tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 7, 2015 8:00am-10:01am EDT
in any meaningful way and they are only affect their in an equally aggressive in force. because u.s. officials suffers from a trust deficit whether this is observed or not in the fact is that positions listed clear within the deal you can easily be read as prohibiting each and every one of them. to make their positions public not only undermines utility, and makes people question whether the administration's intention is to act on positions moving forward are critical issues under the iran deal appeared a few weeks ago the financial action task force issued its public statement identified in iran with strategic deficiencies which poses risk to the international financial system. iran presents ongoing and substantial money-laundering that the committee must apply
what they call countermeasures to protect themselves in the large international financial system from iran's illicit financial conduct. under the iran deal much of the world with the troops and business relationships. the journal contacted me to read an article on what europe can do to reintegrate iran into the international financial system. one could forgive editors for thinking they should be a collective policy since it talks about actions to undermine normalization of economic relations with iran. for years u.s. officials have pointed to the conduct base nature brought upon sanctions aimed at countering in today's iran's comic continues and if the conduct base consequences do not kick in this could be the death knell designating a person here or there or company here or there is not enough.
making an attractive market due to the massive business reputational risks inherent in doing business in or with iran. we need to be able to highlight the fact that ran is a tremendously risky jurisdiction where the higher gc controls the economy, human rights abuses on the rise in support for militancy and terrorism we are denied under the iran deal the ability to discourage business with iran. the best we can do is to delineate the conduct and remind the secondary sanction and maybe reputational risk. the former sanction and depend u.s. follow-through while the latter depends on the rest of the international committee to perceive risk it does not discourage but encourages business with iran. how will be to highlight the role of the irgc once the trend that has been removed. international banks will move
back into the market with non-us companies likely to trip over one another in a rush to reenter potential market which is already described all toronto. with this the current balance of u.s. unilateral original global multilateral sanctions. under the deal come the u.n. and e.u. sanctions largely disappear. u.s. secondary sanctions on non-wds conduct remain in place and what impact other foreign banks and businesses but it's solely on the u.s. the deal is not a bilateral u.s.-iran deal, a multilateral one and partner should be expected to do their part holding iran accountable for its illicit conduct. thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, thank you. ranking member brown mr. chairman to have my testimony. i served in the bush administration as undersecretary
of state and non-iran i come to you as a supporter for this. it has many benefits for our country and this is my first point. it will effectively arrest the forward movement in iran's nuclear program that begins with mock mode ahmadinejad collection 10 years ago this summer and will make sure it does not have the potential to produce fissile material for their nuclear weapons program for the next 10 to 15 years. it will narrow the breakout time from two to three months now to about a year. significantly strengthening for the nuclear supply chain for 25 years. sanctions will be lifted until iran complies with the latter of the agreement.
the administration will maintain strength for human rights violations in the advantage is we have an opportunity to stop iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power through diplomacy and negotiation without having to resort to war. i believe any american president should use force should they get close to a nuclear weapon. that is not the case now. both president obama and president bush and i congratulate the administration. i've outlined by the substantial risks and i'm mindful the superstructure of iran's program, both uranium and plutonium will be rebuilt 10 to 15 years from now when restrictions begin to lapse.
i expect iranians two decades from now. the problem then both the faith that perhaps other covert program on that facility are behind that facility and that's a problem for the united states at that time. we'll have to reconstitute a sanctions regime that will not impossible. i don't minimize the difficulty of doing that. i work with one zarate trying to establish that 10 years ago. finally, the global and argue us on iran's ballistic missile program that will end five in eight years respective. i wish they had not reached the end of the embargo. the administration had held the line. i wish we wouldn't be in a position of having to reconstitute sanctions for as and compromises that should not have been made. the third point if you weigh the
benefits and the risks i think the benefits outweigh the risk because we are going to freeze this program for 10 to 15 years and without the agreement if we get into a scenario of a no deal where congress disapproves and defeats the president to rethink the hopping. the global coalition rebuilt equitably will begin. sanctions regime won't end, but it is going to atrophy. most importantly iranians will not feel constrained to abide by the restrictions undersecretary chairman and secretary kerry will be ultimo forward to become a nuclear threshold and that would be a weakening of american strategic interests. i think sometimes we are too caught up in the conventional wisdom that the debate.
two quick examples and peered i don't believe congressional deceit of the nuclear deal will lead inevitably to war. i think iran will be careful to become a threshold state not to cross the line. neither do i believe implementing the deal they inevitably to an iranian nuclear weapon. a lot will depend on what we do. not so much president obama but the next president of president after that. had a restraint than the strategic policy to effectively deter the iranians as we implement the nuclear deal. the president giving a speech at american university. i already say is who will close the big gap between the united states and israel and assure israel's qualitative continuation of the effort to strengthen the gulf countries militarily as secretary kerry
did successfully this week. we should also say the american president should say that he would use force against iran should it get close to a nuclear weapon. there are things about democrats and republicans on capitol hill can agree to perhaps in an accompanying statement to the nuclear deal to strengthen on a bipartisan basis america's policy in the middle east. mr. chairman, i support this agreement and i would hope congress would approve the agreement and strengthen the ability of our country to move ahead both to pursue the nuclear deal that contain iranian power in the middle east in the process. >> i have a few questions. secondary sanctions are sanctions i understand the place restrictions not directly on iran but on those who would deal with the iranian enemies. i will pose this question to
you. even if europeans and others were to completely lift the sanctions on iran, the secondary sanction with major global companies doing business in men with iran. >> u.s. secondary sanctions would apply to the third country national companies has enormous impact and does affect what countries do and what the companies investing. the general answer is yes. it depends on the environment and the nature of the secondary sanctions whether they are deemed to be legitimate, whether they are conduct base, which is how the efforts have really worked to pinch the iranians and it would depend on the sense of enforcement of the sanctions. there is a sense these are sanctions on the books only and are not going to be expanded aren't going to be enforced.
