tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 17, 2015 8:00pm-12:01am EST
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>> officials from the state an energy department where i capitol hill today to testify on the nuclear deal with iran. the hearing held by the senate foreign relations committee focused on october 2015 testing of two ballistic missile by iran and the u.s. ability to enforce keeper visions of the agreement. this is two and half hour. >> would like to thank our witnesses for being here. we know senators that are here at the moment, others will be
joining. this hearing is the first public meeting the committee has held as we began overseeing the implementation of the iran deal. i would like to underscore the importance that we play some oversight efforts. in many ways i think that is the strongest element of the firebrand review act. we intend to hold another hearing in january after the administration submits the 180 day report, as required by the iran review act. f third, if implementation day occurs. i'm sure there are more to follow after that and we will work with that and we'll work with the ranking members and others to make sure those are scheduled in a timely fashion. as we begin this process, it is worth noting whether or not any of us supported or opposed this agreement, the deal is being implemented at present. i think no matter what anyone's view on the agreement is, or was, we all support the goal of
preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon. one area we agree on is to be top on any destabilize or illegal action. with that view, i think the agreement is off to a terrible start. i know we have talked about this and classified settings said today we will talk about it publicly. since the agreement was signed, iran has has convicted an american washington post reporter, launch cyber attacks against the state department, defied eight you and travel ban, and sent to russia, exported exported weapons to syria and yemen, violated the un ballistic test twice, and and lied to the iaea in an investigation. i realize not all of those issues are covered by the iran agreement, but but they all relate to the relationship with iran. it is very evident that they are taken a very different tack than the administration officials thought would be the case after the agreement was agree to.
anyone here point to any subsequent consequences that iran has space, i'm sure during this hearing that will be a constant theme because we see no evidence of them paying a price for any of these actions. instead of consequences, iran got what it wanted an hour administration supported a resolution at the iaea closing investigation which, i think all of us believe, we thought they would maybe get a d- in their actions. actually it was an ass. i thought our witnesses, i know our witness will say most of these actions fall outside of their jurisdiction including the missile tests. but i do not think we can take a narrow view of this oversight. failure to impose any consequences on iran regarding the violations of the security council sets a very dangerous precedents which we have talked about. before before
implementation of the nuclear agreement when sanctions are lifted and leverage shifts to iran. so we hope you'll talk with us today about how you plan to enforce the agreement when it appears we are paralyzed at present, to act for fear of iran backing away from the agreement. most of us have talked about the leverage shift that will take place and it will be even more difficult for them to be pushed back again. we thank thank you again for being here. i look for to the comments of our distinguished ranking member is certainly your testimony and questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. first, let me just pause for one moment, on behalf of the democratic members of this committee and i think i speak on behalf of all members of the committee, congratulate you on an incredible year as chairman of this committee. the way that you have conducted your leadership on the senate foreign relations committee allowing us to have important
input into very important foreign security issues for the united states. i want to thank you and congratulate you. i want to remind you though, the members of this committee receive a set compensation. it is not based upon the number of committee hearings we have. i think this committee have set an all-time record on the number of hearings and briefings, which i i think was because of the issues. we started with senator menendez relationship and with your leadership, senator keynes, and others and took on a very important responsibility to deal with iran's nuclear ambitions. we also had to deal with russia's activities that were not helpful in ukraine and syria. we dealt with eight state department authorization bill, we dealt with individual bills
and resolutions in a way that was in the best area of the senate committee. i've said many times, your timely consideration of nominations, we have had so many and actions in this committee that was in against the best tradition of the senate and a nonpartisan manner, thank you very much for that. i can tell members of this committee and senator menendez will agree, the working relationship among the staff, majority and minority cannot be better. fortunately this is our last hearing, i hope. [laughter] so, on to today's hearing. the responsibility goes well beyond the actions we took in regards to after the agreement
was agree to. we have an oversight function and today's hearing is the first of the oversight function of the senate foreign relations committee. as you indicate, we will be having a series of opportunities during the course of next year as it relates to this agreement. we all share the common objective to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. together we want to work to make sure iran does not obtain nuclear weapon capacity. we want to see how we can work in that regard. the pmd possible military convention was certainly disappointing, i do not not think anyone here is the price. when it pointed out was iran sheets and they cheats. i think it verifies the point that is a go forward we need to
make sure there is zero tolerance from any deviation from iran's obligation under the jcp la. i think that think that is the lesson that is learned. i also want to point out that we have to be able, the review act points to this, consider it the other activities that iran is going to participate outside of the four corners of the jcp oa. their support for terrorism, their human rights violation, their ballistic missile ambitions and test. let me first mention, jason and his unlawful detention. over 500 days he has been held in captivity. we need to make sure we do not lose sight of that gross violation of that individual's rights and iran's other activities that violate the human rights. not only of its
citizens, but citizens of other countries. yesterday in a commission we held a hearing and pointed out that the incarceration of journalists is a way that you try to prevent a country from dealing with the rights of its citizens. i think this is a particular case that i hope you will always keep in mind, this person is unlawfully detained, he is an american citizen, we have to use every tool available to bring him home safely. the ballistic missile tests that the chairman referred to, not one, but two now confirmed on october 10 and november 20 first. in clear violation of the united nations security resolution 1929. do we expect the security council to take action? they should. but we understand russia, understand russia, we understand china, we understand the politics. we also know about u.s. leadership and what the unita states must do. for zero tolerance of violations. it is not only up to u.s. actions but we have a coalition
we hope, with europe. they will be watching very closely what the united states does in response to these violations, as well as our influence on our european allies to make it clear to iran that we will not tolerate any violations of their international obligations. i look forward to this earring and i look for to working with you at all members of this committee and a common objective to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. >> thank you. in light of what you said earlier i want to thank you and your staff for the way that you have made sure that we have had bipartisan efforts throughout the year. i want to thank senator menendez for the tone that he set before
that, and thank all of the committee members were putting our national security interest in our foreign policy first. calling the other issues of this agreement to go by the wayside, so it has been an outstanding year. i want to apologize to the prm's, we are talking about this morning in our office, and our office, both of us have staff to cover a wide range of issues. you cover all of the issues. i think we have about hit the wall this year as far as the kind of things that people, and the demand that people have. i want to thank everybody. we did have a number of issues that needed to be addressed. i think the committee together address those in a good way. thank you. i hope we'll get additional non- amenities and firms before the end of this week. with that, our first witness is the honorable stephen, core data for the iran nuclear
implementation at the u.s. department of state. the second witness today, the honorable thomas am, assistant secretary of state for the bureau of international security. the third witness, lieutenant general frank, your retired u.s. air force and at the department of energy. we want to thank you all for being here. i think you understand that we would like for you to summarize in about five minutes without objection, your written testimony will be entered into the record. with that, if you would go in order in the order that i introduced you. i would appreciate it. we thank you for changing travel plans to be with us today. thank you. >> thank you very much chairman corker and ranking member, and all members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to provide an update on how we are doing with implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action, or the jcp oa. i have served as a crew member of the foreign service for almost 34 years.
shortly after the jcp oa was concluded in july, secretary carey asked me to return to washington for my last post as investor a pole and for implementing the deal. in this job, i am leading a terrific team of colleagues. in the state department as well as the permit of energy, treasury, commerce, and other parts of the government to make sure the jcp oa is fully implemented to enhance the security of our country and our friends, and allies allies around the world. i'm pleased that to my colleagues are here with me today. i'm especially honored to meet with this committee which has been a valuable partner in shaping our iran policy over many decades. with bipartisan support, are common strategic objective as you have mention of preventing a nuclear iran. as you mentioned, our government has numerous and serious
concerns about iran's policy in the region which are unrelated to the nuclear deal. we continue to raise concerns about the americans, about iran's support to terrorism, test of to israel, and its human rights abuses. my job is solely focused on the critical task of making sure the jcp oa achieves its one crucial objective, preventing preventing iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. fully implemented, the the jcp oa will dramatically scale back iran's nuclear program and provide monitoring and verification tools to ensure it is exclusively peaceful as it moves forward. we are making progress towards this objective. october 18, marked adoption day under the jcp oa when the deal formally came into effect. on this day, all participants participants began making necessary arrangements for the implementation of their jcp oa commitments. that included iran's forming the
iaea that it would provisionally apply additional protocol and fully implemented 3.1 which provides earlier declaration of nuclear facilities and granting access to iran's entire nuclear program from cradle to grave. these are two important mechanisms which will enter the international community has much greater insight into a iran's nuclear program then it has had before. the p5 plus one and iran have issued an official document outline the plan for redesigning the heavy water research reactor so that it will no longer be able to produce weapons grade plutonium. the european union has taken actions to live nuclear related sanctions upon reaching, and
only upon reaching implementation day when all of these commitments will be met. implementation date is the next major milestone in the jcp oa and it will occur after the iaea verifies that iran has completed all of the nuclear steps we specified in the agreement. these are the technical steps that will quadruple iran's breakout time to at least one year from the current estimate of less than 90 days. at that time, iran will receive relief from the u.s. and others for nuclear related sanctions. the time is within iran's control, however iran will receive no sanctions relief under the jcp oa until it has verifiably met all of its nuclear commitments. since adoption adoption day, iran has been making tangible progress to meet reach those commitments. for for example, iran has begun dismantling their iranian by removing 5000 centrifuges and transferring transferred them for storage under continuous iaea surveillance. it has begun to move quickly
now, to remove the remaining 8000 in the coming days. they are reducing their stockpile of various forms of enriched uranium to no more than 300 kilograms of up to 3.67% enriched material. it will accomplish accomplish this by shipping a significant amount of material outside of iran while diluting the remaining access to the level of the natural, or below. commercial contracts are in place to ship stockpiles to russia. we expect this material, about 25000 pounds of enriched up to 20% uranium will leave iran in the coming weeks. this step alone will significantly lengthen iran's breakout time. as i briefed the committee before, iran iran must also remove and render inoperable, the existing core of the reactor by filling it with concrete before implementation day can occur. these actions will effectively
cut off iran's ability to produce weapons grade plutonium. iran and the p5 plus one are continuing work to advance the redesign and reconstruction of the reactor so that it can no longer produce weapons grade plutonium. the p5 plus one set up a working group to facilitate the project which will begin to meet soon after the new year. regarding the military dimension, and issued all of us have been focused, on october on october 15 the iaea announced iran fulfilled its commitment under the roadmap clarification of past and present outstanding issues. as agreed to with the iaea. on december 2, the iaea director general release the final assessment of past and present outstanding issues regarding iran's nuclear program. the report confirmed and cooperated what we have long known, that iran has a structured nuclear nuclear
weapons program up until 2003 but there are no indications that program is continuing today. this assessment gives us further confidence that the iaea will perform its duties related to the jcp oa vigorously, and and honestly. just this week, on december 15, the iaea board of governors of the special session adopted a consensus resolution addressing that report. the resolution summoned by the p5 plus one term focus of confirming what we knew about iran's past activity to fully implementing the jcp oa. this gives the iaea better tools for detecting weapons related activities in the future. we continue to work closely with the iaea as it makes preparations of the jcp oa's monitoring and verification provisions of iran's nuclear program. the iaea will have monitoring of
the key declared nuclear facilities which includes uranium mills, centrifuge production facilities. these measures specific to the jcp oa will give us increase confidence iran is not diverting material or equipment to another program. we said this deals not based on trust but rather intense verification of iran's program. that is why we are working so closely with the iaea to make sure it has everything it needs to do the job. meanwhile meanwhile we continue to engage with our international partners on other matters. the u.s. experts continue to meet with our p5 plus one partners and others including the eu and iran to set up a procurement channel. the mechanism which we will review and approve, or disapprove transfers of nuclear supply group control items to iran's nuclear non- nuclear items. as well as other items we think is inconsistent with the
program. in. in sanctions, we continue to work within the u.s. government along with the eu and others to make necessary arrangements to lift the nuclear sanctions once the iaea confirms iran has completed its commitment and we reach implementation day. full implementation is in our interest, our partner's interest as well. it will place iran's nuclear program under president verification and monitoring regime. fully implemented it will give us an international community, the tools necessary to ensure that the nuclear program is peaceful, it will make us, israel, all golf israel, golf partners in the whole world safer. i'm at your disposal 24 seven, seven, every day the week as we go forward in this field. senators, i look forward to being in engagements with you. we value your guidance. >> thank you for that testimony.
