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Ros-Lehtinen to Secretary Kerry: This Iran Nuclear Deal is a Bad Deal; Will be the Death Knell of Sanctions Program and Threatens our Friends and Closest Ally, the Democratic Jewish State of Israel


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement at a Full Committee hearing where Secretary of State John Kerry testified on the Iran nuclear deal. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

"Mr. Secretary, you stated on 60 Minutes that on a nuclear deal with Iran, a bad deal is worse than no deal. Well, this deal is a bad deal. I believe that the concessions offered to Iran will be the death knell on the sanctions program as we know it.

This threatens our allies, it threatens our closest ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel. Isn't it true that the fissile material is just one aspect, but then there is the weaponization to consider and also ballistic missiles?

This Iran deal does not address these and Iran has announced a significant advancement on its ballistic missile program. Why was it decided to leave these aspects of Iran's nuclear weapons program unaddressed in the agreement?

I oppose the Administration's acceptance of Iran's illegitimate claim to a right to enrich uranium -- Iran says that this deal does give it that right. I expect the Iranian regime to welcome in the entire international community to show that it has not violated its terms of the deal and both the Administration and the media will be effusive in their praise of Iran's fulfillment of the deal.

But we set the bar so low that Iran will probably comply, and we must not be fooled by that approach as Iran can start up the centrifuges and it will be too late to stop them. How long would it take for Iran to enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% with its current nuclear infrastructure with the advanced centrifuges?

I've worked, as you know, over the years to help create the Iran sanctions program that we have in place, I was the author of several Iran sanctions bills that have become law, including the toughest set of sanctions currently on the books. And it's discouraging that many countries are now eager to do business with Iran, to get Iranian gas, and we will not be able to stop this cash infusion and get sanctions back to their current levels.

Now, Jay Carney suggested that if pursuing a diplomatic resolution in Iran is disallowed or ruled out, then we'd be faced with no other option than war to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. This is a false binary choice -- it's one or the other; we've been increasing sanctions on the Iranian regime for a decade.

Do you agree with this characterization, and do you believe that those of us in Congress who oppose this deal and seek an increase in sanctions to force Iran to give up its enrichment program -- it's not to force Iran to negotiate, it's to force Iran to give up its enrichment program -- that we are warmongers?"

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