part of the effectiveness of the past 10 years has been not only the sanctions regime put in place that they've been enforced and they been led by the u.s. in the u.s. alone. >> i agree. if congress overwhelmingly approves the deal, i don't think major financial institutions are rushing back in any way. they have deep concerns of her counterparty risks and most importantly deep concerns over political risk with who the next president is the next undersecretary of the treasury and how vigorously they enforce the idea. if congress were to disapprove the idea that would extend the amount of time it takes for them to reenter the iranian market. as a result of congressional disapproval i don't believe it will lead to the collapse of sanctions. if anything the power of the u.s. sanctions point make major
financial institutions very reticent about reentering the market whether you approve or disapprove. >> dr. levitt, risk to the financial system integrity of the u.s. financial system is a major concern in this committee. the financial action task force found iran to present grave risk to the financial system due to lack of money-laundering safeguards and the involvement of iranian banks supporting terrorists. is there reason to believe that the problems that gave rise to the task for his designation will go away anytime soon and if it's safe for non-us persons and entities to do business with iranian banks? would you explain. >> thank you for the question. the simple answer to the question is no. the risks are not going away. talking specifically about terrorism and money laundering
has nothing to do with alliteration. all of the status warnings remain in full force from the end of june the next report issued in a sober and it's important the administration claims that will and should be held to going around explaining the risks exist. the problem is how the world interprets risk is going to change when it's just the united states. the first and secondary sanctions applied only if you want business here. a small company that doesn't want to do in this arm's-length business with irgc. when these entities come off the e.u. list and there's now iran trying to create between the international community for some time now commit the european union doesn't seem to think
these are lift about entities. some risk, less risk. how long, two years, five years 20 years? no one can answer the question because it's changing the nature of risk. it's no longer a consensus. >> pathway to bomb is what we are all thinking of here. in your testimony come you describe how the agreement is fundamentally flawed because even if iran abides by the deal, it can reopen and expand the use pathway that the agreement seeks to shut down. could you describe briefly here today how this would work in what sanction tools a future u.s. president would have to stop iran from achieving a pathway? >> thank you, chairman shelby. under the agreement because of the causes and restrictions on the program access to heavy
weaponry will go away. they start going away here five and you're a comic event have come iran can centrifuge r&d and your tenant can sell unlimited number of centrifuges into a tax facility in short the breakout time between 10 to 15 years. after 15 years iran can enrich uranium 15%. 60% is close to weapons grade as you can get. iran but legally do that on the agreement and build multiple heavy water tours. they'll accumulate an unlimited amount of enriched uranium all over the country. what that implies is a patient multi-pathway to a bomb both many times pathway and an iraq pathway. the second part of your question is what you do about that. when iran has industrial sized nuclear program within easier kindness and week out in the
icbm program, my concern is in terms of sanctions there's nothing you can do about it. the sanctions tool is gone at that point you have to face a binary choice to accept you now have a nuclear threshold i ran with unlimited enrichment capacity and enrichment capacity multiple capability to build a bomb very quickly or use military force to forestall the breakout. we will not have a peaceful option left when the military forces used iran will be a stronger country, more powerful and the consequences will be much more grave. >> i will pose this question for all of you. as i mentioned in my opening statement, sanctions are a crucial tool of u.s. policy. i'm concerned u.s. government is not taking maximum advantage of the tool. if any part of the u.s. government tasked with the long-range strategic sanctions and if anyone within the u.s.
government tasked with doing contingency planning was sanctions of what the pentagon does with operational plans and what it is could we make those matters? >> mr. chairman, when i was treasury now led by adam szubin is the war command for financial power tools. there is a question as to whether or not we do enough to think about preservation of the tools, use of them aggressively and other contacts and frankly the use of tools by other nationstates like the chinese and russians to extend their reach but also exploit our vulnerabilities. i would say that responsibility lies largely at the treasury department the treasury department in concert with the intelligence community in concert with others but perhaps we need to be more aggressive and forward leaning in terms of the use of the power.
one of my concerns with the deal as it is not clear we've considered fully the long-term implications for the use of power in this regard. >> chairman shall become a simple question i would ask undersecretary szubin is an incredibly talented professional to provide either 10 to 15 year contained a planned for the use of economic sanctions against iran when has that nearest euro breakout and unlimited enrichment capacity to plan should be in place today because that is fundamentally something everyone is concerned about because of sunset provisions we use our economic power over time and we should have that plan in place today and that should be disclosed to your committee. >> i was just at go. i used to be the secretary for intelligence treasury and the
other finance ministry that has the ability to interact is quite vigorous. we were both there within tsi we have these planning meetings with the things we were dealing with and and i believe and hope they have these meetings now. what is unclear is how far these conversations are going and whether or not we are taken into consideration the immediate impact of this deal on the long-term efficacy of the u.s. sanctions architecture. sanctions are a tool to be used should everyone sanctions forever but we always have goals we want to reach for which sanctions can be useful tool and it's critically important to maintain the tool is viable and effective. >> alas a simple simple question. ambassador burns first. >> if you would time --
>> i would say the most important thing for us in the united states is to have effective treasury statement white house cooperation on what we tried to do was sanctions and persist over the long-term first. sacking we've got to marry what we do with allies around the world and that is the problem is congress disapproves the deal of a block away. we list the potency of the sanctions. third, i say objectively. i was part of it so i can't say objectively. it is one of the reasons we are here today. submitted to negotiation when the deal has been made. >> i will ask that question. i asked it earlier to reach one of you. do you believe any agreement with iran, do you trust iran not to cheat if they get a chance?
>> mr. chairman, i served in the white house so i got to watch nefarious activity against our own troops and against civilians around the world. do i trust iran? absolutely not. this is precisely why any deal at many support whether it is this jcpoa has to have effective monitoring and enforcement and tools that deal with the other risks which will go up because of enriched regime in tehran. i don't equate not and i haven't heard from the administration plan to deal with those increased risks and that's a real challenge with the regime in tehran. >> mr. chairman, i don't trust iran and i was struck today, my jaw dropped when undersecretary charman effectively admitted we will not have physical access to all military site because this
deal is a riot on the iaea and this is a fundamental existential bet that we will be able to go anywhere any time in the military site. iranians have been saying for years now we will not allow the united states into military sites. if you can get boots on the ground access and i'm deeply concerned about the efficacy of the verification and we all agree we don't trust iran. if we don't trust her own verification regime would have a serious problem. >> dr. levitt. >> we can trust iran to engage in more nefarious activities tomorrow than today. beyond we cannot trust them in and out of government. the verification regime is critically important as mark laid out there are some holes big enough to drive a truck
through. the question isn't so much is it fair that the people who have a boat don't get to read these iaea agreements and others. the question is why was that agreed to. it is true we in the united states want the provisions to be made and kept a secret to our information in the public either appeared why was that agreed to? the question is how strong this verification will slow be. not that one of% verification center clear-sighted. -- declared sides. >> you're a member of president reagan's trust and verify. we have to say every names don't trust them we must verify it. if this agreement is implemented and if two or three years down the road we suspect a covert facilities and if the iranians do not ultimately after this
inspection process to deny access they will be in violation of the deal. in that eventuality we will have a way forward to press iranians. >> senator brown, thank you gave thank you, mr. chairman. especially to mr. zarate and ambassador burns, thank you for the work he did and i think neither u2 nor secretary clinton press secretary kerry or president obama or bush get the credit for weaving together these countries, the p5+1 against all odds holding them together in the sanctions in historical context and the difficult diplomatic maneuvers and accomplishments he made we should all thank you or. ambassador burns you said a number of things. do not see a more realistic alternative that would give the u.s. a greater probability at