if we could, do a little less wholesome for the remaining witnesses, they'll be great. thank you so much for that. >> thank you mr. chairman and senator cardin and other members for this opportunity. you have my written statement so i will be less wholesome. for decades, my bureau, isn and its predecessors have had it a central assignment taking every opportunity to analyze, impede, and and frustrate the development by iran technology-related to nuclear energy into ballistic missiles and other technologies. we did that job before there were negotiations with iran on its nuclear program, we did it throughout the negotiations, and we do it today, with the same tenacity and creativity, and partnership with dozens of dedicated agencies across the federal government. we will keep doing it. since the negotiation of the jcp
oa we have devoted our chief resources and support of the ambassador's admission to to achieve full implementation of the jcp oa. in particular, we work hard unsupported cooperation with the international atomic energy agency, agency, as well as in creation with a procurement channel that can meet the limited, legitimate nuclear needs that iran may have under the jcp oa. it in no way diminishes, as as i said the task of counter proliferation, of preventing acquisition of technology. i look forward to addressing any concerns or questions you have about these two central roles in my bureau. or any other topic. thank you thank you again for this opportunity. >> thank you very much. >> thank you chairman corker, ranking member, and ranking
members of the committee. it is a great honor to testify before this committee and to have the opportunity to discuss the role of the department of energy and the national nuclear security administration play, and will continue to play in support of the u.s. government's actions to implement the jcp oa. as my colleagues from the state department have already stated, the jcp oa ensures that iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. it provides unprecedented verification measures, it constrains iran's nuclear program and a manner that gives us ample time to respond if iran chooses to violate its terms and it takes, of our options off the table. as we move toward, and beyond implementation day, the scientific, engineering and technical expertise within the department of energy, including our national laboratories will be called upon to help ensure iran complies with all of the
nuclear related measures of the jcp oa. the department of state is leading the efforts to oversee implementation of the jcp oa. doe will continue to play an indispensable role in this process by providing scientific engineering and technical support, and analysis tool for policymakers and making sound decisions and judgments. allow me to provide a few brief examples of the kinds of unique expertise and skill the doe brings to the table. the secretary of energy has testified that the jcp away blocks all of iran's pathways to building a nuclear weapon including the production of weapons grade plutonium. to this end, as the ambassador pointed out, it requires iran to redesign and rebuild the reactor effectively eliminating a potential source of weapons grade plutonium. the jcp oa further requires the redesign of the reactor be approved by the joint
commission. for the united states, the expertise for assessing the technical aspects of the redesign including fuel and safety standards, and ensuring it implies with nonproliferation of the jcp oia resides within the department of energy and its laboratories. the jcp oa establishes process for review and approval for procurement of specified nuclear items. this process process will be conducted as ambassador said to a procurement working group. the office of nonproliferation and arms control has a unique expertise and a long history in working with domestic agencies and international organizations such as the nuclear suppliers group on matters related to the export of nuclear related and dual use technology and materials. they will play an important role
in advising the department of state which will coordinate with the u.s. government's efforts regarding the working group. finally, the international atomic energy, the iaea will play a role in verifying the nuclear related measures so the jcp oa, the department of energy worked very closely together with that iaea including providing training, developing technology, providing experts to the organization. by the way we have just published this brochure which lays out our support of that. if the committee likes i'd be happy to submit it for the record. it is it is also available on our website. in conclusion, the jcp oa is not built on trust, it is built on hard-nosed requirements that will limit iran's activities and ensure access, transparency, verification. the transparency, and verification. the department of energy takes seriously its participation and
efforts to lament the jcp oa and help ensure iran carries out its commitments under the deal, including participating in the administrations implementation efforts in supporting the iaea. again, thank you for the opportunity to be here. i look for to fielding questions you may have. >> thank you for the testimony, without objection we'll enter without objection will enter into the record the document you just refer to. ambassador moll, we first of all, you have a winning personality and we all like you, you have been very energetic in your meetings with us. at the same time, we have not verified the u.s. government has not verified the second missile launch, to my knowledge. is that correct? >> sir, we are aware of the reports of that launch area we are analyzing those reports. >> so we have not formally stated that it occurred? >> the u.s. government has not. >> you came before us, just want to make sure as we go forward that we are clear with each other, you came to our committee
on december second, the launch took place on the 20 first, no mention was made of that in this classified briefing. i'm just curious as to why that did not occur? >> senator, i had not seen any of those reports at our last meeting on december 2. i was not. >> so you are on aware of it happening? >> on december 2 i had not seen any reports. >> did you have an idea something had occurred? >> you had no knowledge of it whatsoever? >> i had heard that someone said there may have been a launch, it was and i'll confirm source. i've not seen reports of that though. >> if you would though, against we can maintain an appropriate relationship, even things like that would be useful especially in the kind of setting we had which is very casual. we like to know those kind of things in real time. >> okay. >> iran is obviously conducting
work on long-range ballistic missiles. i know this is again outside of the view, the only use for those in history, up up until this point in time, is to put a nuclear tip on those. is that correct? >> -- i think intercontinental up until this point in time had only been used to deliver nuclear weapons, is that correct? >> mr. chairman i'm trying on my experience as an air force missile officer, long range intercontinental ballistic missiles to my knowledge have only been used for delivering nuclear, or being capable of delivering nuclear weapons. short arrange systems have been used by a variety of countries to to be used as conventional
means. >> as we understand this is the case, that this is the only purpose, we know that they are doing that now. what does the administration drawing from that activity? >> i think the administration as you mentioned in our meeting with the committee last week, we have strongly condemned the violation of un security council resolution which legally forbids the missile program for going for. in fact, the united states was the leader in mobilizing un security council resolution. >> but i'm really talking about -- since history has said we're pretty sophisticated country or cells, the only develop those for the delivery of nuclear weapons. they are continuing to do that now in violation of un security council violation. we have taken no issue that it's
a side issue and it's very important and i'm sure many will focus on that. what does the administration draw from the fact that their testing missiles that throughout history have only been used to deliver nuclear weapons while quote, dismantling the intake centrifuges that they are dismantling now. >> senator, one of the reasons we pursued the jcp oa is that iran has in fact, repeatedly violated security counsel violations on the program. so iran is going to develop that program regardless of the consequences. an important part to remove that threat, if iran is going to continue to develop that program, let's program, let's make sure it does not have the capability to put a nuclear payload in such missiles. by reducing the amount of enriched nuclear material available to iran's nuclear program by 90%, iran now has, within 90 days it could amass enough material to produce a
nuclear weapon. following implementation of the steel, will take more than year. the missiles may continue to fly but we have made it a lot harder to put a nuclear payload on that. >> understand that. can you share with me why, and he thought the ministration has over this 180-degree inconsistency. where they are continuing to develop the ability to deliver nuclear weapons, that is the only purpose in history that these long-range ballistic missiles have been used. what is the the thinking aside iran, from your perspective? >> first of all, the missile launch that took place the most recent one was an immediate range. it was not a nice epm. the thinking that we apply to this is that we need to make it as hard as possible. >> i am not asking about your thinking and please don't read those paragraphs to me anymore. i'm asking you what the administration things iran is
doing when this is totally inconsistent with rational thinking? >> i'm not in the position to characterize what the iranian government is thinking. we are focused on making sure they cannot develop a nuclear weapons capability. >> let me ask another question. senator menendez really press secretary kerry when he was here, many is bus since that time. relative to whether the launch of these ballistic missiles, as defined, will be in violation of the new agreement that is being implemented now. it was in violation of 1929. we have. we have done nothing about that which is unfortunate. but there is some really cute language that we discussed while we're trying to discuss what the agreement really said. secretary carey was adamant that they cannot continue to test missiles even after this agreement was put into place. there's some weird language that
this refers to, says they are called upon. out of curiosity, after the implementation, if they launch these type of missiles, is it, or is it not in violation of the agreement? >> it is not in violation of the jcp oa. it is in violation of national security violation. >> so the called upon language from your perspective, makes it clear that going forward it will continue to be a violation. >> the language it would violate that part of the un security council resolution. but that security council resolution contains legal prohibitions on any international support for iran's nuclear weapons program. any exception to provide materials or other resources to iran's missile program is forbidden by un security council resolution two to three one, exceptions exceptions can be
sought. united states will veto any vetoes. >> i'm going to reserve the remainder of my time. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you all for your testimony. i like to follow up a bit on what the chairman line of questioning, from what i could see. before i do so, i want to echo senators comments about the chairman's process of leading the committee. i do appreciate probably the most bipartisan community of the united states senate. it speaks about the fact that we need to be as bipartisan as we can. >> the fact that i was ranking when your chair and you have no idea how much i appreciate the way that you dealt with me and your staff. the respect, just know that when someone like you his chair says that kind of example, it really
calls those who come behind you to want to do the same. thank you. >> thank you. i hope to do so again. will there has to be a point of convergent. at any point. i have a very clear sense, and i hope i am wrong, that what we have here is a permissive environment. we have a set of circumstances where regardless of what you saw of the pnd issue, we for the longest. of time pushed to get a real sense of what was the breath and scope of how far iran got in development of its efforts for a nuclear weapon. for the longest period of time the government of the united states said we needed to know that. what we got really, was a
process in and the jcp oa that gave iran the easy out by just simply answering questions ads they wanted without fully coming clean. now, the administration consistently came before this committee and said that if we move aside from the nuclear portfolio that we would aggressively pursue iran's violation of international order, missile technology, weapons trafficking, human rights, and its interests in the region. so, what we have seen sense, we have seen not one, but two missile tests. we have seen an introduction of arm shipments and when i don't
think we can accept the security council to do about it. so the question is, is the administration ready to act and flied its own set of actions so that iran understands the consequences for violating the international order, and setting the tone so that when the full implementation of the jcp oa takes place that will have a very clear understanding by then, that failure to comply fully will have consequences. >> senator, i stress we fully can occur with you and the rest of this committee, that iran has violated the security council resolutions and does commit many
of the things that are very hostile to our interest. >> so what are we going to do about it? >> well, iran is one of the most sanctioned countries on earth. thanks to an effective partnership that we have had with this committee over to presidential administrations of putting together a patchwork of sanction regime that has exacted serious cause to the iranian economy. we believe going forward, as we confirm these missile launches, we have been swift in condemning them as we did in the security council and measures that we will take in response to those confirmed missile launchers, we are actively considering additional measures at this moment. >> if you say to me a basket or, they are the most sanctioned, it almost implied that there is nothing else we can do. if that's the case then we are in deep trouble. >> but those sanctions will be coming up assuming implementation. so the bottom line, and i see
you shaking your head no, but but as far as i understand those sanctions are going to be coming off upon implementation. >> sir, the nuclear related sanctions. >> goats what i'm talking about. >> those will come off when iran has rid itself of 98% of its enriched iranian. >> so it would no longer exists, and if you say they are the mustangs and country the world, i assume that you're referring to their nonnuclear sections. so what is left to do? basically let iran violate without consequence. >> senator, i would underscore that very important part of the agreement that we negotiated with iran was a snapback provision. that allows the imposition of sanctions for any violation of the agreement. the united states is not bound by any. >> but these aren't non- nuclear
actions. let's put the nuclear portfolio side. if iran continues to violate non- nuclear actions that are in violation of the un security council resolution, in violation violation of what secretary carey said before the committee, that we will aggressively pursue iran on violations that take place for missile technology, human rights, arms trafficking, then, what is left? >> we will use the considerable full authorities that we have to take action. i can asked my colleague who oversees those authorities in pursuing our nonproliferation interests. >> specifically with regard to ballistic missile technology, we rely on two related concepts. one of sanctions, what a strategic tray control. it is
correct that we sanctioned virtually every iranian entity that is connected with the ballistic missile program so that they cannot do commerce with the u.s. or acquire u.s. technology legally or use the u.s. financial system. we have used such such sanctions and exclamations against commercial entities and other countries that have traded with the iranian ballistic missile program. those sanctions remain in effect, we maintain the authority to a impose those sanctions even after the nuclear related sanctions are lifted. we retain, as the previous administration, and i think the next administration the determination to do so. strategic tray controls are different, they allow us through the missile technology controlled regime, through the proliferation security initiative, in support of the un security council resolution to partner with dozens of nations around the world in order, as i
said to interrupt, delay, impede, and every and every way possible the transfer of such technology. we have not, and we cannot entirely stop that trade. but, we believe our efforts, which which will continue after nuclear related sanctions are lifted, have made the iranian missile program less productive, less accurate, less of a threat to our friends in the regent than it otherwise would have been. >> let me close by say mr. chairman, number one i'm going to be looking forward to see what actions you take. so far, they have not been forthcoming. number two, you talk about snapback, you have to step back to something and the iran sanction act that we all helped with and passed unanimously expired this coming year. i'm going to seek its reauthorization because you have to snapback to something. number three, i've been following iran says my day in the house of representatives for
the other part of 20 years. i know some of my colleagues think this is a question internally with iran showing the hardliners have some skills and strength by firing missile technology and testing it, i know that iran, over the last two decades have tested the will of the international community. that is why they got to the point where they are on the verge of having the nuclear power that could be converted to nuclear weapons. basically, we said it is too big to roll back. so, at the end of the day if we allow them to continue to test those, they have a history. they have tested us and the world. if we allow them to continue to test without consequence, believe me they will continue to expand. that is the risk here. that is that is what i hope we can come together on, not only on understanding but action. >> just a follow-up, i'm getting a strong sense that the reason we are doing nothing and
creating a permissive environment, which i think is going to be problematic over the long term, i think we are doing that because we are trying to affect the internal elections that are taking place this spring. that is just not in keeping with the integrity of this agreement. i can understand the desire by some to do that, i know that is why they are dismantling so quickly so that sanctions will be relieved before the election. i get the sense that you and others are complicit in trying to affect their internal actions and that is why we are not taking action. what i'm saying you and others i'm talking about are un and bathroom talk about the administration.
