclear facilities that might result. They will act knowing that thousands of Iranian, Hamas, and Hezbollah rockets and missiles will fall upon the cities of their tiny nation in retaliation. They will act knowing that it is now extremely difficult for them to succeed.

But, Mr. Speaker, Israel will act because they are students of history, and they will not be made to walk silently into the gas chambers again.

They will act because they know that whatever the consequences for their actions will be that they will pale in significance compared to what the consequences would be for them and for the whole world if the jihadist Government of Iran were to gain nuclear weapons.

And, if and when they do act, the Obama administration will owe an apology to the whole world for ignoring this grave reality for so long, but Israel will especially deserve an apology--an apology from this administration for leaving them with no choice but to act on behalf of all of us.

Mr. Speaker, now, with all of the things I've said tonight, there seems to be a profound new irony upon us. This administration finally seems to recognize that they have, indeed, waited too long. This administration is finally realizing that Israel can no longer stand around and wait. It is also beginning to understand if Israel is forced to strike Iran's nuclear facilities alone or if Iran tests a nuclear weapon before the November 6 election, that the American people and the world will damn the Obama administration for their breathtaking vacillation. Under such scenarios, the administration very likely sees the chances for Mr. Obama to be reelected as virtually zero.

So it has occurred to me, Mr. Speaker, that the Obama administration may have at last found sufficient rationale to move decisively against Iran's nuclear weapons program. The President knows that, in times of military action, the American people often rally around their President. Consequently, in spite of the fact that it has blatantly ignored the national security implications of Iran's nuclear program, it will now not surprise me at all if this administration launches an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the November elections to protect itself politically, even if it is done in concert with Israel to make it appear less politically motivated.

While I believe the American people will see such an action for what it is, if a Presidential campaign will finally motivate this administration to get serious about our national security and Iran's nuclear program, then so be it, Mr. Speaker. It would still be far better for the administration to do that than to stand idly by and force the tiny state of Israel, our closest friend and ally on this Earth, to undertake such a monumental task alone, with all the odds against them and facing such crushing consequences whether they succeed or fail.

But it didn't have to be this way. There was a time when Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions could have been arrested with far less cost.

The President has waited too long.

Mr. Speaker, President Ronald Reagan gave an address in 1983 when the world faced a similar threat in the growing strength and nuclear ambition of the Soviet Union. Mr. Reagan said:

I urge you to beware the temptation to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil.

Mr. Speaker, there were those in 1938 who deemed the ambitions of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich a giant misunderstanding. The free nations of the world once had opportunity to address the insidious rise of the Nazi ideology in its formative years when it could have been dispatched without great cost, but they delayed, and the result was atomic bombs falling on cities, 50 million people dead worldwide, and the swastika shadow nearly plunging the planet into Cimmerian night.

Mr. Speaker, let the world's free people resolve once and for all, for the sake of our children and for future generations, that we of this generation will not stand by and watch a similar dark chapter of history be repeated on our watch.

God help this administration to wake up, and God help us all as Americans to be awake in this destiny year for our beloved country.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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