this point that preventing an iranian nuclear weapon. if congress rejects the agreement, you mentioned the global coalition with weekend sanctions and shackles on iran undoubtedly send. talk to us what would happen if we reject this and especially in light of what our p5+1 allies with you what their reaction would eat and what about other countries in europe and asia notably japan and india and italy with their reactions might be. >> thank you, senator. the framework for members one of the questions members have to ask is there a credible alternative. i wish there were because they think it's a combination of benefit and risk. if you were through the logic train, if the united dates cannot implement the deal if we
cannot remove sanctions and get the benefit of iran and a couple things happen. number one, part of the value of the sanctions regime has been the countries you mentioned. not just the e.u. but finally after a lot of work in japan and south korea and the other major trading partners in some of the banks will go back and do business but some of the corporations will. i think the regime will begin to believe the political unity we've had well over 170 countries sanction. iran politically. that the first thing that will go. second, europeans will be an extraordinarily difficult place. all of their prime ministers in parliament support this deal. so they won't hurt the united states if we ask them not to move forward. i think there will be unity and
year. for the of the will have to reauthorize. i can think of three or four members who might not want to reauthorize the weaker countries. the ones that are closer to russia. i think that's the problem. the biggest problem i see in congress is ultimately the deal won't go in. iran will be unfettered and unshackled. it won't have restrictions the deal promises. they won't be a frozen country in terms of nuclear capacity. it will be a nuclear threshold state again. so it's hard to say what would happen because we talk about hypotheticals. i don't want to be too doctrinaire. this would be a messy situation but ultimately two things have happened. the iranians would be strengthened and we would be
weakened and a long-range struggle we are in with them for competing for power in the middle east we need to win over the next 20 to 25 years and despite my misgivings about part of the deal what we get is we stop that for the next 10 or 15 years and for me that's a lot of that's why i support the deal. >> thank you. people supporting this agreement, people on the other side and people undecided all believed military options should be available. you mentioned on your testimony. you said bush and a more concrete assurance. what did she mean by that. did the president say that again? should the presidential candidate make that clear as something we do now something
we reiterate in the next 18 months. >> what i meant is the united states needs strategic intimidation enemies to be credible if they don't think we mean what we say. this has to be or president obama and his successor over the next 25 years. i would hope every candidate of both parties would say unequivocally unambiguously if iran bolts from the agreement and if we see every embracing toys a nuclear weapon we have time to react and united states president would prevent that from happening. the if we bomb the heavy water reactor. that would be substantial. it would mean at some point would probably have to have another negotiation down the
line. i cannot see the united dates exceeding before not willing to use force. i say this with the greatest risk back. he needs to say that to reassure the congress and american people like me as a credible threat of force. i haven't seen the speech he just gave. >> one last question, mr. chairman. describing your testimony that major bank sanctions will be retained under the agreement. are there ways the treasury should use sanctions and a more robust way to mitigate problems you've identified? >> the sanctions are very powerful. they would remain on the non-wmd
activities. they are not there for everything and it's never been the case bank was only involved so it's difficult to get the intelligence to show an entity engaged relating to terrorism and a question of political will if you have something like the central bank of iran will there be the will to put forth the major entities or smaller ones at that night and knowing. it will deter the major financial and touche and corporations from doing business in iran at least for a period of time. by virtue of being limited to certain types of elicited a tip that he would no longer talk about i ran a service to jurisdiction when it is even more risky jurors diction and the toolkit was in some ways the
most effect is that the informal sanctions that brought to bear business risks will begin to fade very quickly. >> this list covers 40 states including 24 people from new york, 22 people from florida, 14 people from ohio and 13 for my home state of illinois. in this list if we deliver over $100 billion to iran what do you suspect is happening against iranian terror? >> mr. chairman if i could inhibit we have a habit of this committee is doing this. could you give us the source of
the list? >> this is the u.s. marines killed in 1983. 241 marines killed there. and lebanon. >> senator kirk it is one of the victims of iranian terror and multiple losses. over $20 billion in outstanding judgment. a group representing u.s. victims of terrorism file an injunction in a u.s. court and giving a hundred billion dollars back to iran. the purpose of the injunction is to prevent future victims of iranian terrorism. i found quite surprising we haven't required to iranians to satisfy judgments for past victims in the willing to give them billions of dollars to find what everybody agrees be future acts of terrorism against americans and others.
one other thing. i did some research into this. we talk about where the money is spent in terms of syria and hezbollah and hamas. people have said it's not a lot of money. i looked into the rainy budget for 2015. the irgc and quds voice gets $6.4 billion in the budget. president boeheim a participating in the budget represents 65% of the total defense budget 10% of the budgets of the iranians will spend 10% of their total public budgets supporting the revolutionary guard of the quds force primarily responsible. it gives them a sense of where it is highlighting its own priorities.
>> if i could follow-up. >> senator i want to add to that effect but for a moment. it does strike me as odd that we've assumed as a country the cost of the deal is simply that the money will flow back to iran in an unfettered uncontrolled way and we are doing nothing in the immediate term to do with the real risk of terrorist financing will flow in the international system through the revolutionary guard corps, i'm ois, quds force. we've accepted as a principal shrugging our shoulders the cost of the deal when i don't get should be and it's a remarkable bit minutes duration has described the walkaway plan here is if we will be the isolated party internationally when in fact the iranians engage in a whole range of illicit conduct. when we entered in with the red
isolated to prove the peaceful nature of the regime and suddenly we are told at the moment of fruition if we don't accept a deal we will be the isolated party internationally. i just don't think the cost of the deal as described is except the bullet and we should be mitigating that there are ways of doing that and i haven't heard that from the administration. >> senator kirk thank you for sharing my written testimony. one of the issues we have to press the iranians on now is the brains they killed in 1983 the american embassy personnel malcolm kerr president gunned down in 1984 at the instigation of iran is the issue we have to pursue and the federal court for american citizens have sued the
iranian government and deserve justice. i wouldn't mind making this conditional on the nuclear deal but i would advise any resumption of iran in the future on balance we will obtain better this problem if they are not nuclear. it's another reason i support the agreement. >> if i make him a partial answer to this one, breaking apart proliferation in terms of sanctions does the work. last year david coe went undersecretary of the treasury now deputy director of the cia specifically touted collateral counterterrorism benefit of counter proliferation sanctions targeting oil is yours and in fact the success of unprecedented regime including iranian financial and touche and an ability to sell oil has had a
collateral benefit to fund terrorist groups such as hezbollah. that will no longer be the case. >> senator kirk. >> mr. chairman i want to go through the chart to show you the estimate on what iran's budget is. according to the crs air support were hezbollah's one to $2,200,000,000 per year in support for hamas and the regime is the area is to $15 billion a year. support for the rebels in yemen. the key question is between six to $16 billion per year. the key question to follow up is should they get $100 billion in sanctions relief. what would become of the
situation? >> they would be enraged. they would be emboldened. they went out to the budget they've allocated from these groups. hearing from them directly, secretary-general nasrallah from hezbollah expects more support from iranians. we should take iranians and proxies that there weren't. they will offer from the deal and we've got to do things to mitigate the risk and shrugging our shoulders assuming the deal is not good enough. >> senator kirk, and six at 12 months of treasury department lifts sanctions on entity called the execution of aye. this is the holding company of the $95 billion holding company he designated in six to 12 month
allowing the supreme leader for the tune of $95 billion to the formal financial system around the world. this is not just $100 billion in escrow funds. $95 billion the action house. that's $200 billion. undersecretary szubin is talking about the accounts down $56 billion. the administration has an argument both ways. if the money spent on the economy and not terrorism and $56 billion includes 25 million spent on upstream investment to conclude $20 billion secured against nonperforming loans. debt is money spent on iran's economy. it's a hundred billion dollars. on the other hand the argument is the iranians will spend money on terrorism, the administration is right. 100 million of not available.