>> sorry, i just called you johnny. excuse me. >> let me echo what senator cardin said, we appreciate very much what you had done. i want to say something before the whole committee. yesterday yesterday afternoon the 43 surviving hostages from the american embassy in iran and that we passed compensation to them that they will take up later this week, the emotional relief of those 43 surviving hostages that are deal is not expressible in terms of words. i want the chairman, the ranking member in every member to know that you did a great deal of work to help us over a seven-year period of time make that a reality. you have made the lives of people who were tortured, beaten, and held captive by the iranians at least get closer on that terrible part of their life. i want to thank everybody for
making it possible. i hope all 43 above know that it's because of your persistence and leadership that is why this is happening. we all get frustrated on the impact that were able to have with the body but there's no impact that you had incredible impact on these 43 citizen. >> think it was a great team team effort. it really is a template for my comments. in 1981 when president carter obtained the release of those americans from the iranian hostage in the embassy, to get them released by the rainy is he had to negotiate away for their ability to be compensated for their ordeal. that was the way iranians negotiated the ideal. we finally got some money which was compensating those hostages from, the iranians never want to accept responsibility or culpability for any crime they perpetrate against the american people, but until now.
i worry and as senator menendez have said that if we are passive about the jcp oa enforcement and just look the other way, the iranians will look the other way into whatever they want. by way of way of example, and i'm quoting here, the iranian regime has declared any type of sanction at any level, or end any precept or breach of the deal that would release iran from the obligation it has. in other words if we reach implementation day and the sanctions have been waived, we take any action in the snap back which is the enforcement mechanism the iranians will call the snapback of violation of the agreement they will be able to do what they want. am i missing something? >> sir, we believe this steals a political commitment by all sides. the united states have been very firm both in the negotiations as well as publicly and explaining the deal since then, that any
violation of that agreement will draw consequences. we have a wide range of consequences from complete, re- imposing some of the sanctions partially to reimposing all of them and walking away from the deal. a number of the factors in the steel are close to irreversible. if iraq us hard as it says it will in the next few weeks to disable the reactor core of the heavy water reactor : that it would swift action will remove iran's ability to produce a weapons grade plutonium for the foreseeable future. that is a huge win for our interests and those of our friends in the region. iran decides to walk back, they will have, for for iran and unprecedented inspection regime. there will be 130-150 iaea
inspectors of a full-time, 24/seven access to the nuclear facilities. we will be able to determine if they're in compliance or not. if they're not, there will be consequences. >> on that point, it seemed like to me that once senator menendez would want to do is probably the proper thing for congress to do. that is if we move reach implementation day and the sanction regimen goes away, shouldn't we have in place, before that date, what sessions will snap back to it if in fact there is a violation? >> sir, we have in place and will have in place on implementation day and far beyond implementation day, a comprehensive network of sanctions authorities to bow through the legislation that congress has passed as well as a complex executive orders which has the ability to impose sanctions on iran swiftly should
not be required. we believe that we have the tools in order to do that. >> general, can i ask a question please? the iranians are going to be sending 25000 pounds of nuclear enrichment material to russia as part of the agreement? >> yes. >> if my math is right that's a number of times of nuclear richmond material. our research in this kitty of that material in russia will be watched after and will we have any ability to monitor to how they take care of that material? >> senator, we were very closely with russia over decades to enhance cooperatively their security and safeguard of their nuclear sites. also, many of the sites in russia are subject to ie ea safeguards in the way many other sites are. i think on this one, the
impression that we get is this as i move the russians are taking very seriously, very professionally, they know how to move nuclear material. they know how to store it and counted. >> the reason i asked the question is, and and i think i'm correct here, there was a significant breach and the integrity of some of that material and russia are number of years ago which brought about the creation of non- lugar threat that took place in the old soviet union. that had let some of that stuff get loose and not accounted for. we want to make sure we never revisit that chapter in history if they're giving that much nuclear material going in russia now. >> i cannot agree more. let me just add that the non- lugar threat that were taken immediately after the fall of the berlin wall and the dissolution of the soviet union was probably one of the most singular achievements and the
u.s. national security that i have the opportunity to participate inches we we were quite concerned in those early days about security and safety at nuclear facilities and rushers, both civil and nuclear and it is because the work of senators non-, lugar, and a bunch of patriotic americans would make countless trips there working with russian counterparts that it is better than it was before. there's still work to be done. in my opinion and the opinion of the nsa in the doe, and under the current political circumstances it has been very difficult to get the russians interested in pushing forward. we will continue to look for opportunities to do that. >> thank you very much. thank you for your service. >> thank you mr. chairman and to the witnesses. i strongly support the stealing continue to. i strongly support tough enforcement of the deal, it's very glad to join senator
corrigan and others in the letter to the president following the october missile test. i'm gratified the un reported the test was so clear that it was a violation of the security council resolution. the reason among many supported the deal was the u.s. has to try diplomacy first. we started a war in 2003 over nuclear program that turned out not to exist. we need to try diplomacy first. we need to keep the military action on the table but that has strengthened legally, strategically, in terms of coalition partners, even in terms of the intel we get if we get forward on this deal. so we keep that option on the table. we need to try diplomacy first. the good thing about trying diplomacy is that is that we are now in a hearing like this. we're keeping the focus on iranian behavior.
that's where the focus should be. iranian behavior. if we walked way from the deal, the focus, the focus would have been on american negotiation tactics. why would america take a deal that the international community, that would've been the focus. now the focus is on iranian behavior, we need to focus on iranian behavior what the consequences should be. i was gratified, i think senator senator corker said that we are kind of asked acting the iaea report to be a little bit of a fudge factor. but they were very clear, iran had a nuclear program. we are gratified with the clarity because it kept the focus on iranian behavior. i am gratified by the un panel conclusion that has been reported on in the last couple of days about the october test. clearly, this was a test and it was a test in test in violation of un security council resolution. i expect we'll have a lot of these hearings, i i hope the focus is always primarily on what is iranian behavior. that lays a predicate for all kinds of actions that need to be
late globally. i do think the chairs question about what is going on in iran, we should all be humble about psychologies in any situation. i think it's fair to say that were not monolithic, a lot of what is going on in iran is a non- monolithic dispute within that political society and about broader issues of whether they want to be integrated into a global economy or want to be an outlier. when you see the way the steel has been treated by the iranian legislator and the degree to which hardliners hate it, print to kill those involved in negotiating with it, i think you see some of the challenges that are underway there. i think what we need to do is we need to have these hearings every time there's activity. we need to keep the spotlight on, and we do need the demand of the administration, and
is exactly what we ought to be doing, and when senator menendez asked the question, that we are thinking about doing stuff isn't a good enough answer. we arewe are a few days out from the un. there has to be consequences we don't want our actions to undermine legitimate political opposition. i am interested in this question and i was not able to ask ambassador power this the other day. the un is now definitively concluded the panel that analyzed this, the activity in october was a violation of the un security council resolution.
we have reason to believe russia and china will probably not go along with this. i hope our attitude on things like this isn't comeau well, russia and china will probably veto it so we shouldn't do anything. i hope we get our colleagues to put a resolution on the table in the light of day back to buy a clear un security council report and asked them to take action and make russia and china be an apologist for something that is clearly a violation. i hope we do that every time and think of other steps that we can take, but let's not give up any lever at our disposal to keep the spotlight on iranian misbehavior violation of rules. with respect to the situation about the october missile firing will we have got a great report that definitively establishes this was a violation. what is the strategy about
how we pursue that, and let's make russia and china use their veto power and use of publicly. walk us through the steps that you are thinking about right now. >> senator, i am proud to say that our colleague has been the leader on the security council and drawing the security council's attention to this issue and then this week when the report came back from the panel of experts. she was forthright urging the security council to take action and calling out those who would reject sex action as being inconsistent with common objectives to keep this serious threat to international security under control. i mentioned in terms of responses we are now actively considering the appropriate consequences to that launch in october. in terms of moving forward.
>> i will have to get you an answer on exactly how this will play out in new york. we have not hesitated previously task for resolutions, even when we knew that they would be vetoed if it was valuable for making a point, as you have suggested there is obviously much broader dynamics at play in the un security council, and i just can't speak for amb. power on what the next steps are. >> can ii just say, let me tell you what i hope you will do. many people appear will feel the same. we ought to make the point every time we can. if we are sure there going to veto we should still make the peemack. when itpoint. when it comes to iranian behavior we should never say someone else is going to veto so why bother. here is another question i was confusedi was confused about.
senator menendez was asking questions about the ballistic missile, the un security council resolution versus the jcp away and ballistic missile. there is an article in the guardian from the 15th of december about the experts report about the ballistic missile test by the un security council resolution. it says most sanctions will be lifted when its provisions are implemented, but the experts report noted that ballistic missile launches would be covered under the 20 july resolution the experts in concluding that there was a firing that it was in violation of the un security council resolution are saying it is covered under the july 20 resolution. they are saying it is covered by the july 20 resolution which is embracing the jcp away.
i'm going to ask that question for the record because we should all have a clear understanding of that. i hope soon you will be able to come back. >> am happy to answer. the jcp away does not address iran's ballistic missile program. un security council resolution 2231 the purpose of which was to endorse and give the security council blessing as well as address some other elements preventing trade and otherwise support the iranian ballistic missile program.
it was about jcp away and these other issues. >> thank you. >> i would say that regardless of where the un security council takes action or not which we all no they are not comeau we still have just like we have would north korea recently the ability of the administration today to implement unilateral sanctions in a surgical way as you are describing. hopefully that will happen after the un security council does not take action. >> he has served as the ranking member of the east asia subcommittee, said he is pull double duty. thank you for your bipartisanship and leadership. wanted to ask a question. her my me what the jcp away states about the
25,000 pounds of enriched material. will there be iaea inspections anytime anywhere inspections as the word or phrase was used by the united states? >> thank you, senator. what iran is required to do is to reduce stock of enriched uranium down to 300 kif uranium that has been enriched. >> assuming they do that 25,000 pounds, will there be inspection? >> there will still be iaea inspections under the safeguard regime and the additional protocol and it ran.ran. and russia, the 25,000 pounds to verify. >> i'm happy to take that question. we are in the midst of this active period for us right now, negotiating the removal
of that material. it is still in a ran. i believe it's departure is imminent. however, we are working closely with russia to make sure that that material will be removed and stored wherever it ends up. >> what is the inspection requirement? >> we are in the process of discussing that. >> we don't have a plan in place? >> we would certainly not be comfortable releasing that amount of nuclear material anywhere without appropriate safeguards. we are pursuing -- >> can you share the planet with the committee? >> in the midst of negotiating. >> so you don't have a plana plan in place right now. >> we are negotiating the terms of how. >> yes or no? you have a plan in place once it is in russia?
>> we are strongly condemned the ballistic missile launches, swiftly condemned iran for the ballistic missile launch and raise concerns about iran's ballistic missile launch. in your response you stated in response to the ballistic missile test one of the reasons we pursued this jcp away his iran has repeatedly violated security regulations on the program and then you stated iran is going to develop the program >> you stated iran will violate the ballistic to come ballistic missile provision resolution regardless of consequences.
>> well, as i mentioned earlier we had substantial sanctions in place of practically every entity involved. >> if you knew do you believe it is appropriate that they have access to billions of dollars once the implementation arrives on the sanctions are lifted freeing the economy of the sanctions that prevented those dollars? >> correcting the record, i said that they have continued to develop. >> official record. again, the unofficial playback. iran playback. iran will develop the program regardless. >> iran has. regardless of the consequences. we are considering active measures, active consequences for this latest launch and will share those with the committee as soon
as we make a decision. >> in your testimony city continue to use unilateral sanctions what unilateral authorities to impose sanctions has the united states use after the last two ballistic missile tests last two months? >> executive order, there was another one. every iranian entity connected to the missile program has been sanctioned. we are actively considering what steps to take in response to the october 10 test.
i don't understand the argument about a permissive environment.a permissive environment. the obama administration is doing the same thing the bush administration did, to respond to every violation of ballistic missile room resolutions of human rights, , terrorism, hostagetaking with the legal authorities congress is given us. hurt those taking that action. in the united nations and in other bodies, that is what we do.do. we do it aggressively. we have been doing it for 15 years, and i have not heard an idea for doing something different that goes beyond the legal authorities we have in the diplomatic capabilities. >> perhaps one idea would be to prevent iran from receiving the billions of dollars that they were going to receive which could then go into continual ballistic
missile program that will continue regardless of consequences. >> and that violation would lead to a resumption. >> again, someone used -- this permissive environment we have created which big knowledge iran will continual program we referred the violations to the committee, talked about it unless charlie reprimanded all wagged her finger and it has done nothing to protect the american people. this committee has done an incredible job of making sure we understand the facts. we have not taken steps necessary.
