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Price Floor Remarks on Iran Bills

November 17, 2016
Speeches
Price Floor Remarks on Iran Bills

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 5711.

This legislation is only the latest misguided and politicized effort by the majority to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a historic agreement negotiated by the world’s major powers in order to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Simply put, enactment of H.R. 5711 would violate the United States government’s obligations under the JCPOA, opening the door for Iran to walk away from the agreement.  It also threatens to undermine our credibility with our allies and negotiating partners.

To be sure, we must be vigilant in ensuring Iranian compliance with the terms of the JCPOA. We also should continue to hold Iran to account for its violations of human rights and its sponsorship of terrorism.

Last night, I supported a clean reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Extension Act, which guarantees Congress’s ability to “snap-back” sanctions should Iran violate the JCPOA. The reauthorization also allows Congress to take positive action on “Transition Day” should it be verified that Iran has used its nuclear capacity only for peaceful purposes.

The extension of sanctions will allow the United States to continue to exert pressure on the Iranian regime.  The dangerous bill before us today would do just the opposite.

By directly blocking a specific provision of the JCPOA – namely the permissible sale of commercial passenger aircraft – this legislation would send a clear message to the Iranian people that the United States does not negotiate in good faith—that we expect to have it both ways, with Iran dismantling its nuclear facilities but getting nothing in return. 

I would like to remind my colleagues that the Iran Nuclear Agreement is NOT just a bilateral agreement between Iran and the United States.  It is that the product of years of negotiations between Iran AND the P5+1, which includes the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, Germany, and the United States.

The bill before us today would break faith with those negotiating partners in a reckless and dangerous way.

Because of this agreement, the breakout time for Iran to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear weapon went from two or three months to a year or more.

Because of this agreement, the international community has 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear sites.

And because of this agreement, we possess an enforcement mechanism to verify Iran’s compliance.

By all objective accounts, Iran has upheld its end of the bargain.  Why would we give up these capabilities by failing to uphold ours?

In light of the political transitions taking place in our country, now is especially not the time for the United States to go back on its word to our allies and the international community.

Regardless, it appears that our Republican colleagues are willing to jeopardize a major international agreement for political advantages and undermine the credibility of the United States and our allies on the international stage in the process.

Instead of scoring political points, or seeking to undo President Obama’s foreign policy legacy on his way out the door, we should be working together in a bipartisan manner to ensure the agreement’s success. 

 

I urge my colleagues to vote against this legislation.