let's get our arguments straight. $100 billion available as what is in the escrow fund and as i said $95 billion how meaning is holding company what you're talking about in the revolutionary guards are getting $6.5 billion representing 10% of the budget and they are the entity and control of the overseas expansionism and terroristic dvds. -- activities. >> they've been holding weekly meetings with charla sod for the ring cooperation there. iran funded allies and now the rich and powerful iran open to the world would be able to do more. i say in the next phase iran
will stand by allies and friends and people in the region and resistance in palestine and the palestinian people more than any time in the past. >> ambassador burns. >> senator, i assume whether 100 billion or 56 and i'm not confident to answer the question some will inevitably go to the economy given the population frustration the sanctions and some will go to the irgc. you are right about that. i think there's congressional disapproval and we can't fulfill the agreement may become the threshold stayed, they are a more powerful force to exert mayhem in the middle east and africa and freeze them and we could not over the next 10 years. strategically we have to combat this force and that of the containment regime.
record in a speech at american university telling congressional lawmakers on the alternative to video is more. this is an hour. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you. thank you very much. everybody, please have a seat. thank you very much. i apologize for the slight delay. even presidents have problems with toner. [laughter] is a great honor to be back at american university which has repaired generations of young people for service in public life. i want to thank president kerwin in the american university
family for hosting us here today. 52 years ago president kennedy at the height of the cold war addressed the same university on the subject of peace. the berlin wall has just been built. the soviet union has tested the boast powerful weapons ever developed. china was on the verge of acquiring a nuclear policy. less than 20 years after the end of world war ii the prospect of nuclear war was all too real. i thought the threats we face today, it is hard to appreciate how much more dangerous the world was at that time.
in light of these mounting threats to number strategists in the united states argued we had to take military action against the soviets to hasten what they saw as inevitable confrontation. the young president offered a different vision. strengthen his view included powerful armed forces and a willingness to stand up for values around the world. but he rejected the prevailing attitude among some foreign policy circles that equated security with a perpetual war footing. instead a promise to us about american leadership on behalf of what he called a prior goal and it tangible piece a peace based his sudden revolution in human nature, but on a gradual
revolution in human institutions. on a series of concrete actions and effect of agreements. such wisdom would help guide our state through the most moments in human history. with kennedy at the home of the cuban missile crisis was resolved peaceful. under democratic and republican presidents, new agreements were forced and non-proliferation treaties from acquiring nuclear weapons while allowing them to access peaceful nuclear energy. the start treaties which bound the united states and the soviet union to cooperation on arms control. not every conflict was averted but the world avoided nuclear catastrophe and created the time
and space to win the cold war without firing a shot at the soviet period the agreement now reached between the international community and the islamic republic of iran builds on this tradition of strong principled diplomacy. after two years of negotiations we've achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. it cuts off all of iran's pathways to a bomb. it contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime never negotiated to monitoring nuclear program. as sister in previous treaties that does not resolve all our problems with iran.
it's a more main between our two countries. it achieves one of our critical security objectives. it is a very good deal. today i want to speak to you about this deal our country has had invasion of iraq. as congress decides whether to support this direct diplomatic breakthrough or instead block spam over the objection of the vast majority of the world. between now and the congressional vote in september you are going to hear a lot of arguments against this deal by tens of millions of dollars in advertisements and if the rhetoric in these ads and the accompanying commentary sounds familiar, it should. many of the same people in iraq
are now making the case against the iran nuclear deal. i've iran for a candidate who would oppose the decision to go to war in iraq. i said america didn't just have to add without war. we have to run the mime type there in the first place. there is a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy and mindset to put a premium on unilateral u.s. action over the patent taking work of building international consensus. the mindset that exaggerated threat beyond what the intelligence thwarted. leaders did not bother with the american people about the
comments of ward insisting we could these impose their will on part of the world with a profoundly different culture and history. and of course, those calling for war labeled themselves strong and decisive while dismissing those who disagree this week. even appeasers of a benevolent adversary. more than a decade later we still live with the consequent is of the decision to invade iraq. our troops achieved every mission they were given but thousands of lives were lost it tends to thousands wounded. that doesn't count the lives lost.
nearly a trillion dollars was spent. today they are ripped a conflict and a are now involved in two isil. the greatest beneficiaries in the region of war with the islamic republic of iran which saw strategic positions by the removal of the long-standing enemy, saddam hussein. i raised this in history because now more than ever we need clear thinking in our foreign policy. i raise this because it bears directly how we respond to the iranian nuclear program. that program has been around for decades dating back to the shah's efforts with u.s. support to the 1960s and 70s to develop nuclear power.
the bureaucracy that overthrew the shah accelerated the program after the iran-iraq war in the 1980s in which saddam hussein has chemical weapons to brutally sacked -- brutally sacked and advanced steadily through the 1990s despite unilateral sanctions. they have no centrifuges. to produce material for a bomb and spinning to enrich uranium. despite repeated warnings from the united states government, by the time i took office, iran had installed several thousand centrifuges and showed no inclination to slow, much less halt its program. among u.s. holidaymakers there's never been disagreement on danger posed by iranian nuclear
bomb. it would spark an arms race in the most unstable region and turn every crisis into a potential nuclear showdown. it would embolden terrorist groups like hezbollah and pose an unacceptable risk to israel which iranian leaders have repeatedly to does torre. -- destroy. it could have my full -- the question then is not whether to prevent iran from obtaining an but how. even before taking office and made clear that iran would not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon on a my watch and it's been my policy throughout my presidency to keep all options including possible military options on the table to achieve that is.
but i've also made it clear my practice for a peaceful diplomatic resolution of the issue. not just because of war but because the negotiated agreement is more verifiable in durable. and so in 2009 will let the iranians know the diplomatic task was available and able to take the path and exposing the distance of a covert nuclear facility. some have argued that iran showed the futility of negotiations. in fact, it was our very willingness to negotiate that helps america rally the world
and secure international participation in an unprecedented framework of commercial and financial sanctions. keep in mind unilateral u.s. sanctions against iran has been in place for decades but failed to pressure iran to the negotiating table. what made our new approach effective is the ability to draw upon u.n. security council resolutions come to embody strong enforcement with voluntary agreements from nations like china and india japan and south korea to reduce purchases of iranian oil as well as the imposition by our european allies of the total oil embargo. winning this global buy-in was not easy. i know. i was there. in some cases our partners less billions of dollars in trade because of their decision to cooperate.