>> clearly identifying this is a violation of a un resolution. preventing the ballistic missile technology. >> i think the chairman. >> isn't it correct that the un experts is just a few days old? >> correct. >> we will continue to call on the security council to address this matter and shine a spotlight on stabilizing activities and increase the cost of behavior.
will you act? >> it is certainly my intent. >> it was the mandate of my bureau to push for such action. >> i think the focus that all of us as members of the foreign relations committee have on this issue is important because at a time when our country, constituents are focused on other things whether it's isys or terrorism or refugees insist on a relentless implementation and enforcement of the jcp away and the continued and aggressive enforcement of the sanctions against other inappropriate illicit activities whether support for terrorism, human rights
violation would ballistic missile program. my willingness to support was rooted in a clear eyed commitment to holding this administration in the next accountable for active enforcement of the jcp away and frankly was rooted in a deep suspicion of iran's intentions which ii think have been amply confirmed by the iaea pmd report. i do commend the administration for its active outreach and for our recent successful high season addiction a weapon shipment from iran to support the hutu rebels. we need to continue to work together. relentlessly enforceable we got in terms of us unilateral and multilateral ability to constrain iran's actions that take that is a
clear signal we have taken our eyes off the ball. so let me 1st if i could many members will call for this will for know. what is the administration's opinion on the renewal? you have reason to consider the united states would be breaking its commitments? >> certainly as i mentioned earlier the administration thinks as a result developed an incredibly powerful toolkit that threatened our
critical interest. the iran sanctions act has been an important part of that. in full force to the end of 2016. the administration look forward to working with this committee and considering as we get close to the expiration of that authority whether it makes sense to continue, but it is in place for the next year. we have a good, solid toolkit to use in protecting our interest with iran. >> do you believe iran would argue we have violated the jcp away if we extend it? given these recent actions i think we will have more reason than ever to restrain actions. >> it is difficult for me to predict how iran would respond. i -underscore that as we exercise our sanctions authority we do so to protect our interest, not to
anticipate or overcome any anticipated reactions. >> tireless work. the key piece of this, i ithis, i mentioned the interdiction on the high seas, ship loaded with weapons being is inin violation of international standard. we have to continue and increase our interdiction of weapons flows and capital flows. tell me something about the administration's plan. >> of course interdiction's can refer both to critical technology from nuclear ballistic missile programs and can also refer to the transfer of conventional arms.
interdiction depends crucially upon intelligence. it depends also upon building a framework of confidence with partners in the region, and i think that we have successfully developed such a partnership with key countries in the region that i would be not only willing but down white proud of the closed session to tell you some of the successes that we have had working with friends in the region. it has been a business for over 20 years to make the program more expensive, less successful command we have done that. >> thank you. having been briefed about a number of successful interdictions, my concern is that other colleagues in the general public are not as aware of it. what a sheriff conducts a successful drug most you put
all the drugs and guns and money out on a table for the rest of the community interested, recognize there are costs and consequences and we need to be doing some of that at a bigger and more visible way. given what i understand and be the actions by china and russia and blocking the un security council from condemning the ballistic missile test them are you concerned that we do not have reliable partners in the snapback of sanctions. >> senator, we worked very hard throughout the negotiation and make sure there would be absolutely no stricture on the ability to impose to fully use the sanctions tools at the disposal to respond to the iranian violations of un security council resolutions, challenges to our interest.
in terms of broader international sanctions we also structured a process that when there is a credible report to the joint commission that administers the steel any member of the joint commission can bring such a complaint to the commission and if a limited number refer that to the security council the presumption is that the sanctions will be step back. it will be impossible for any member of the security council to veto a recommendation to reimpose sanctions. >> i understand andi understand and i'm hopeful the mechanism will work as intended.
i expect we will work on a relentless and bipartisan basis to ensure our allies understand that we intend to continue to enforce sanctions against iran's ongoing bad behavior. thank you. >> it would be helpful if something were certain can be given from the administration knewdo us relative to this extension of the iran sanction data. i think the senator is right. they will be efforts to extend. if there are things you need to share with us that would be fine. i don't think this vague response -- and i'm not criticizing you. that is where the administration is, but, but i don't think the vagueness of the thinking is particularly helpful. the maybethere may be things you want to share that we are unaware of is present. >> senator. >> thank you. we have a tough job.a tough job. i think we are very naïve and what we're trying to do, and i look at history.
a couple questions related to the reports coming out. the iaea released a report that basically says iran has lied about their pmd effort. the foreign minister of a rana ran said the islamic republic of iran has never sought nuclear weapons in clear contradiction of the iaea report as i read it, the activity prior to 2003 as late as 2009. given the missile violations that have already been asked about, violating 1929 resolution 2231 the question is about the ninety-day certification that the secretary of state has given congress, and i am going to quote in here, iran is not
taking any action including covert activity that could significantly advances nuclear weapons program. i am not clear on how the secretary can make the certification they have not taken any action when just last year the defense science board concluded in the case of a ran our capabilities detect undeclared facilities were covert operations are either inadequate or more often do not exist. the revelation that our own report in the december ie report basically said they were doing this all the way through 20092009 but there
was a report the us national intelligence estimate back in 07 assess trends nuclear weapon program was halted has not restart the program. given our own intelligent community reservation to assure us both in public and in private about our ability to detect true covert activity. >> thank you for the question. my own sense having worked in and around the intelligence community for decades is that we have good capabilities to my a lot of different tools in the toolkit that can be brought to bear, sometimes it takes time to ferret out all the details and put the pieces
of the jigsaw puzzle together. but ii commend our colleagues in the intelligence community for getting to that particular point. the iaea report that came out earlier in december on possible military dimensions just how detailed it was in terms of its laying out the very nature of iran's program and following up on those issues which had not been resolved at the time. it is very clear, very frank and very candid about what the iranians have done, what they have denied doing that we know that have done and what we know we need to pay attention to. the areas that are laid out in the pmd report weapon
eyes a nuclear weapon, find their way back into the jcp away as the people who negotiated the structured agreement in such a way that we would place limits on those very things that are intelligence community and the iaea have identified as issues. >> second question, ambassador, i would like you to address this,this, the 4th item that was in the certification is that this is the suspension of sanctions pursuant to the agreement is appropriate and proportionate to the verifiable measures but determining its illicit nuclear program. in my to read this to say that we are already certifying after the 1st 90 days that we are in
support? i would like you to clarify this in terms of appropriate and proportionate suspension of sanctions. >> yes. there has been some limited sanctions relief up until now. that was negotiated as part of the joint program of action which was a mechanism by which to build some good negotiating faith to go forward in exchange for iran's cessation of certain enrichment activities and other steps to begin to limit the nuclear program that was later codified the jcp away. the united states did agree to allow the unfreezing of the small percentage of iran's frozen assets. >> can you be more specific? can you quantify what that entails?
>> it amounts to permission for iran to withdraw 700 million of its frozen assets and various institutions around the world. >> thank you again for your testimony. i appreciate your objectivity. i take issue with one comment you made earlier that the administration has done everything it can to protect us interest. i don't want to failed to fail to remember that we have for us citizens being held by this regime. realistically where the security council veto sitting in front of us what can we expect to be the reaction of the united nations and what are we trying to get them to do specifically related to the violations of these two resolutions? >> thank you. on the 1st point i absolutely share your frustration that we can't solve every problem at once.
in negotiations with the soviet union arms control we were never able to settle human rights questions of foreign intervention in the warsaw pact countries or host of other issues. yet those agreements were vital to us national security, and i think without making any kind of prediction laid the groundwork for eventual progress that was made in eastern europe and ultimately the soviet union. i take very well the.that we should force people to be on record. to continue to support with their own expertise the un sanctions committee which we will have a bigger role in identifying and publicizing violations by iran and
violations by companies and merchants outside. that kind of publicity is what we rely upon when we go make the argument to an exporting country or a transshipment company. you have got to do something to stop the shipment of technology. even if there is not a un security council resolution with the sanctions committee has done is valuable to our counter proliferation efforts. >> thank you. >> i want to thank the panel you're workingyou're working overtime to protect the world from a nuclear armed iran. i can think of no higher calling and appreciate what you are doing. i have the privilege of introducing la resign on. we welcome you here today. as we all no jason "washington post" reporter is being held i like to use
as i listened to everyone and it has been so interesting it is important. i here a narrative developing that is painting an administrationand administration that is permissive and one of my colleagues said naïve in terms of iran and i personally believe the facts belie this.this. i believe you do not have to scream every day and pound the table to be strong. i know this president did not scream and pound the table or take a victory lap when he took out osama bin laden. he just did it. and so i justi just don't see the narrative that way. i respect my colleagues views on it and they back it up with a lot of passion. i just don't see it.
samantha powers, and i want to ask you if you think this is off stuff. as we know from our un representative. this past october iran wants to ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, security council resolution 1929 still in force prohibits this kind of lunch. after reviewing theafter reviewing the incident the un own independent panel of experts concluded definitively that it was a violation, instead of them effective timely response the security council dithered. we intendwe intend to keep working. she is speaking for the administration. the councilmembers to respond appropriately councilmembers can cast doubt on the violations.
to say this administration is naïve then there is a letter that was sent by the president to senator cones. i will continue to be a critical element of our policy. countering iran's support for terrorism. i ask unanimous consent that applies both these documents in the record. because we all no that we have sanctions to counter
iranian support for terrorism, human rights abuses, so proliferation was the sale or transfer of weapons and they have not been changed. they still will continue. i just don't like this narrative because i think it sends a bad message to iran. i think our messages we are united on this. we are not divided. maybe we were divided on giving them a chance we are not divided on standing together to enforce those kind of sanctions. i will move on. is there anything in this agreement that would prevent the united states from taking action if the iranians violate our agreement? >> no, absolutely nothing. >> everything is on the table.
>> they are very important. in your testimony you mention the extensive coordination and cooperation between the iaea and the department of energy.energy. with regard to training how would you describe the quality and capability of iaea personnel. >> thank you for the question. the quality professionalism seriousness personnel including those who work at the headquarters and the inspectors to be high. we support the training. in fact every single inspector takes a course on nuclear material management at los alamos national lab in new mexico. other members, other inspectors and members of the staff perceive what you might call continuing assessment education of
monitoring plutonium and other aspects of the fuel cycle and other national laboratories here in the united states. we also provide at the request of the iaea a number of people to support the safeguard staff. there are about 800 people. roughly 10 percent are american citizens. many of them have come to our national lab structures across the united states. we also provide about 15, what we call costs experts to serve on the staff. the other thing we do besides training if i might take just a little more time on this tomorrow national laboratories are developing a lot of the processes and technologies which are part of the process for them carrying out there inspections and continuous
monitoring. i visited just last week and saw some of the work there doing. developing the seals, cameras, monitors that the iaea uses. they have agreed to safeguard agreements are additional protocol. >> i think there are so critical for all of us whether we support of the agreement are not and i would urge you if you see anything that you feel is changing your view we need to know. >> this issue is one that has been felt strongly on both sides of the aisle. as i understand it a strong
letter that went from a large group of democrats yesterday. the concern is that we have known of the violation. we have had multiple -- we met directly with the un security council and we know that russia and china will block. people see this breakneck thing happening where likely at the end of january all the sanctions will be relieved. yet potentially no push back >> i would like to engage in it. i never said it was partisan. there is a disagreement, and it is not part of that. i just disagree with you. you can write a hundred letters.
you can create any scenario. scenario. it is not that it hurts. they probably emboldens a people,, but i just don't agree with that and we can argue all day. >> i'm sorry, but we never got to vote. >> if i may interject, there is i think unanimous support in the united states senate for zero tolerance violations by iran. a hundred percent support to work as hard as we can to prevent iran from becoming a nuclear weapon power. i think there is pride that the engagement of congress has given us a better opportunity to achieve those objectives.
>> my concern and what tipped the balance for me is the concern that our ability or desire to stick to the nuclear side of the agreement may prevent us and challenging or punishing iran on the nonnuclear behavior. and the ballistic weapons thing is fuzzy. only used for nuclear payroll but it is kind of a nonnuclear side. i am concerned that it seems as if we are accepting the
security council is not going to act on this. what remedies do we have outside of that? you can publish and try to work with others who might be participating are supplying for helping them with this program, but what else, what other remedy do we have outside of the security council? >> this should not be taken as any way excusing iranian violation with the missile launched was a medium-range ballistic missile. we do have a general concern about the proliferation of medium-range ballistic missiles by a number of countries in the middle east that is making the region more dangerous but our number one concern and are number one target for action
is the iranian program. now, the authorities that we have comeau we have used aggressively and creatively and we will continue to do so, but they are the authorities that congress is given and that the president has established under executive order in order to designate specific iranian entities and entities outside of her on to impose a genuine economic cost upon the entity and upon the program of development of ballistic missile technology. with the sanctions and designations test companies outside of her on it is a matter of significant commercial harm to those companies and those countries that allow countries to participate in that kind of behavior. that is what we have the authority to do and what we do very aggressively.
already describe what we can do within the united nations wewe reached well beyond the united nations last friday i was in brussels with meetings with all 28 of my counterparts from the european union states where i emphasized again the necessity to stand strong on preventing the shipment of technology and ballistic missiles to iran. those are the authorities we have. i sincerely welcome ideas on how to use them more effectively. >> iran has already said the government has stated over and over it will consider any implementation or going back to the sanctions we have in the books for any behavior of a ran in violation of the agreement. if iran were to take action outside of the nuclear
agreement that we thought to be egregious enough to justify implementing sanctions in particular year yes we will. we are out of our obligation. what is your sense of our willingness to use those levers? >> thank you. the administration has been quite clear publicly that this deal is exclusively about the nuclear question and we will not hesitate to use other authorities to address other threats to our interest outside of the nuclear deal. >> even if it is the same
sanctions we impose on the nuclear side? >> yes. we have a wealth of authorities available to confront all of these threats to our interest whether it is human rights, the missile launches, iran's regional destabilization activities in support for terrorism. we have a wide variety of sanctions the target any number of aspects of iran. >> as i mentioned, i was prepared to vote against the agreement. having said that, this is going forward. i hope it works, ii hope this committee and the congress ensure that it does work. it is important we not countenance from the beginning. if we do that it is all gone >> thank you.
last spring the committee held a hearing on the new us china civil nuclear cooperation agreement. during that hearing we discussed very credible allegations about china's ability or unwillingness to enforce its commitments to permit bad actors from selling ballistic missile technology to iran, north korea, and other countries of concern. as has been discussed today iran has conducted to ballistic missile tests in the past few weeks in violation of un security council resolution 1929. which countries do you believe are providing ballistic missile technologies to iran? >> my assessment is the same as it was the spring. the primary source for companies in china.
i believe the chinese government has stepped up its efforts to enforce its own laws and un sanctions. however i cannot say that they have reached a satisfactory point of enforcement. >> again, that continues to be my very serious concern. to attach those conditions the conditions would have imposed upon china safe guard against carly and others into iran and north korea and other countries. very close safeguard being the bullets.
