On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. Congressman Randy Weber (R-Friendswood), Member of the House Foreign Affairs Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement:
"While President Rouhani was very charismatic and well spoken, it is important that his words be backed by formative actions. His charm offensive has done nothing to slow the centrifuges spinning away back home. In spite of the release of 11 political prisoners today, hundreds more, including Amir Hekmati, remain in jail and face the continued threat of public hangings. It is no secret that President Rouhani is a well-seasoned diplomat and has consistently shown a knack for saying one thing while doing another.
I remain skeptical of President Rouhani's diplomatic words largely based on the simple fact that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is really the one in control. It is the Supreme Leader who will have the final say on whether or not Iran will truly dismantle their nuclear program. It is the Supreme Leader's decision whether or not to put an end to their human rights abuses, and their attacks on Iranian opposition members both within Iran and elsewhere like in Camps Ashraf and Liberty. And, it is the Supreme Leader who controls their endless support via weapons, training, manpower and funds to terrorists' regimes that seek to harm the United States and our allies. The very fact that President Rouhani refused recently to acknowledge the Holocaust or to disavow the previous Administration's stated desire to "wipe Israel off the map," is an indication of either a lack of power or an admission that he agrees with his predecessor and Supreme Leader on these issues.
We have seen this diplomatic strategy before with North Korea, and they are now a nuclear power. It is time for us to learn from the past, and prevent Iran from achieving the same victory as North Korea. President Rouhani has only presented words, while demanding we adhere to his preconditions for dialogue. Until Iran produces constructive progress and tangible results indicating the termination of their nuclear program and ambitions, I will remain cautious. In the meantime, I will stand with my colleagues in the House who overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850), and encourage my colleagues in the Senate to do the same. "