we were able to commit absent a diplomatic resolution to do so could be where with major disruptions of the global economy can even greater instability in the middle east. and afterwards, it was diplomacy painstaking diplomacy. now favor rattling, not tough talk that ratcheted up pressure on iran. with the world now unified inside us iran's economy contracted severely and remains 20% smaller today than it would have otherwise been. no doubt the hardships at a role in iran's 2013 elections when the iranian people elected a new government that promised to improve the economy through engagement with the world. a window had cracked open. iran came back to nuclear talks
and after a series of negotiations, iran agreed with the international community to ensure and deal several back iran's 20% enriched uranium and froze the progress of its program so that the p5+1 united states china russia united kingdom germany france and the european union could negotiate a comprehensive deal without the fear that iran might be stalling for time. ..
inspections did increase. there was no flood of money into iran, and the architecture of the international sanctions remained in place. in fact, the interim deal worked so well that the same people who criticized it so fiercely now cite it as an excuse not to support the broader accord. think about that. what was once proclaimed as a historic mistake is now held up as a success and a reason to not
sign the comprehensive deal. so keep that in mind when you assess the credibility of the arguments being made against diplomacy today. despite the criticism, we moved ahead to negotiate a more lasting, comprehensive deal. our diplomats, led by secretary of state john kerry, kept our coalition united. our nuclear experts, including one of the best in the world, secretary of energy ernie moniz, worked tirelessly on the technical details. in july, we reached a comprehensive plan of action that meets our objectives. under its terms, iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon. and while iran, like any party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, is allowed to access peaceful nuclear energy, the agreement strictly defines the manner in which its nuclear program can proceed, ensuring
that all pathways to a bomb are cut off. here's how. under this deal iran cannot acquire the plutonium needed for a bomb. the core of its heavy-water reactor at arak will be pulled out, filled with concrete, and replaced with one that will not produce plutonium for a weapon. the spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country, and iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years. iran will also not be able to acquire the enriched uranium that could be used for a bomb. as soon as this deal is implemented, iran will remove two-thirds of its centrifuges. for the next decade, iran will not enrich uranium with its more advanced centrifuges. iran will not enrich uranium at the previously undisclosed fordow facility, which is buried
deep underground, for at least 15 years. iran will get rid of 98% of its stockpile of enriched uranium, which is currently enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs, for the next 15 years. even after those 15 years have passed, iran will never have the right to use a peaceful program as cover to pursue a weapon. and, in fact this deal shuts off the type of covert path iran pursued in the past. there will be 24/7 monitoring of iran's key nuclear facilities. for decades, inspectors will have access to iran's entire nuclear supply chain, from the uranium mines and mills where they get raw materials, to the centrifuge production facilities where they make machines to enrich it. and understand why this is so important, for iran to cheat, it has to build a lot more than just one building or a covert facility like fordow.
it would need a secret source for every single aspect of its program. no nation in history has been able to pull off such subterfuge when subjected to such rigorous inspections. and under the terms of the deal, inspectors will have the permanent ability to inspect any suspicious sites in iran. and finally, iran has powerful incentives to keep its commitments. before getting sanctions relief, iran has to take significant, concrete steps like removing centrifuges and getting rid of its stockpile. if iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. we won't need the support of other members of the u.n. security council, america can trigger snapback on our own. on the other hand, if iran abides by the deal and its
economy begins to reintegrate with the world, the incentive to avoid snapback will only grow. so this deal is not just the best choice among alternatives this is the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated. and because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly with the exception of the israeli government, has expressed support. the united nations security council has unanimously supported it. the majority of arms control and non-proliferation experts support it. over 100 former ambassadors, who served under republican and democratic presidents, support it.
i've had to make a lot of tough calls as president, but whether or not this deal is good for american security is not one of those calls. it's not even close. unfortunately, we're living through a time in american politics where every foreign policy decision is viewed through a partisan prism evaluated by headline-grabbing sound bites. and so before the ink was even dry on this deal, before congress even read it, a majority of republicans declared their virulent opposition. lobbyists and pundits were suddenly transformed into arm-chair nuclear scientists, disputing the assessments of experts like secretary moniz, challenging his findings offering multiple, and sometimes
contradictory, arguments about why congress should reject this deal. but if you repeat these arguments long enough, they can get some traction. so let me address just a few of the arguments that have been made so far in opposition to this deal. first, there are those who say the inspections are not strong enough because inspectors can't go anywhere in iran at any time with no notice. well, here's the truth. inspectors will be allowed daily access to iran's key nuclear sites. if there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious, undeclared site anywhere in iran, inspectors will get that access, even if iran objects. this access can be with as
little as 24 hours' notice. and while the process for resolving a dispute about access can take up to 24 days, once we've identified a site that raises suspicion, we will be watching it continuously until inspectors get in. and by the way, nuclear material isn't something you hide in the closet. it can leave a trace for years. the bottom line is, if iran cheats, we can catch them, and we will. second, there are those who argue that the deal isn't strong enough because some of the limitations on iran's civilian nuclear program expire in 15 years. let me repeat the prohibition on iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent. the ban on weapons-related
research is permanent. inspections are permanent. it is true that some of the limitations regarding iran's peaceful program last only 15 years. but that's how arms control agreements work. the first salt treaty with the soviet union lasted five years. the first start treaty lasted 15 years. and in our current situation, if 15 or 20 years from now, iran tries to build a bomb this deal ensures that the united states will have better tools to detect it a stronger basis under international law to respond and the same options available to stop a weapons program as we have today, including, if necessary, military options. on the other hand, without this deal, the scenarios that critics warn about happening in 15 years could happen six months from now.