the missiles are the guns. and we are in the gun control discussion here today, ballistic missiles. and china is the gun manufacturer. and so from my perspective we missed a great opportunity here to condition that agreement. we should have. this whole discussion on ballistic missiles go back to -- goes back to the china agreement. most likely source of the ballistic missile technology. we had a lot of leverage. a stork missed opportunity to draw line on nuclear proliferation issues to create the linkages so that we could have been one year,
the bullet program,program, the nuclear materials program and on the gum program, the ballistic missile delivery. that was china, not iran. they will receive whatever can come through clandestinely. as long as people are able to move around china with impunity we will continue to have a serious problem. we might as well just have a hearing on that subject because that is the ballistic missile discussion not withstanding the public support for gun-control we don't step up and user leverage many stork opportunity arrives. if anything was directly related to iran it is with china was looking for at that point to have the discussion. so going forward having lost
that opportunity what else do we have is a tool to let china know how serious we are now we don't intend on countenancing a circumvention of international agreement that the entire world ostensibly says they believe is very important long-term global stability. >> i will be in beijing again next month. i doi do not wish to have whatever i say there dismissed his finger wagging because it will be a pretty strong message. i also cannot predict and cannot forecast at this moment what additional actions we will take against chinese entities that are complicit in providing ballistic missile technology as we said earlier under
active consideration for additional effective measures in response to the october 10 test. >> i appreciate that. i think it is inadequate. i don't think it will have the force behind it, rejection of our conditioning up the agreement would have, but it continues to raise the question of the nuclear 123 agreement on the very high hypocrisy coefficient that it sends out as a message to the rest of the world. i would hope that next year we take up once again the 123 agreement of climate that we have created around the world where we are suppliers ourselves and unfortunately turn a blind eye to often to other gun
suppliers who are out there who do not believe there is going to be a sufficiently well enforced international response. i don't think there is any question that he is the gun dealer, the ballistic missile dealer. the still is not sufficient. i don't think there is sufficient response from our own country. there is no point in trying to convince people that iran is sincere if they are engaging in an ongoing clandestine ballistic missile program with supplies coming in from china. that leaves the clear impression that we are in a temporary period of abeyance before they attach the bullets to the top of these ballistic missiles which is
a cynical approach which they are taking and i think that we had an opportunity. we have to focus upon this. >> thank you for your continued vigilance. >> you guys no where i am. so you know, the comments by senator boxer are not shared equally by members of this committee. you have apologists year. i get that. this is a joke and has been for months and years. i will answer her rhetorical question. she read samantha power's letter. you think this is soft stuff?
yes, i think this is soft stuff. the iranians standing up shaking her fist and saying death to america. we have prohibitions against is developing ballistic missile systems but we will continue to develop them and continue to test them and we don't care what you are doing. you're right that it does not matter. they will continue to do it. the only hope -- you know, senator cain who i have great respect for talks about lead to spotlight the violations. they say look at us. we are violating this. we will continue to do it. the report of the un on the ballistic missile firing, we
had to wait. no, we didn't. everyone in the world new when they fired those ballistic missiles that that was a violation. do. do i think this is soft stuff? tremendously so. my prayer is the 402 days ago but we inaugurated new leader that leader will convince the iranians that indeed we are going to do something about this, protect the american people and stop them from testing ballistic missiles and doing what we all no they will continue to do. >> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate you being here today. i will try to put a finer point on senator boxer's comments.
i appreciate some of the name-calling. i support thei support the agreement not because i am an apologist but it is the right thing to do. there is broad agreement that we need to take definitive steps to respond and take ambassador countrymen at his word that this is not just lose talk about a consideration of options but a predicate to action and there is agreement that that is an absolute necessity. the disagreement is over this broad labeling of the culture that may exist with respect to the actions that iran is taking. the report that was issued by the iaea describes a culture of permissiveness
that allows for the ukrainians up to 2003 and in some respects after to conduct a military scale nuclear weapons research program. there was a culture of permissiveness created by a lack of international consensus that in the years after 2003 allowed for the iranians to stockpile up to 8,000 kilograms of enriched material. in many ways this agreement ends the culture of permissiveness that is allowed for the iranians to conduct a nuclear program that was unprecedented scope. and with respect to the ballistic missiles program we are united in the idea that there should be a
it proceeded an active nuclear weapons program in i ran and i think it goes back a little bit to your question mr. chairman, there are multiple reasons for iran to engage in this program, including the desired ultimately to have a nuclear weapon to put atop an icbm but also including the fact that there is a proliferation of such systems throughout the region and they have made enemies about just all out all of their neighbors so they are building a whole bunch of them but it also includes an element of national pride as it has been in another countries and indigenously produced ballistic missile -- missile technology become something that military and politicians boast about as well as a number of other motives, so it is a long-standing program, you are absolutely correct. >> and i think the chairman's point is that our inability to
act this time may have greater consequences in networking business with him and different level than we were before and i get that but having a full scope of the program as well. two specific questions on other points, i wanted to follow up on the question senator gardner asked you ambassador mull about what happens to the material that's being sent to russia and i know he wasn't satisfied with the fact that there wasn't an agreement but let me just clarify, as a member of the iaea russia has obligations to save guard that material in the iaea has an ability i assumed to assure that they live up to those safeguards that exist separate and aside from an agreement that you may be negotiating today. and i'm happy to have you take that question. >> if i can give her brief
answer for the ambassador speaks on this. the way but to safeguard system works is for existing nonnuclear weapon states. they are going to have safeguard agreement with the iaea it has to be voluntary. the case for us and the case for russia. it will depend of course at the end of the day where this material actually goes and does the ambassador said that's still a discussion is going on as to whether or not safeguards exist there but let me go back to iran if i could. the russians have been in this business for a long time. they have to package, store, ship safeguard and account for nuclear missiles and we have collaborated work with them in terms of improving capability over the years under such things as they none that are dashed nunn with there so we are confident that this will be done in a professional manner. >> thank you general and thanks
for the question. i don't want to read any concerns that this material whether it ultimately allies and russia will not be subject to safeguard so we are in the process of negotiating very closely discussing what the iaea what exactly that will look at but there are 27 nuclear storage facilities in russia that are subject to safeguards. iaea safeguards and this material will end up at the safeguard facility. >> one quick question. we are about to pass a reform of the visa waiver program that will include in it a naming of iran such that individuals who have traveled to iran will no longer be eligible for the visa waiver program and there has been a suggestion that because there is an element of the agreement that obligates us not to take steps that would stop
the economic relations between other countries and iran that we can perhaps be in jeopardy of reaching the agreement. i think there are some other things that trouble me about this visa waiver reform proposal including how it affects dual nationals but at the europeans raise concerns to you or have of others raised concerns to you about that provision should be something we should be thinking about in the wake of its pretty clear imminent passage? >> yes sir. i have heard from very senior and secretary kerry has as well very senior officials differing european allies of ours that it could have a negative impact on a deal. >> i think it's early days but just something for the committee to consider. thank you mr. chairman create. >> if i could i think because the way the on the bus came together there were some concerns about some of those
technicalities my sense is down the road they will be. ranking member gardner. >> thank you mr. chairman. appreciate that promotion. thank you senator murphy. i do think senator corker this is an issue that we are going to need to take a look at. obviously there has been a great deal of congressional interest in the visa waiver program and the refugees etc. since the terrorist attacks on the attacks on our own country and including this and the own that this was not the right venue. we should have had an opportunity to debate this issue and look at the consequences far beyond just the immediate impact on individuals who wish to come to the united states. so i think senator murphy for raising that issue and i hope that we have an opportunity early next year as a committee to take a look at this from a
point of view of the senate foreign relations and if i could say one thing i want to make sure you understand this is not of our jurisdiction. >> i know but the iran agreement oversight is in our committees and the connection that senator murphy made to that issue is very much in our committees jurisdiction. i understand the direct interest of the legislation may not be ours but it was on the floor of a separate bill our committee could have waited and we didn't have that opportunity and appreciate that. senator murphy i agree with you completely that a lot of the activities in iran are not new and we should not expect that will change unless i said in my opening comments about the americans that are being held, that this is an area with the now we are going to have to be aggressive and i appreciate the response from the administration as they have said consistently throughout this that the iranian activities with regards to human rights violations and ballistic missiles, in regards to terrorism that our response has
not been at all hampered by the iran agreement which focused on one issue and that stopping iran from becoming a nuclear weapon states so i appreciate all of those matters. so let me take my first question to deal with not a direct issue that's been talked about by members of this committee that is the iranian violations of u.n. security counsel resolution on ballistic missiles. my question is pretty specific. yes the united states will respond and i think it is clear that we are going to respond that we have a mechanism under the iran agreement for an individual country that's it purchasing can take direct action unilaterally, that's true but you are depending upon the coalition with our european partners to have a day-to-day strict compliance with the iran agreement by iran so it seems to
me this is the first test of the unity with our european partners and i just hope and i asked that question that you are trying to coordinate a response to our european partners that they also understand the importance of that coalition to successful implementation of the iran agreement. >> yes sir i completely agree. one of our strongest suits as we do have a really powerful toolbox that we can use later laterally but to the extent we can get others in the international community to join us that substantially increases the impact and i think that's actually been one of the great success stories of the more -- american diplomacy in confronting these threats to iran over the past several decades. >> we are looking at the map of the p5+1 and actions with the compliance within the iran agreement radius we want to get
international support to respond to iran but it's important that we have the numbers that will be important in enforcing the iranian agreement. >> yes and respond to your specific question about this missile launch we in fact have the support and the security council in reporting this violation of u.n. security council resolution 1929 from france united kingdom and germany who joined with us. >> we will be watching their actions to the u.n. resolution in violation because to me it's telling whether we will have zero tolerance for the compliance with the iran agreement. yes we can take in a lateral action but a lot of it depends upon iran understanding we have the support of our coalition partners in europe. let me move on to the second issue that has me concerned and let me get your response to it. throughout the iran review of
the agreement itself the estimate from all of the administration witnesses was that iran would most likely be eligible for sanction relief in the spring. that was the date given and many of the specific estimates they said they had so much to do that it would take at least until the spring. now we understand and it's likely that iran will be in compliance and entitled to sanction relief as early as january. so i guess my point is, and obviously we want them to comply as quickly as possible, don't get me wrong but are we under estimating iran's participation in this agreement that could affect other aspects here as well and why do we misjudge so badly that date which was like
before compliance? >> senator cardin i think the agreement is very clear that implementation day comes with the sanctions relief comes only when iran has completed every single step that must do in terms of reducing the capacity of its nuclear program. >> i don't mean to interrupt that i want to focus on this. based upon intelligence information and based upon technical information as to how long it would take to dismantle the centrifuges and ship the equipment etc., there was a thought that it would be spring. now it's december, january so is it a concern or not? >> i assume during the negotiations there were assumptions that some members of art administration did speculate on how long it would take up what ultimately guides the answer to that is has iran done everything it's supposed to do and so the pacing of that is fully in iran's hands.
we have men very firm and clear and delivering a message. they have to do this right. they don't have to do it quickly in fact beginning with adoption day they move very swiftly to begin dismantling their centrifuged operations so we are not there yet. we are working closely with the iaea to make sure that they have fallen site to be able to verify everything that iran has done. we will get to implementation day only when iran has completed those steps. i don't think anyone in the united states is able to predict when that will be. the responsibility for that lies with iran is verified by the iaea. >> last question deals with the shipment of the enriched iranian iranian -- uranium to russia and perhaps kazakhstan as i understand their there are considerations of some of this material may end up in kazakhstan. my question to follow up on the
question asked earlier and that is from a legal point of view will we know whether iran after the time. on restrictions of their stockpile has elapsed whether they will have the legal right to reclaim this material and have it shipped back to iran? >> according to paragraph 60 of annex i of the jcpoa iran even before the agreement ends is eligible to receive a five-kilogram increments does that have fuel for its chevron research reactor and they can only receive those increments as the iaea verifies the preceding amount of fuel has been used. that's going to be under very tight control. after the end of the jcpoa years from now in the future there is no restriction on iran's
enrichment activities beyond what they have committed to us that they will develop an enrichment program consistent with peaceful purposes whether we have this agreement are not. that's going to be a constant focus of u.s. government. >> i understand that but my question is the agreement, will we know whether the legal agreement entered into between iran and russia and perhaps iran and kazakhstan today will give them the right to reclaim this material after the jcpoa restrictions are eliminating -- eliminated? >> the only exception for that is getting the feel increments. whether or not they will have the ability to get the stockpile that would be moved to russia back, that is not addressed in the agreement. they agreed to the agreement
must keep a low 300 kilograms. >> we will will not know legally whether they have the right to reclaim. that's not something that is required to be disclosed contemporaneous with the arrangement being made with the shipment of the enriched uranium? [inaudible conversations] >> that's just not addressed within the agreement. the agreement only requires 300 kilograms. >> thank you. before turning to senator perdue and the audience we talked earlier before he arrived relative to your efforts to secure its brother and getting back into the country. we -- would you want to address that one more time briefly before he turned to the senator? >> i can say this is a subject of great concern for the administration. secretary kerry repeatedly raises the plight of
mr. resigned and the other detainees in iran whether mr. mr. kobani or syed albertini as well as asking for help and cooperation in finding out what has happened to others such as robert levinson who disappeared last seen in iran. i am not in every meeting that secretary has with his iranian counterpart that everyone in which i have been he has raised this issue in the most unambiguous terms. you can understand how there is a broad concern about -- and i know the senator spoke to eloquently earlier that despite this massive agreement that's being put in place these issues of these for people not being addressed causes a lot of consternation in our country and there is a lack of understanding as to why that cannot be resolved much more easily than it is. >> yes sir.
