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Keeping Tough Iranian Sanctions in Place

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SHERMAN. I have checked with the Parliamentarian and he has informed me that it is in order to give a bipartisan speech, even today. So I have a speech that I think most Members, on both sides of the aisle, can agree with. Mostly.

I have been here 17 years. I have been working every day for the toughest Iranian sanctions. This House has passed bill after bill. The Senate passed about half of them. And for over a decade, several administrations have basically refused to enforce the Iran sanctions that passed both Houses of Congress.

Then about three years ago, this Administration started enforcing our sanctions laws. They unleashed the Treasury Department's Office of Terrorist Financing and Intelligence, (TFI) and its Office of Foreign Asset control, (OFAC). TFI and OFAC are doing a great job. Yes, something the Federal Government is doing is working.

Iran's supreme leader was forced to allow one of his own insiders to run on a reform platform. And the Iranian people voted for the most reform they were allowed to vote for. It is clear that Iran wants out of these sanctions and is willing to surrender critical parts of its nuclear weapons program, but only if we are very tough in sanctions negotiations.

Let us remember why there is nothing more essential than preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran's supreme leader, on his Web site today, says the Holocaust is a myth and wants to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. Iranian troops are in Syria backing Assad. Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

Now, imagine terrorism with impunity. There is nothing more essential than stopping Iran's nuclear program. In order to do that, we need more sanctions. Why? Because every day Iran develops ways to get around the existing sanctions program. That is why we need to do a bit more as they are undoing what we already have in place.

But what is actually happening? TFI and OFAC are basically shut down, 90 percent furloughed. Seventy percent of our Intel Community's civilian employees are on furlough.

So what needs to happen? First, restaff TFI and OFAC. These are essential government functions. Second, pass a clean CR because all aspects of our foreign policy, our national security operations, our intel operations are critical to keeping Americans safe from terrorism and stopping the Iranian nuclear program. And just as critical is our credibility worldwide. So it is time to drop demands that everyone knows the Senate and the White House will never accept, and pass a clean CR.

Third, it is time for the executive branch to use the statutory authority we have already given them. For example, they have designated about two dozen Iranian banks, cutting them off from the international system. It is time for them to designate all Iranian banks.

Fourth, the Senate needs to pass a bill that passed on this floor with 400 votes last July, The Nuclear Iran Prevention Act.

Staff the agencies, pass a clean CR, designate all the Iranian banks, pass and implement The Nuclear Iran Prevention Act; and we may just see a world safe from the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

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