by killing this deal, congress would not merely pave iran's pathway to a bomb, it would accelerate it. third, a number of critics say the deal isn't worth it because iran will get billions of dollars in sanctions relief. now, let's be clear. the international sanctions were put in place precisely to get iran to agree to constraints on its program. that's the point of sanctions. any negotiated agreement with iran would involve sanctions relief. so an argument against sanctions relief is effectively an argument against any diplomatic resolution of this issue. it is true that if iran lives up to its commitments, it will gain access to roughly $56 billion of its own money, revenue frozen
overseas by other countries. but the notion that this will be a game-changer, with all this money funneled into iran's pernicious activities, misses the reality of iran's current situation. partly because of our sanctions, the iranian government has over half a trillion dollars in urgent requirements, from funding pensions and salaries, to paying for crumbling infrastructure. iran's leaders have raised the expectations of their people that sanctions relief will improve their lives. even a repressive regime like iran's cannot completely ignore those expectations. and that's why our best analysts expect the bulk of this revenue to go into spending that improves the economy and benefits the lives of the iranian people. now, this is not to say that sanctions relief will provide no benefit to iran's military. let's stipulate that some of that money will flow to
activities that we object to. we have no illusions about the iranian government, or the significance of the revolutionary guard and the quds force. iran supports terrorist organizations like hezbollah. it supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies including proxy groups who killed our troops in iraq. they try to destabilize our gulf partners. but iran has been engaged in these activities for decades. they engaged in them before sanctions and while sanctions were in place. in fact, iran even engaged in these activities in the middle of the iran-iraq war, a war that cost them nearly a million lives and hundreds of billions of
dollars. the truth is that iran has always found a way to fund these efforts, and whatever benefit iran may claim from sanctions relief pales in comparison to the danger it could pose with a nuclear weapon. moreover, there's no scenario where sanctions relief turns iran into the region's dominant power. iran's defense budget is eight times smaller than the combined budget of our gulf allies. their conventional capabilities will never compare with israel's, and our commitment to israel's qualitative military edge helps guarantee that. over the last several years, iran has had to spend billions of dollars to support its only ally in the arab world, bashar al-assad, even as he's lost
control of huge chunks of his country. and hezbollah has suffered significant blows on the same battlefield. and iran like the rest of the region, is being forced to respond to the threat of isil in iraq. so contrary to the alarmists who claim that iran is on the brink of taking over the middle east, or even the world, iran will remain a regional power with its own set of challenges. the ruling regime is dangerous and it is repressive. we will continue to havean's support for terrorism and violation of human rights. we will continue to insist upon the release of americans detained unjustly. we will have a lot of differences with the iranian regime. but if we're serious about confronting iran's destabilizing
activities, it is hard to imagine a worse approach than blocking this deal. instead, we need to check the behavior that we're concerned about directly by helping our allies in the region strengthen their own capabilities to counter a cyber-attack or a ballistic missile, by improving the interdiction of weapons shipments that go to groups like hezbollah, by training our allies' special forces so that they can more effectively respond to situations like yemen. all these capabilities will make a difference. we will be in a stronger position to implement them with this deal. and, by the way, such a strategy also helps us effectively confront the immediate and lethal threat posed by isil. now, the final criticism, this sort of a catch-all that you may
hear is the notion that there's a better deal to be had. we should get a better deal that's repeated over and over again. it's a bad deal need a better deal, one that relies on vague promises of toughness, and, more recently, the argument that we can apply a broader and indefinite set of sanctions to squeeze the iranian regime harder. those making this argument are either ignorant of iranian society, or they're just not being straight with the american people. sanctions alone are not going to force iran to completely dismantle all vestiges of its nuclear infrastructure, even those aspects that are consistent with peaceful
programs. that oftentimes is what the critics are calling a better deal. neither the iranian government or the iranian opposition, or the iranian people would agree to what they would view as a total surrender of their sovereignty. moreover our closest allies in europe, or in asia much less china or russia, certainly are not going to agree to enforce existing sanctions for another 5, 10 15 years according to the dictates of the u.s. congress. because their willingness to support sanctions in the first place was based on iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. it was not based on the belief that iran cannot have peaceful nuclear power. and it certainly wasn't based on a desire for regime change in
iran. as a result, those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy. instead of strengthening our position as some have suggested congress's rejection would almost certainly result in multilateral sanctions unraveling. if, as has also been suggested we tried to maintain unilateral sanctions, beefen them up, we would be standing alone. we cannot dictate the foreign, economic and energy policies of every major power in the world. in order to even try to do that,
we would have to sanction, for example, some of the world's largest banks. we'd have to cut off countries like china from the american financial system. and since they happen to be major purchasers of or our debt such actions could trigger severe disruptions in our own economy and, by the way, raise questions internationally about the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency. that's part of the reason why many of the previous unilateral sanctions were waived. what's more likely to happen should congress reject this deal, is that iran would end up with some form of sanctions relief without having to accept any of the constraints or inspections required by this deal. so in that sense, the critics are right. walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal for iran.
[applause] now, because more sanctions won't produce the results that the critics want we have to be honest. congressional rejection of this deal leaves any u.s. administration that is absolutely committed to preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon with one option another war in the middle east. i say this not to be provocative. i am stating a fact. without this deal, iran will be in a position however tough our rhetoric may be to steadily advance its capabilities. its breakout time, which is
already fairly small, could shrink to near zero. does anyone really doubt that the same voices now raised against this deal will be demanding that whoever is president bomb those nuclear facilities? and as someone who does firmly believe that iran must not get a nuclear weapon, and who has wrestled with this issue since the beginning of my presidency, i can tell you that alternatives to military action will have been exhausted once we reject a hard-won diplomatic solution that the world almost unanimously supports. so let's not mince words. the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now but soon.
and here's the irony. as i said before, military action would be far less effective than this deal in preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. that's not just my supposition. every estimate, including those from israeli analysts, suggest military action would only set back iran's program by a few years at best, which is a fraction of the limitations imposed by this deal. it would likely guarantee that inspectors are kicked out of iran. it is probable that it would drive iran's program deeper underground. it would certainly destroy the international unity that we've spent so many years building. now, there are some opponents, i have to give them credit, there are opponents of this deal who accept the choice of war.
in fact they argue that surgical strikes against iran's facilities will be quick and painless. but if we've learned anything from the last decade, it's that wars in general and wars in the middle east in particular are anything but simple. [applause] the only certainty in war is human suffering, uncertain costs, unintended consequences. we can also be sure that the americans who bear the heaviest burden are the less than 1% of us the outstanding men and women who serve in uniform, and not those of us who send them to war.
as commander-in-chief, i have not shied from using force when necessary. i have ordered tens of thousands of young americans into combat. i have sat by their bedside sometimes when they come home. i've ordered military action in seven countries. there are times when force is necessary, and if iran does not abide by this deal, it's possible that we don't have an alternative. but how can we in good conscience justify war before we've tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives, that has been agreed to by iran that is supported by the rest of the world, and that preserves our options if the deal falls short? how could we justify that to our troops?
how could we justify that to the world or to future generations? in the end, that should be a lesson that we've learned from over a decade of war. on the front end, ask tough questions. subject our own assumptions to evidence and analysis. resist the conventional wisdom and the drumbeat of war. worry less about being labeled weak, worry more about getting it right. i recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of iran. it is offensive. it is incendiary. we do take it seriously. but superpowers should not act
impulsively in response to taunts or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. just because iranian hardliners chant death to america does not mean that that's what all iranians believe. [applause] in fact, it's those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. it's those hardliners chanting death to america who have been most opposed to the deal. they're making common cause with the republican caucus. [laughter] [applause] the majority of the iranian people have powerful incentives to urge their government to move
in a different, less provocative direction, incentives that are strengthened by this deal. we should offer them that chance. we should give them that opportunity. it's not guaranteed to succeed. but if they take it, that would be good for iran, it would be good for the united states. it would be good for a region that has known too much conflict. it would be good for the world. and if iran does not move in that direction, if iran violates this deal we will have ample ability to respond. the agreements pursued by kennedy and reagan with the soviet union, those agreements, those treaties involved america accepting significant constraints on our arsenal. as such they were riskier.