>> senator perdue perdue. >> thank you for the courtesy and i really appreciate your testimony today and what you are doing pretty mean that seriously. it's not the first time you guys been before this committee and may not be the last that i want to make two comments quickly and i want to applaud the ranking member and the chairman for your leadership in this committee. this committee has more nonpartisan, not bipartisan, nonpartisan. this is about global security. i used the word naïve earlier and i stick by that word but mr. mr. secretary you mentioned you haven't heard any alternatives. we didn't talk about the third alternative. war was never talked about. he talked about this negotiation could we never talked about book about these people to the table in the first place. i noticed the sky and i know how serious the sanctions that hurt them and i think we could have doubled them and talk about that as an alternative that i want to come back to the word naïve. before you do that but they said they record straight.
my colleague from california said this was not bipartisan i take issue with that. this committee unanimously passed a bill, it was an act that gave us a look at this bill. otherwise nobody would know what was in this agreement other than administration so i give you guys full credit for that. but we never got a vote on it. we couldn't even get it to the floor of the senate to have a vote on it. that's what drives my people back home. absolutely apoplectic, i'm sorry but this is wrong with this process. it's all talk. 50-42, four democrats voted to even put on the floor. the rest of them unanimously almost, 42 votes voted to not even move this bill to the floor to have a debate on it. the last thing i would say about the word naïve, i didn't use that word lightly. not just this administration, other administrations. we don't have a great record dealing with rogue nations.
in 1993 another administration said just us, the steel will preclude the potential of ever having a nuclear weapon on the peninsula of korea. we know how that worked out. of course these guys are headed toward a nuclear weapon. who returned to kid? united nations have no ability in my view except to talk because the vetoes that are part of the security council situation so i just think we are faced with a false choice and i wanted to set the record straight but i do want to commend this committee for its bipartisan nonpartisan approach to this whole topic and the leadership and what you're trying to do to make sure the implementation goes properly. >> mr. chairman senator perdue is one of the most effective members not only this committee but the united states senate and i deeply appreciate the comments he made. i just want to put on the record negotiations to place including the senator came -- senator
kaine and senator corker in of the members of the committee. was i sufficiently wouldn't have an expedited process for the consideration of the iran agreement interpreted in layman's language it was ice anticipated there would be a 60 vote threshold in the united states senate so it had to be a bipartisan action considering we have divided government between congress and the white house by party. that was always envisioned in the agreement. i know there is a different interpretation among the democrats and republicans as to whether we had a vote on substance or not. i fully understand what senator perdue was saying but i think the american people know 58 senators oppose of the agreement and 42 supported the agreement and it did not hit the 60 vote threshold that was the ground rules in which the legislation was negotiated that got the broad support for unanimous support of this committee and the support of united states
senate. i just want to put that because i think there was a difference among parties as to how that was to be handled and i respect that but clearly there was an anticipation that would take 60 votes. >> at think and i'm just going to refrain from entering into the discussion regarding that and i thank you both for your comments. i want to thank you for the tremendous role you have played this year is a new member in foreign relations. i'm so glad that things worked out or we could have two senators from georgia and thank you so much for digging into the issues the way you have. i want to just mention a couple of things. i don't -- the provision for what it's worth, if we cannot get the u.n. security council to act relative to the missile issues i don't think any of us really believe the snap back itself is real.
we can call for it but the other countries have to implement it, and if they are not willing to implement, it has no effect. so i think it's u.n. security council, and i stand with senator boxer was saying, much of the discussion here is to try to shame the administration and shamed the u.n. security council into taking action action. that's what people want to see happen in much of our comments about russia and china are two hopefully push them into being willing to address this issue and a panel of experts has it occurred but again if they are not willing to do that i think it renders this snapback provision overtime totally useless. i'm sure we can call for it to happen but the other countries don't have to follow suit and call those sanctions to snap back into place. it's just not real so that's a concern and begin we are not
talking at you, we are talking with you. we know there are others that will be taking these actions. on the issue that we left hanging out there and was not followed up on, is there any pressure, i realize the reason iran is doing what it's doing relative to moving quickly which again is senator cardin is mentioned is what we want them to do, but we understand there are political issues that are occurring within the country that there is an election that's going to be taking place. we understand that the people negotiated this agreement want those sanctions lifted prior to that election so that is going to affect the outcome. i mean we understand that. i don't think you would question that. my question to you is, are we dragging, is there any pressure within the administration to drag?
is that one of the reasons you don't want us to implement the sanctions that are going to be expiring next year right now or is there pressure relative to this agreement to somehow call inaction to have an effect within the parliament, elections that are taking place in march? >> mr. chairman i agree with your analysis of the political situation in iran. i hasten to stress that what happens internally politically in iran is not part of the agreement in terms of implementing this agreement. we have a specific roadmap of what iran wants to do and that the first day in my office when the state department's created president obama stop by the state department to congratulate the negotiating team and he pulled me aside and he said you know but you have to do in making sure that this agreement is fully implemented. you cannot make a single
mistake. it was a pretty impressive way to start working your new job but nevertheless it's been very clear that we are fully focused. there are politics in every country but we have a deal that we need to implement and i plan needs to implement regardless of the situation. >> outside of your purview i understand you are not the enforcer, the implementer. outside of your purview there are others within the administration that had the ability to put in place sanctions. countryman can call for them but there are others that are going to decide. my question to you is have you spend any issues relative to you now enforcing, punishing relative to the elections that are coming up in the spring? >> senator corker, secretary kerry has recently as yesterday
as well as other members of a person's national security team have all said that we need to follow up. we need to make sure there are consequences for violations of international sanctions, international prohibitions on such things as the recent missile launches so we are fully committed acid administration to exercising those sanction authorities when it is warranted >> i would only add that no one has asked me to modulate, accelerator slowed down the implementation of the steps that we are considering due to considerations about an electoral calendar. i've seen no such indication. i think all of us again hope that if we are unsuccessful at the u.n. security council, very quickly the ability that the administration have to implement surgical and directed sanctions
that iran will take place. let me just ask one last question. the procurement channel, i understand that's going to be -- when do you think that process will be fully read to and in a place where we begin implementation? >> senator at the last meeting which i attended along with ambassador shannon last week in vienna we reached an agreement on how the channel would work within the joint commission and in fact this week as we speak we are doing a test run of the process with a number of tests. the person i'm managing of this process will meet next tuesday as well as representatives with iran to scrub how we did the test run and will make necessary improvements. a piece of this that has yet to be agreed upon that we are close to coming to agreement on is how that process interacts with the security council.
ultimately it's the security council that has to give its blessing for the transfer of any of this technology to iran. we are very close to an agreement with the security council, how the security council will staff that process and interact with the dash. >> any other questions or comments? we thank you for being here and we thank you for your service to our country and we wish you well as you ensure that this is implemented with every t crossed in i dotted. i think you can tell we are paying attention to that. we thank you for being here today. without objection the record will remain open until the close of business monday. if each of you respond would -- each of you would respond fairly quickly we would appreciate it and we wish you a good holiday season and with that the meeting is adjourned. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
hymn with the military experience i had an opportunity to work and to learn what was going on that started me. i had a good law practice. it's a matter of fact i had a great law practice and politics was the last thing i wanted to get involved with. former u.s. ambassador ryan crocker talked about the syrian refugee crisis at a forum hosted by the arab center today. mr. crocker served as u.s. ambassador to iraq, syria afghanistan and pakistan. he is now a dean at the george bush school of government and public service at texas a&m university. held at the national press club in washington, this is about an hour and a half.
>> good morning everyone. i would like to invite those who have just arrived to join us as quickly as possible so we can begin this event. my name is -- i'm the executive director of the center washington d.c.. it is her 1-year-old nonpartisan nonprofit research organization located here in the district of columbia. dedicated to providing basic insight on foreign-policy middle east as well as furthering general understanding of of economic political and social understanding particularly at this time when the arab world is going through unprecedented wave of change. our mission simply put is to serve as an authoritative research and policy analysis center on the arab world,
conducting timely independent and objective research on fundamental aspects of u.s.-arab ally rob relations. there are center for research and policy study which is emerging as the number one think tank in the arab world based in doha and it is to be known as the doha institute years ago when it started for those of you whom might be familiar with the old name. it was directed by doctors shaare a in doha. we are affiliated of course to the center they are with a group which we will try to leverage and our relationship with think tanks here in the washington d.c. area. the center is affiliated with some very different types of research centers and think tanks
throughout the arab world. so we would like to serve as the local link here in d.c. with all these think tanks and research centers in the arab world. again part of the introduction here, let me say that we view ourselves as a progressive think tank and a lot of our process is different from traditional think tanks. we emphasize our efforts and analysis on democracy, human rights and justice in the arab world regardless of the traditional approaches if you will in research centers in the past. today's event is focused on the controversial topic going back to september when president obama announced that in response to the crisis of syria refugees that the u.s. would instruct the
administration, his administration to begin working on absorbing 10,000 syrian refugees in the united states which is frankly a meager number compared to the magnitude of the crisis and the magnitude of the moral and political response of our allies particularly in europe, and the issue has become controversial ever since. you have governors, you have president candidates talking mostly about this issue and spreading rumors and innuendos and false information about this, which has impacted unfortunately public opinion so when you look at public opinion between 54 and 56% of the american public is opposed to bringing any syrian refugees to the country. you know that propaganda if you
will, the opposition to this kind of took a toll on us as a country. but what u.s. policy should the in terms of standing up and being counted particularly as a country of immigrants, we have the right person. ambassador ryan crocker is a dean and executive professor at the george bush school of government and public service at texas a&m university. he holds their edward and howard kruse endowed chair. he was also the past couple of years the james schlessinger distinguished visiting professor at the university of virginia and the kissinger senior fellow at a.m. university 2012/2013. ambassador crocker is a very well-known face for those of us who have been working on the middle east for some time.
probably one of the richest and most productive as far as i'm concerned careers in u.s. diplomacy in the region particularly at certain crucial times of middle east history and u.s. foreign-policy history in the region. he served for 37 years in the region. he doesn't look like he served it. i had the opportunity to visit with them during some of these very important i would add 10 years in the middle east in the region at that time for he was not only respected here at home but very well respected also in the region. he retired in 2009 and was called back to active duty by president obama to serve as u.s. ambassador to afghanistan in 2011.
he had served as u.s. ambassador in the region six times in afghanistan, iraq, pakistan, syria, kuwait and lebanon. he also served as international affairs adviser to the national war college where he joined in 2003 and from may to august of 2003 he also was in baghdad as the first director of governance for the provisional authority at a very crucial time for that. math. he also served right after that as is deputy assistant secretary of state for middle eastern affairs between 2001 and 2003. ambassador crocker received the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian award in 2009 and is other what awards included the veterans of foreign wars, dwight eisenhower award for distinguished meritorious service award and
the distinguished service award in 2008 and 2012 again. he also received a department of defense medal for distinguished civilian service in 1997 and 2008 and my favorite for diplomat, the distinguished public service, the word for valor and the american foreign service association award for creative dissent. we have combined creative dissent with diplomacy but definitely this is a man who has done very well and received the award for it. in september 2004 president bush conferred on him the personal rank of ambassador which has most of the newest highest in the foreign service in this country. in may 2009 secretary of state hillary clinton announced establishment of a ryan c. crocker award for outstanding achievement in expeditionary diplomacy and in july 2012 you
as named an honorary marine, the 75th civilian to be honored as such since the founding of the marine corps in 1775 which is a great honor. for those of you who are not familiar with his -- i would refer you back to "the wall street journal" on november 17, 2015 when his article the case for accepting syrian refugees was the voice of sanity in this country in terms of how to deal with the syrian refugees. it's an honor to introduce to you ryan crocker. [applause] >> thank you very much for that generous introduction. i can be introduced in the
number of ways. i kind of like the way you did it take another whack at the introduce would be pictorially. if you can imagine a picture of every significant u.s. foreign policy setback in the greater middle east since 1979, sir, one picture per each disaster i would be in every one of those pictures, first row second from the left. i had heard that the arab center had been established but when i got the e-mail, what i really focused on was the center. there was no question in my mind even though i don't live in d.c. i do count my blessings that i was going to be here because he did the inviting.
i reminded him that we first met a quarter of a century ago literally. 1985 i was deputy director for israeli and palestinian affairs in the state and i received a question from the state department. what did i think of the meeting between murphy at or legendary citizen secretary of state and kahlil josh shown. i thought about that for a minute and i said it would be great if kahlil will agree to do it. [laughter] and the rest as they say is history. so it's a pleasure and an honor to be here with you kahlil and under the auspices of the arab center to discuss a truly
critical issue, the issue of syrian refugees and the u.s. response. in the description you charitably put it as the evolving u.s. policy. we are facing and everybody in this room knows, a crisis of truly global proportions and as bad as it is now on its current trajectory is going to be a whole lot worse in six months, in a year, in two years. again, 4 million roughly syrian refugees, over 7.5 million internally displaced inside of syria. by any measure this, as bad as
it's been in terms of scale and severity of any refugee crisis since world war ii. what is missing that was present in the end of world war ii's global leadership. this is not a syrian problem. it is not a middle eastern problem. it is not a european problem. it is a global problem and it's going to take local leadership, not to resolve it. that's probably going to be decades in the making but simply to contain and manage it. there is only one nation that can't exercise that leadership. that is the united states, and the united states i am very sad to say as an american is not leading.
