09.10.15

Gardner Speaks Out Against Iran Deal on Senate Floor

“The only element of bipartisanship on the Senate floor today is the opposition.”

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) took to the Senate floor today to denounce the President’s bad deal with Iran and lay out many of the troubling aspects contained within:

Click here to watch.

  

KEY EXCERPTS:

“This doesn’t end the nuclear program as the President stated was his goal, it continues it. It paves a patient pathway to an industrial nuclear complex in Iran. With the blessings of the world community, a flourishing economy, a lifting of the conventional arms embargo, a lifting of the ballistic missile embargo. And that’s a good deal for us?”

“Since when did a bad option in the United States Senate become the only option in the United States Senate? Since when did the second, third, fourth, fifth best for this country, become the best for this country?”

“We have heard talk over the past several days about status quo versus hypothetical. Well here is the status quo that we will be entering into: A status quo that in five years allows conventional arms sales to resume. A status quo that will allow ballistic missiles to resume in 8 years, and advanced centrifuge research to continue.”


FULL RUSH TRANSCRIPT:

Mr.  President, I thank the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee for his work to get us to this point. The countless hearings he has held, the briefings that we have had to fully understand the details, the fine details, and to scrutinize every aspect of the agreement that is now before us. I also thank the Ranking Member and the Senator from New Jersey as well for their tireless efforts on the Committee when it comes to the process that is before us.

Mr. President, make no mistake there is not a single Member in this body, the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, the American public, I believe, indeed, that would complain about the President’s initial goals, the goals he laid out as recently as October of 2012 as he began negotiations with Iran. And I quote the President, “Our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. Resolutions that have been in place. The deal we will accept is they end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.”

But the deal we got from the Administration is anything but a straightforward ending of a nuclear program. I have listened very carefully to the hearings that we have held, I have listened to the classified briefings. I have studied the language of the text. Language that says things like, “Requests for access pursuant to the JCPOA will be made in good faith with due observance of the sovereign rights of Iran, and kept to the minimum necessary to effectively implement the verification responsibilities under this JCPOA.”

Sen. Collins from Maine just a couple of days ago said it very well: “Not only will Iran retain its nuclear capability, but it will also be a far richer nation and one that has more conventional weapons technology than it possesses today.”

This doesn’t end the nuclear program as the President stated was his goal, it continues it. It paves a patient pathway to an industrial nuclear complex in Iran. With the blessings of the world community, a flourishing economy, a lifting of the conventional arms embargo, a lifting of the ballistic missile embargo. And that’s a good deal for us?

Over the last several days I have heard colleague after colleague come to the floor who is supporting this deal say things like “this deal is flawed”, “it’s not the best”, “it needs improvement.”

Since when did a bad option in the United States Senate become the only option in the United States Senate? Since when did the second, third, fourth, fifth best for this country, become the best for this country?

Several months ago, I had the opportunity, as have many colleagues, visit with Prime Minister Netanyahu to talk about the dance of porcupines created by entering this deal. The nuclear trip wire that will be set up because this does not end Iran’s nuclear program.

But through this deal we have given up the golden nuggets of leverage that we had with Iran. Our leverage of sanctions that were beginning to work. In fact, the briefings that we all intended, where analysts have said our sanctions are eroding support for the regime daily, hurting their economy, devaluating their currency, bringing them to the table. And yet the deal that we have allows for continued uranium enrichment, repeal of U.N. Resolutions, removal of the Iran nuclear issue from their agenda. And that is the benefit of the bargain that the U.S. is about to enter into.

We have heard talk over the past several days about status quo versus hypothetical. Well here is the status quo that we will be entering into:

A status quo that in five years allows conventional arms sales to resume. A status quo that will allow ballistic missiles sales to resume in eight years, and advanced centrifuge research to continue.

As the chairman of the Committee stated yesterday, talking about how one IR-8 centrifuge could replace vast numbers of the current centrifuges that they have today, that they will be allowed to keep, apparently all for radio isotype purposes. Why do they need ballistic missiles, conventional arms for radiation treatment?

We’ve de-sanctioned and delisted numerous individuals, people who are the fathers of the Iranian nuclear program. A.Q. Khan of Iran. Delisted, de-sanctioned under this deal.

Conglomerates of companies like EIKO are delisted, de-sanctioned under this deal. A group of companies that were sanctioned in 2003, not because of nuclear arms related issues, but because of their threat to the world financial system. That conglomerate is now de-sanctioned. Sure the United States gets to sanction them on their own, but as we have heard today, yesterday, the day before, sanctions the United States has apparently aren’t enough and that’s why we have to enter into this deal.

Yet we have as Juan Zarate said, the sword of Damocles holding over the Iranians head the snapback provisions that apparently are good enough when we do them on our own.

One of the things that hasn’t been talked about in the past several weeks is a letter that Secretary Kerry sent to every Senator, September 2nd, I think that was right around the same day that enough votes were achieved to block or to sustain the President’s veto.

In the first paragraph of this letter that every Senator received there are two sentences that I want to make sure that everybody here recognizes. Again the letter from Secretary Kerry, “we share the concern expressed by many in Congress regarding Iran’s continued support for terrorists and proxy groups throughout the region, its propping up of the Assad regime in Syria, its effort to undermine the stability of its neighbors, and the threat it poses to Israel.”

In the next sentence Secretary Kerry goes on to say, “we have no illusion that this behavior will change following implementation of the joint agreement.”

We have no illusion that Iran’s behavior will change.

That’s the status quo.

The letter goes onto detail what we are going to do once this deal is entered in to.

“Additional U.S. and Gulf Council countries, working groups, are focused on counterterrorism, military. The goal of building political support for multi-lateral ballistic missile defense cooperation.”

So we are going to enter into some deals to fight ballistic missiles that this deal allows in eight years.

The letter goes on to say, “we will push back against Iran’s arms transfers.”

Conventional arms embargo is lifted in five years.

The letter then goes on to say, “that we will work on missile technology control regimes, guidelines about the transfer of sensitive systems like ballistic missile technology.” And yet this deal allows ballistic missiles in eight years.

“U.S. support for Israel and our Gulf partners has never been a partisan issue” the letter goes onto say, “and we believe these proposals would receive wide, bipartisan support.”

Mr. President, this is a partisan deal with bipartisan opposition.

And I would submit to you that the only element of bipartisanship on the Senate floor today is the opposition.

And I urge my colleagues to vote to invoke cloture. The American people deserve to know where the United States Senate stands, and deserves to know where their Member of the Senate stands.

Mr. President, I yield back by time.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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