this agreement involves no such constraints. the defense budget of the united states is more than $600 billion. to repeat iran's is about $15 billion. our military remains the ultimate backstop to any security agreement that we make. i have stated that iran will never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. i have done what is necessary to make sure our military options are real. and i have no doubt that any president who follows me will take the same position. so let me sum up here. when we carefully examine the arguments against this deal none of them stand up to scrutiny. that may be why the rhetoric on the other side is so strident.
they should. no one can blame the israelis for having a skepticism with any dealings with a government like iran which includes leaders who denied the holocaust and embraced the ideology of anti-semitism facilitate the flow of rockets that are on israel's borders pointed at tel aviv in such a dangerous neighborhood. israel has to be vigilant. even its great friend of the united states for its own security. as we have to take seriously the concerns of israel.
my administration has provided unprecedented levels. on the other hand in a clear iran changes the equation for the nuclear nuclear weapons deal does exactly that. i see this as someone that has done more than any other president to strengthen israel's security and i've made it clear that we are prepared to deep enough cooperation even further. there's another plan for the
u.s. security assistance to israel. we can enhance support for areas like missile defense information sharing to help meet the pressing security needs and provide a hedge against any additional activities iran may engage as a consequence of sanctions relief. but i've also listened to the security establishment which warns of the danger posed by the nuclear armed iran for decades infected they develop the ideas that led to this deal. so to the friends of israel and the american people, i say this a nuclear armed iran is far more dangerous to israel and america into the world than one that benefits from sanctions relief.
i recognized him and mr. benjamin medina - netanyahu disagrees but i believe he is wrong. i believe the fact supports this deal and there are america's interests and israel and as president of the united states it would be an obligation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment because it causes temporary friction with a friend and ally. i do not believe that would be the right thing to do with the united states were the right thing to do with israel. [applause]
over the last couple of weeks i have challenged anyone opposed to the deal to put forward a better and plausible alternative i have yet to hear one. but i've heard instead for the same type of arguments we heard in the run-up to the war iran cannot be dealt with diplomatically. we can take strides without consequences. we shouldn't worry about what the rest of the world thinks because once we ask, everyone will fall in line. for talk, more military threat to force iran into submission. we can get a better deal. i know it's easy to play on people's fear, to magnify press, to compare any attempt of
diplomacy to munich but none of these arguments hold up. they didn't do back back in 2002 and 2003 and they shouldn't now. [applause] at the same mindset in many cases offered by the same people who seem to have no compunction with being repeatedly wrong lead to a word that there's more to strengthen iran than anything we've done in the decade since. it is a mindset out of step with
the tradition of american foreign policy where we diplomacy before the war and that these matters in the cool light of truth. peace is not the absence of conflict president ronald reagan once said. it's the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means. president kennedy warned americans not to see conflict as inevitable a combination as impossible and communication as nothing more than the exchange of threats. it is time to apply such wisdom. the deal before us doesn't bet on iran changing or require
trust. it verifies that it requires the sake of nuclear weapons. as we struck agreements in the soviet union at the time they were threatening our allies arming proxy is against us claiming a commitment to destroy they could to destroy life and have nuclear weapons pointed at all of the major cities come a genuine access digital print. we've been in a complicated world. a world in which force is unleashed by human innovation and creating opportunities for children not work unimaginable for most of human history. it's also persistent in which violence and cruelty is also common in human innovation risks the destruction of all that we hold dear.
the united states of america remains the most powerful nation on earth, and i believe that we will remain such for decades to come but we are one nation among many and what separates us from the empires of old and what has made us exceptional event the mere fact of the military might. since world war ii the deadliest war in human history we have used our power to try to buy nations - nine nations in an international system of law. we've led to the evolution of those human institutions president kennedy spoke about. to prevent the spread of deadly weapons, to uphold peace and
security and promote human progress. we now have the opportunity to build on the progress. we built a coalition and held it together through sanctions and negotiations and now we have before us a solution that prevents a nuclear weapon without resorting to war. as americans, we should be proud of this achievement. and as members of congress reflect on their decision, i urge them to set aside political concerns, shut out the norms consider the stakes involved in the vote you cast. if congress kills this deal table is more than just constraints on the nuclear program or the sanctions but we
have painstakingly built. we will have lost something more precious america's credibility as a leader of diplomacy. america's credibility as the anchor of the international system. john f. kennedy cautioned here more than 50 years ago at this anniversary that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war but it's so very important it is surely the pursuit of peace that is most needed in this world so full of strength. my fellow americans, contact your representatives and remind them who we are. remind them what is best and
what we stand for so we can leave behind a world that is more secure and peaceful for our children. thank you very much. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> we get reaction to pre- marks from senate majority leader mitch mcconnell in a few minutes. first we hear about the president's vacation. hispanic on friday the president and first family headed to martha's vineyard for their august vacation and expect to spend the next two weeks away from the public spotlight with a small media contingent will be there to cover the president in any breaking news. nancy reagan once put it this way, presidents don't go on vacation they just get a change of scenery. joining us on the phone from the white house as a deputy press
secretary erik scholz who will be with the president on martha's vineyard. thank you for joining us. >> it's good to be here. hispanic was involved in planning for the presidential vacation and how does the presidency move with president obama? >> i think the first lady was right when she talked about the president never detaches from his responsibilities as president. in that vein, i think all presidents have recognized the need to get away and clear their mind. so when he goes up to martha's vineyard this summer on friday, he will be there for a few weeks and he will be taking the opportunity to enjoy some downtime down time with his family. and you're right. this does require a significant footprint of the infrastructure that goes with him. that includes the national
security staff that includes national security equipment and communication equipment so the president is able to have a secure line if he needs it and secure teleconferencing. it also includes communications personnel and staff so that we can help you and your colleagues answer any questions about anything that comes up but mostly we try while they keep going. we try to let the president have some down time and enjoy the time in the middle of august. >> the author of the book kennedy and reagan white ... he's indoor road in the "washington post" that these vacations give this president or any president a rare commodity time to think. can you elaborate on that? >> sometimes when you were in the dalia hustle in washington and this is increasingly true in the modern presidency where the
media moves fast and in this globalized world we live in with international events to move very fast it is rare to take some time to be able to remove yourself from the sort of day-to-day and if by minute. so the president enjoys getting out of town going to a quieter and more relaxed environment of in the vineyard and that's why we have seen him go for a couple of years now. >> why is this such a favorite spot for this family? >> have seen other presidents vacation in england and we know the clintons were fond of martha's vineyard as well. i don't know if you've been up there but i was able to go on this trip and i think the vineyard is a place removed from
the hustle and puzzle with washington and its a great atmosphere of restaurants and the president has been known to enjoy a couple games of golf while he's up there and he will have an opportunity to sit with his family and spend some down time with family and friends. >> as you indicated the dalia briefs will continue. how does that work when he is away from the white house? >> it's hard for me to get into this in much detail but it is because it does still received a presidential dalia briefing. that is a document of the latest developments from around the world that the president needs to know about and he's presented with that every day whether he's in washington or not. >> and what is your routine as the deputy secretary on martha's vineyard and answering reporters questions with a different pace