we are not even participating. khalil referred to the op-ed i did for "the wall street journal" on the 17th of november, four days after the terrorist attacks. in that op-ed, i didn't argue for supporting president obama's commitment to take 10,000 refugees. i called for the united states to take 100,000 syrian refugees, four days after paris. i have been arguing this for some time. on the port of mercy corps and that is mercy corps's position as a number of other international humanitarian ngos. i believed in it before paris, i believed in it after paris. paris changed nothing with respect to the plate of syrian and other refugees around the world. it is -- yet it has changed
things and i'll come back to that in a minute. 100,000 against 4 million is also a token but symbolically much more significant. it would established us, again as a leader on this issue. again what is happening without american leadership, the europeans are flaming. we may see the european union, part as a political construct. the economic union will persist but it could come apart as it is equal construct because of the refugee issue. you are seeing the intense disagreements among european states. they're not going to resolve these matters by themselves. only a global leader can start a process of treating a global crisis as a global crisis
involving all stakeholders in every country on earth is a stakeholder in this, but it isn't going to happen without sustained focus u.s. leadership. right now the administration is defending the policy of accepting 10,000. i just checked and in the first two months of the current fiscal year, october and november, we had resettled an overwhelming 437 syrian refugees. we are nowhere near a trajectory to even meet that rather sad goal of 10,000. you look at what the canadians just did. a much smaller population but with the prime minister who was prepared to stand up and say 30,000 in to be at the airport to meet the first families
coming in. i wish we could we could see our president at the airport. as this insane debate is carried forth in the primaries, where a fractious primary field is united on one thing, let's not have any syrian refugees or we are going to have them let's be sure they are just christians. it's not america's greatest day and when you think about who we are as a people, and lets you are descended from native americans, or your forbearers were brought to this country in chains, if you aren't one or two of those categories you are an immigrant or refugee. as all but one of those candidates are.
they are lucky that someone like them wasn't in office when their forbearers tried to get into this country. actually most cases we would have been a lot luckier. i'm sorry, no business being recorded being recorded. sometimes i can't help myself. so as a people we need to take a collective deep breath sit in a tree somewhere and remember who we are and what we are about. the real irony, almost a tragedy , about the refugee debate is that this is one of those relatively rare moments when american values and american interests coincide. we all know about american
exceptionalism. we are exceptional, almost unique among modern states. we are a nation that is founded on ideals, principles and values as well as interest and as someone who has been in the field of diplomacy for most of my adult life, i see constantly how there is often tension or a collision between american values and american interests. i'm delighted with the center reviewer bringing a particular focus on some of those values like human rights and democracy. the refugee issue is not one of those points of friction or collision. our fundamental values of who we are is written right there on the statue of liberty. bring your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free and refused them all and
tree. so there it is a fundamental american value coinciding with the fundamental american national security interests. which is to take a definitive and ultimately successful stand against the terrorism practiced by the islamic state. the greatest challenge we can give the islamic state is by welcoming syrian refugees into this country. if you noticed, back in september when the great tidal wave of largely syrian refugees hit europe anglo markova german chancellor initially took a public position saying they are welcome in germany. well, islamic state social media
went. all kinds of postings. don't believe it, it's a lie, it's a trap, they hate you. they are trying to root lure you in so they can destroy you inside their borders. don't believe it, don't go there why this media firestorm? because it undercuts the islamic state narrative of the true believers against the crusaders. angola merkel by making that statement just completely belied their narrative that the christian west, large the christian west is somehow fundamentally anti-arab and anti-muslim. that was a much more effective strike against them than any number of bombing runs on arauca so islamic state today, they
would have loved that debate. it is making their case that it is the west led by america against the people of the faith. so again with them opportunities to uphold our values and uphold our security interests, we are blowing it. i'm not going to get into the rise of nativist sentiments that political candidates are clinging to. my real concern is again this absence of u.s. leadership on a key issue. absence of u.s. leadership abroad and at home quite frankly this is a time for bold steps in bold gestures that confirm who we are as a people and as a
people in upholding our values we are going to defend our interests to take this campaign against the islamic state at the most fundamental level of values and of identity. i mentioned i'm on the board of mercy corps. like our sister agencies and the national rescue committee save the children and others, the syrian refugee issue is by far and away our biggest issue. we have got our people out in lebanon, and jordan, and turkey, increase and -- in greece and we operate inside of syria not with international staff but mercy
corps i'm not making a pitch for the younger people in the room who are looking for meaningful adventure in life join mercy corps, mercy corps.orc to apply. we chain -- train national staff to the same level that we train international staff so we had a significant cadre of syrians working for mercy corps who were able to operate effectively, completely independent of any international staff presence and that is what they are doing all over syria at enormous risk, but they are doing it. syrians helping syrians with international support. i said earlier on the current trajectory and unbelievably tragic situation left unmanaged and unchecked is simply going to
get worse. like every other international relief agency, the though like the u.n. system, we are running out of money, because donor fatigue has set in both in terms of private philanthropy and in terms of governmental philanthropy. we are seeing food rations to refugees in adjoining countries cut because the money simply isn't there. and what i see are two lines that are very troubling. the need is going to go up and the resources are going to go down. so again, i said this in other contexts, as bad as things are today cherish the moment, because looking back in six
months, these will seem like the good old days. it is going to be a long -- and that's what i have been trying to do to get the attention of the administration. you can't ignore it. this is not going away. this is only going to get worse. so i would simply hope that the president, the secretary of state and others will come to that appreciation and pushback against those forces in this country that would have us do they wrong thing, the wrong thing morally but also the wrong thing for national security interests. i don't have to tell anybody in this room would refugee screening is like. it is the most intense scrutiny of any category of applicants
for entry to this country go through. about the last thing you are going to do if you are going to try to get a terrorist into the states is code through the refugee process. it takes about two years and the number of checks that you go through mean you look for easier ways like finding people who don't need visas or already have passports. you are not going to do it turned refugees so this is wrong on so many levels. it's analytically wrong and morally wrong, it's wrong in terms of u.s. interests. and it's going to take a concerted stance by those who believe in a different america that is being described on the campaign trail, who believe in core american interests as well is corps american ideals.
it is past time, but certainly there will be no better movement. only worse moments don't the road. i just come back from beirut. we can talk about some of the political dimensions of the syrian crisis, probably makes the syrian refugee situation look good. if you would like but i won't further depress you on a rainy, washington morning, further hand i have. -- further than i have. i would like to just spend a final few words on what really bad could look like over the long run. mercy corps has a particular emphasis in its refugee programs
in syria's neighbors on youth. that 13 to 23 or 24 swath. they are by and large without access to any form of education. they are without access to skills, training. they are without access to employment. in short they are without access to hope. we have seen what happens when you deny refugee populations even hope. coincidence, that radical palestinian movements were given birth in refugee camps, and had no trouble recruiting young
people, willing to die debuts they have something to die for. the dream of palestine, the dignity with the struggle that in a life that otherwise had only impoverishment and humiliation. well, welcome to the next generation. of the impoverished, of the hopeless, of the humiliated. if things continue as they are i expect to see a highly radicalized syrian refugee population, not this year, not in a few years in ten years, in 20 years,. what will be the narrative that they absorb as they make their choices in life? not the west: not the united states, turned its back on you.
left you to the counsels of disspare and hopelessness in camps in conditions we here in america can't even imagine. so, again, that is today. it's going to be worse in six months, worse in a year, and this will be the gift that keeps on giving to the region and the world for years and years to come in the absence of action. and in this sense, the administration is in many respects in my view, as complicit as those who take these immoral stances on immigration. all it takes, as has been said, for evil to succeed is for the good to do nothing. well, evil is succeeding, and the good are pretty much sitting on our hands. so, i would hope that this
center, and your allies in america, and in the world, will take a different position, force a different action. we're still america. we're the greatest country and people on earth. this is the moment for us to stand by our values, with the knowledge that for once, our values and our interests coincide. so, i wish you luck. you can certainly count on me as an ally. "the wall street journal" will publish wherever i write. i have to take my hat off to the "wall street journal." i wanted there for reasons and they were ready to do it. so there are little bits of courage here and there thank you. now, we'll turn this into a dialogue. [applause]
>> i would just like to bring it to your attention in case you haven't yet looked at your folders you picked up, a couple of the items that our fearless staff at the center have graciously put together with regards to facts and numbers relevant to the presentation by ambassador crocker, which was a very substantive and frank conversation, and morally challenging to all of news this country to really stand up and measure up to this crisis. i just wanted a couple of things he eluded to on the right-hand side i think of the folder, the screening process for those of you, whether in the media or otherwise, looking for a thorough kind of delineation of
step-by-step of the process. it's unbelievable. i recommend to everybody concerned about the syrian refugee crisis to fully understand it because it's taken a dimension of its own in la la land, and the debate that is taking place right now in the country, without understanding the process. so, i would recommend everybody avail that to friends and foes if you will to educate them on the issue. the other one was the discrepancy between the growing crisis, as the ambassador mentioned accurately, and the diminishing support, if you will, and these two graphs are very important. they summarize both, so if you're not familiar with that, i would recommend that you also take a good look. another unique thing we included in your package is our kind of legislative department center
prepared, again, the role of congress somewhat tends to be ambiguous to many of news work on middle east issues. we kind of ignore congress because we're disappointed in a lot hoff the shenanigans they play in congress with regard to middle east policy, but i think it's important to look at this brief report on the right-hand side of your folder. that is titled "status of syrian refugee legislation before congress." because as the ambassador said, it is bald now but could get worse and that applies to some of the congressional plans in terms of pieces of legislation and other measures that they are deliberating, and they're all listed there by name and by purpose. and that could make things a lot worse. ambassador crocker was very gracious to be willing to spend a few minutes, the balance of our time, answering your questions, responding to your remarks. i would say the rules are basic.
just raise your hand. i'll recognize you, and staff will bring a microphone to you, and just state your name, affiliation if you care to, and questions, preferably short so he can go around the room and give everybody a chance. may i first recognize dr. ziady, my colleague at the -- my resident scholar on syria and the syrian refugee. if would like to make a comment for raise a question to the ambassador. is that okay for television to stay there? okay. thank you. >> thank you, ambassador. actually, we missing such kind of leading voices speak on behalf of the syrian refugees. you mentioned the case of -- the german chancer, and the canadian
prime minister. i think they show such kind of leadership. this is why i think they choose chancellor merck -- merkel to be the woman of the year, which i think is really important. but i just have a comment and question. the comment that unfortunately we think syria right now also three different crises. the syrian transition is one crisis. isis is a different crisis and the syrian refugees as a third crisis. those three crises are interconnected and this is actually the failure of the policymakers to connect this three different crises and to take an action that make it worse and worse, and if things getting like the way also it is right now, i think, as you projected, maybe we'll expect
more and more. i think the next case will be the global jihad, already there is some indication of that. this is why my question that it's the time -- the u.k. time newspaper published a survey last month, which shows that 76 of the syrian refugees in europe right now, they flee syria because of barrel bombs. if they don't have the no-fly zone we will not have any isis crisis or the refugee crisis right now. with the intensive russian airstrikes on the populated area, which lifted 100,000 in the last three days, to flee into turkey, i don't see actually that we are going on the way to have a political
solution or a way of having leadership to solve this interconnected crisis. what you take on that and how you see can the united states deal with the russian hegemony not only in syria but the whole middle east. thank you. >> those are excellent points. i'm glad you brought them out. i was kind of hinting that there's a whole political dilemma out there that -- and you cannot, as you rightly say, you cannot talk about these things in isolation. i have been a proponent for some time of no-fly zones. with the russian intervention that has now gotten far more complex, but precisely because
of the interlinkages of syrian transmission, islamic state and refugees, something has got to be done to change the dynamic, to change the context, or the spiral-down is simply going to continue. and a no-fly zone would be a way of starting to change that dynamic. many of you know this far better than i, but having just been in lebanon earlier this week, i was freshly reminded of how the united states is increasingly perceived in the arab world generally, in the arab sunni world in particular. it's no longer an assertion. it is anam3
damascus, tehran and moscow, washington. talk about a campaign against islamic state. a lot of people in the area see that as a campaign against sunni arabs, and when we do things like issue a prompt denial that the bombing recently of a syrian military base was -- we claim we didn't do it. we didn't do it. reinforces that narrative. that as you say, most of the victims in this mass slaughter in syria, most of those who were driven out, were slaughtered or driven out, not by islamic state but by the assad regime and its tactics of the barrel bombs. so, we have ourselves painted into a very, very dangerous corner, in terms of perceptions,
of who we're allied with and who we're fighting against. we're seen as de facto in alliance with, again, iranians, russians, and the assad regime, against sunni arabs. no-fly zones, north and south could begin to change that dynamic. it also is a pushback against the regime, against the russians, and against the iranians. and for those of you who are interested in detail, there are ways to structure this so that chances of a clash between us and the russians would be minimal. the risk to our aviation would be minimal. but this could change the politics of the struggle in a way that might make a political negotiation possible. right now, i have the highest regard for secretary kerry, but this effort at a political negotiation is going to go nowhere because the russians,
the iranians, and bashar al-assad think they're on a role. why negotiate? and the reality is they're not going to as long as they think they're winning. no-fly zones would have a humanitarian value, and send a very important signal that in fact we do stand with those who are being slaughtered and driven out of the country, and we stand against a regime that right now we're seeing as tacitly supporting. a very important step. really, real ya hard to do. if we had done it before the russians came in it would have been different. probably wouldn't have the russians coming in the consequences of inaction can be as severe as misguided actions. >> thank you. right here. >> i'm from the european union delegation here in washington. first of all, you describe the
crisis that we see in europe due to the huge influx of refugees, and certainly it is a challenge to our structures and to our institutions, but i hope that we are resilient and can manage this. i think that any country or any entity that would have been in this situation would have had difficulties to cope because no system is built for an influx like this one, and the places where the people come in are small touristy islands and areas which are not at all built for -- or have the infrastructure for receiving these people, and i -- although you see in its very -- been very well-reported here, a lot of the political consequences which was hundred underreported is actually the outpour of
solidarity among europeans as such civil society, ngos, individuals, that are really playing a huge role. having come to that, we have of course from the european union side been in constant contact with the american counterparts in discussing what they can do to address this global crisis, and we have also come to the conclusion that it's probably not going to happen that the numbers of refugees that the u.s. will take in will increase. at least not in the near future, and at the pace that have been described here, it will not make any difference in the short term at least. but we also see that it's not going that fast in providing other types of support because, for example, the baskans are -- the balkans are suffering a lot
under the influx of refugees and they have quite weak structures, and there the u.s. could be really crucial in helping out with the good contacts we see that the united states have with the balkans. also the same thing in turkey, jordan, lebanon, et cetera. could you comment on what the u.s. is doing in those areas and what you would like to see more? >> well, thanks for the question. as i tried to indicate what the u.s. is doing is too little at every level and in every dimension. resources obviously are important or critical, as i described and as julio has -- i love it. i hadn't seen the packet but as i was describing divergent lines you had actually mapped them out. so resources are critical, but
it's the intangibles that i think is most lacking and it's the most important. it is the u.s. exerting a leadership role, and that doesn't mean ordering people around and telling them what to do or not to do. it simply means engaging, of saying to our european friends, we know this is a global crisis that is hitting you hard. let's sit down and talk about how we, all of us, manage it. what does the first line need? that's greece and the balkans. they face a challenge that is somewhat different than that face by northern europe. perhaps not lesser or greater but different. and they have fewer indigenous resources to meet it. so who needs what? who is worried about what? who can do what?