than you would have in washington and the white house but what is your day like? >> it's largely dependent on world events. some tricks we go on specifically when the president takes time around the holidays in december in hawaii that are remarkably quiet and there's other trips there is a lot of news. so, we are there to help reporters get a sense of what the president and the white house is viewing in that particular event or episode so for those to come up with try to be hopeful and answer questions but other than that we don't have any specific agenda we will be pushing. we want to make sure the president can get some rest. >> eric shultz is the deputy press secretary joining from the white house departing on friday from martha's vineyard. thanks very much for being with us. >> the house and senate are now out of fashion for their summer
district were period and return for legislative work september 8. the schedule is unclear at this point that the senate will consider the judicial nomination on the first day back. gop leaders in both chambers set of said votes in september on resolutions two disapprove of the president obama's iran nuclear agreement with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell saying he will ask for the senators to sit at their desk during the debate on the accord. in the last news conference before the recess the theater review to the senate's work over the last several months and looked ahead for the full. this is a half-hour. >> good morning everyone. today after the election at had a similar press conference like this i said to the american people to express their opinion
and there were two things on their mind. one that was helpful to us obviously was that the president wasn't very popular. the other issue that we heard a lot about talking across the country with the issue of dysfunction. the -center-dot nothing ever gets accomplished here. casual observers they were not quite sure what the dysfunction was but we worked round the area and we knew it was in the senate. the senate was essentially shut down were literally for years. how do you measure this? you vote with 15 roll call votes on amendments on all of 2014. we had so far this year over 160 in the first half which is more than the last two years combined. over the last five years the senate did pass a budget and the wall requires us to pass a budget when we don't feel like it, but every year we've done
that. that's not enough. but michael looking at - my goal looking at for the american people gave us which is not unusual, we've had a divided government more often than not since world war ii. the american people say divided government. why can't you look for things to agree on and try to make progress for the country? and so what i tried to when i tried to do is to emphasize things upon which there was some bipartisan agreement and bills that were big enough to be worth doing. we led off with the keystone pipeline even at the most important didn't sign it but passed by pretty overwhelmingly majority. we passed a budget that is it an exercise and wasn't this year that we have also done the nuclear review act trade promotion authority and the child left behind.
clearly the senate is up and running trying to focus on things where we can make progress. what is not helpful is rhetoric like the president has been using as recently as this morning, comparing republicans in congress do have legitimate concerns over the nuclear agreement to those in the streets in tehran yelling death to america. my view of this is rather than this kind of political rhetoric, we ought to treat this issue with the dignity that it deserves. so i sent it to the senate is we are going to handle this in the following way. we are going to try to reach an agreement to have an amount of time to talk about it. i'm going to ask every senator to be at their desk listening to what others are saying. each senator will get an
opportunity to speak and actually be listened to by other senators. this is an extraordinarily important issue for the country not only now but in the future. remember the president will be gone in a year and a half and the rest of us will be working with the consequences of this extraordinary agreement which certainly has transformed the middle east. it certainly has. we are now entering into an agreement which we are basically being asked to trust the biggest funder of terrorism in the world today and so it is appropriate to have some skepticism about the debate of this magnitude. and regardless of how the president talks about it, regardless of what his incendiary rhetoric is we will deal with this in a respectful
way dealing with the facts surrounding the issue and traded with the treated with the dignity and respect that it deserves in the senate. with that i will be happy to to throw it open and see what you would like to talk about. >> another thing that use after you got reelected as we are not going to be having any government shutdown. we are back in the same boat. spec we are not doing a government shutdown. >> there's been debate on planned parenthood from members of your own party. have a challenge to you and your integrity using their platform very loudly to say we should defund planned parenthood [inaudible] >> you have heard me say this before but one of my sayings if there is no education and a second kick of a mule. we've tried this report going
back to the '90s frequently by the republican majority that always have the same ending. the focus is on the fact that government is to to shut down and bought the underlining issue that is being protested. so, what planned parenthood is engaged in is outrageous. the videos are beyond disturbing the question is what is the best way to go forward? we had in opportunity this week to put the senators on record how they felt about going forward in the bill that would have taken a funding currently going to planned parenthood and not a penny less on the proposal that the senator was promoting. and that presumably would have gone to the community health centers. there are 134 centers and to
planned parenthood clinics. as a, not a penny less for women's health. but spent in a way that's actually consistent with the law any water back there? so senator grassley is going to be investigating. as you know, he has a record as a very thorough and tough investigator with the whistleblower law and we continue to pursue the facts and nobody is better at doing that and we look for opportunities to make our voices heard on planned parenthood. >> [inaudible] i'm wondering if you would welcome any comments.
we are honored to have him here at the capitol and i'm sure that the attendance will be great. by either way, you by the way, you would be interested in this because more requests for this appearance more than anything anybody can recall. i have no idea what he would say. >> [inaudible] >> i'm sorry. i will come to do next. >> it's the 50th anniversary of the [inaudible] and a lot of democrats feel it got into some of the main protections of that. do you feel it needs to be updated and if so, what will you do to help make that happen? and are there any parting words for jon stewart or for the candidates up against donald trump tonight? >> i was here that today.
i was an intern for the senator in 1940 was involved in breaking the filibuster and the civil rights bill of 1964. i came back the next summer to visit him and happened to be here on this day 50 years ago. i was waiting at his office in hopes of talking for a few minutes. he walked out as i've got something important you should see. and he brought me over here to the rotunda and i stood in the back of the room room and i watched lyndon johnson signed the voting rights act of 1965. it's been a big success and it's worth. the supreme court did didn't strike down the voting rights act and racial discrimination remains the law of the land. i think it's also important to understand how different this
stuff is now. haley barbour always pointed out there are more in mississippi than any other state in america. america has come a long way and the voting rights act is intact. it wasn't struck down. that's all i have to say on it. [laughter] i have a question regarding [inaudible] what are you planning to make changes to? spinet i haven't given a moments thought to death. we have a lot of things going on and i don't know how we are going to handle those right now. >> immigration is bound to be a big topic tonight. what is your thought for any reform in the congress before
the next election? >> i think when the president took the action he did after the 2,014th election, he pretty much made it impossible for us to go forward with immigration reform in this congress. the concern that we express i think was validated by the fact that he's currently under court order not to go forward in what he decided to do it for the atmosphere of dealing with that issue in the way of looking kid is not appropriate to get the kind of immigration reform that we probably need to address hopefully in the next congress. [inaudible] you also said earlier that this would be a good chance. what conditions would you be keeping?
>> i think this would create a discussion in negotiation. they will generate a discussion about spending in and all of that will be addressed in the fall and i'm not opposed to negotiation. i would remind you when i was the leader of the minority we did three different deals together, so we will talk about it and try to figure out what the way forward is and each side will have to give some things they don't want to give, and we will get to an agreement. ..