somebody needs to do what we did at the last global refugee crisis, at the end of world word war ii, which is step forward. and you can calculate the odds of that happening in the last year of the presidential administration as well as i can. but without that, in this country, for europe, for the world, the legacy for the next american president is going to be a very grim one indeed. so, we are without a concerted effort that i think requires u.s. leadership, we're not going to get anywhere good because what we're seeing, at least from my perspective -- i'm glad you're here because you can present a european viewpoint -- are the divisions with the newer
members of the european union, taking off in dramatically different positions on how to deal with refugee influxes, and then countries like germany or france. i have to say this, by the way. it wasn't as widely remarked as it should have been, but in the aftermath of the paris attacks, president hollande re-affirmed france's commitment on accepting refugees. didn't back away a bit. i thought that was a tremendous act of moral courage, but also, again, national interest. but i just would like to see my country step in the way so many our european allies are, and try to bring people together for a comprehensive look at a global problem. that involves our middle eastern friends, our friends in asian it involves the world, but it frankly takes a world leader to
do this, and i don't see that leadership. >> okay. microphone over there, please. >> my name is muhammad -- i'm not affiliated with anybody but i'm palestinian refugee, a result of israel's occupation of palestine, and i see what is happening to the syrian population now is what happened -- what happened to us is happening to them now. first question. the question is, is the islamophobeic rhetoric coming out of the republican party, and especially trump and company, working? i guess yes. i have a story from my family. last week i had a member of my family who is a medical doctor,
went to the airport, with her daughter, who is three years old, both of them had visas to come to america to visit. had a very high-paying job in one arab country, who is supposedly friends with the united states of america. the decision was made at the airport, you cannot board the airplane. go back and talk to the embassy. having said that, knowing that you are a former ambassador and you know theçg0 procedure, is donald trump with his fear mongering succeeding and what is the procedure? who makes these decisions? i know the person. i don't want to say much because i don't want her to get more in trouble, okay? but that friendly country is the best friend now of the russians and they are at that on the syrian people. what is the procedure as an ambassador?
do you know what the procedure is? who makes these decisions or maybe it's a political affiliation or "the mentalist" of the guy, because it was in a country where now immigration is done in that country. it's becoming a free-for-all. my crazy can create problems to refugees, and palestinian refugees north syrian refugees and you said six months from enough it's going to be worse. that means the poor syrian refugee won't have a plies to hide from the cold. we are coming up to cold weather. i would like to hear your answer now. >> obviously several elements there. the way the u.s. immigration is structured, not quite unique in the world but exceptional.
visa decisions, any form of nonimmigrant visa, are the responsibility of an individual consular officer. there is -- there are guidelines but there isn't a checklist. check all these boxes and you're eligible, not, you're not. these are inherently subjective judgments and i know that. i served as a consular officer early in my career. it's hard. and the officer is ultimately responsible for the decision he or she makes. now, by statute, ambassadors cannot interfere for exactly that reason. am abortions cannot interfere in -- ambassadors cannot interfere in consular decisions. the officer has the responsibility and authority. an ambassador cannot issue a
visa. i do not have that authority. only a consular officer can do so. and this puts a horrific responsibility now on my young colleagues. it's their decision. whoever the poor officer was that ultimately issued the fiancee visa to tashfeen mall lick can kiss his or her career goodbye, sadly. so, this wave of racist and ethnic bias is going to have its impact on young officers trying to do the right thing. but it -- unlike the system in most european countries, there
is no cut, dry, yes, no. it's an individual and inherently subjective judgment. >> can we go around the room, please, and then i'll get back to you. >> just quick. >> there's a big crowd. the person in the corner back there, please. mr. ambassador. >> my name is -- aim other journalist. years ago we had no-fly zones in iraq. i wonder how successful they were and whether you think the u.s. forfeited a large measure of its influence in region but it precipitous withdrawal of troops in iraq, not to mention afghanistan, and whether you think when you talk about all these things the u.s. should do at every dimension, whether or not you're also referring to an increase in military strength in the region, just as our forces
increase in vietnam from the 400 special forces sent by jfk to a 500,000 under lbj. >> the no-fly zone in northern iraq worked pretty well. it worked far less well in southern iraq, and you touch on a very important point. the reason it worked well in the north and not in the south is in the north and a quarter kurdish region --, you had kurdish forcs on the ground. the peshmerga. i made several visits to northern iraq in 2001-2002, and saw it first hand. they controlled the ground. we controlled the air. and that kept the iraqis out. the southern shia didn't have that advantage.
so, saddam basically went about his killing of southern iraqis by other means rather than using his helicopters, he used ground elements. and that is important because if you're looking at no-fly zones in syria, there's going to have to be a ground component. that should not be us. again, we're -- u.s. boots on the ground are every islamic state recruiter's ultimate wet dream. we just cannot do that. in the south, maybe the jordanians could. in the north, it gets really complicated because of the turkish-kurdish tensions. there has to be control of the
i certainly did. i've argued for some time it wasn't the withdrawal of our military that made the negative difference. it was the withdrawal of our political engagement. when i was out there as ambassador, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense when she wasn't there and the president on the phone all the time to everybody. battle stopped. that all stopped when we pulled our forces out. our engagement has much more to do with subsequent unraveling then military withdrawal. we seem to link the one tightly to the other. we are only politically engaged if our forces are in the ground. if you're politically engaged, maybe may be your forces don't have to be on the ground.
but we disengaged politically as much as we did militarily. >> thank you. as a respected diplomat mr. investor, we've had several disasters since 1979 as you put it. in your speech, it was clear that you are arguing for more leadership of the united states. does that global leadership translate or is it synonymous with unilateral moves on the one hand, and on the other, the u.s. policy that has been applied in syria has been calling for regime change as a byproduct of
creative chaos. now secretary kerry is saying clearly that the u.s. policy is no longer trying to achieve regime change in syria in particular. thank you. >> when i speak of the u.s. leadership, i mean that quite literally, the u.s. to play a leading role with our friends and allies around the world. unilateral action not only are not going to solve anything that will make things worse. these are collective challenges that require a collective response but i see an urgent need for somebody to orchestrate that response, not make it or do it but to orchestrate it, to lead as it were and by leading that means building consensus,
not issuing dictums. very much against unilateral action. that will solve nothing at this critical juncture. but collective commitment can manage a lot of things that are unmanaged at the moment. even if it can't solve them. with respect to u.s. policy toward syria, i worry greatly of the perception, as i said earlier that there is a washington, damascus, chiron, moscow access that is in support and therefore the largely sunni population that he is busy killing and driving out of the country. this is not in our interest and it is inconsistent with our
values. it is going to intensify a conflict. it will not put it on the road to resolution. >> question now from the west bank. >> please go ahead. >> i am with the u.s. commission on international religious freedom. there are over 4 million refugees, 7.5 are unlikely to be resettled or be able to return to their homes when this conflict eventually ends. are there policies and programs that we can be pursuing now for the eventual end of this situation, whenever that does end? that will allow the communities that have a lot of distressed around religious and ethnic lines to have a country for themselves again. >> it's a great question.
sadly i see no, i can't even imagine a robust solution to the conflict right now. i just can't imagine it. i do hope there is a more concerted effort to manage it then we have seen so far and to do much more to support those who have had to flee the country. there is a lot of us out there that are heavily invested in this and with more resources we could do more. providing education, providing employment opportunities and working to do what you are targeted at to develop civil societies among refugee populations. to facilitate conversations
among refugees of different or religious or ethnic backgrounds. to facilitate conversations and understandings that when circumstances do permit as one hopes someday they will, for refugees to return home with a different sense of who they are and how they can work with one another. you know my organization and others, it takes resources to do. we don't have the resources to see that people eat decently, let alone work on critical issues of a civil society and understanding. that is what i mean about a bad
situation getting so very much worse. if we could stabilize refugee populations, work to get them better lives and a hope for a future, we would be going a long way to creating a post-crisis post- crisis environment that would be far more positive than what we had precrisis. but again, the line on your grass are showing were going the opposite direction. >> good morning, molly mcquiston , tomorrow spending bill will vote on visa waiver bills for countries being deemed high risk. what does that mean for individuals with dual citizenship or american individuals? >> the good news on this bill is
that the anti- refugee elements of previous bills are not there. the bad news is some very discriminatory language is, particularly on the visa waiver program. as i understand the draft, i have to say i have not sat down and read the text yet, but as i understand it, in addition to requiring visas for individuals who would otherwise have that requirement waived, because of travel to select countries it goes into a very dangerous area saying in effect, a british-born, british citizen who happened to have a syrian or iranian father, even though the
citizen in question had never been to that country would no longer be eligible for a visa waiver. wow. that just really scares me. it is holly discriminatory. it is discriminatory based not on you are or what you did but who your father or mother is. if we are prepared to pass legislation like that, what are we prepared to do about our own citizens? the fear is one of the most dangerous emotions on earth. fear is making us behave in ways that are contrary to our values and interests. i hope they pull that out of their and we will all have to be very vigilant.
i will not demonize those who are inserting such language. i think they are motivated by fear. but that's what i meant about that collective deep breath and sitting down under a tree and working this through so we are not taking steps that are ultimately counter to our own national security and corrosive to our values. if you take this step, what other steps might follow from it? thank you for raising it. again, the spending bill avoided the very worst, but there are still some really bad things in there. >> my name is scott cooper. i am a retired marine. i certainly take to heart your point about american leadership. just on specifics, president
roosevelt started a war refugee board. the point of orchestrating this is critical. one of the first steps you would recommend whether it's by congress for the administration to start using some american leadership? >> staying focused on the refugee issue, there are several things. there is a very robust, elaborate refugee resettlement structure in this country and human rights first, of course, is part of it. so start by convening those agencies that are involved in resettlement's so to make sure we have a nationally coordinated effort, and by the way, the way we are structured these are state and local requirements. for a national coordinating effort on how we are organized
to handle refugees at home, what's the resource issue? who needs what, where? then take that abroad. i would like to see us convene a refugee summit appropriately prepared that we would convene and share with such an unnecessary of that a lot of other work would start to get done. what's the situation in europe, country by country? what do they need from us, what do they not need from us? how are our middle eastern allies looking at this and resourcing it? so a summit itself is not just the start of a process, it could be a combination of it by being
the forcing mechanism to start these hard conversations among all the pictures spends so i'd start at home, i'd start a broad and part of the start at home has to be a conversation between the administration and the hill, on the hill, about taking that deep breath. let's look at our values and interests. let's look at our alliances. let us proceed from there. i'm not here to give plugs for human rights first, first, except i am. it's a terrific organization. [laughter] after you've contributed to the arab center and mercy corps, -- you know i'm a resident of the state of texas right now and
there we have a legal challenge brought by the state against resettlement of refugees in the state. i'm working with human rights first to file a declaration or a brief as part of that case. there is a lot of stuff going on out there. as we look to step forward, we have to watch our backs because there are some pretty frightening things in the land right now. >> okay, the next three questions, very quickly please. over here. >> i work with global hope network international in jordan. we are very much working with the mercy corps guys and visiting many of the syrian refugees. i've enjoyed the last few years. my big question away from
politics, you talked about hope. so many of the syrians and other refugees have totally lost hope. they don't have ways to go back home. they they see the rejection of so many countries like this great country, and the big question is how can we help to reinject hope in their life and also on the humanitarian side, as many of them are really taking $20 a day from the united nations. many of them go to bed without food. how can we, we, with the heart that god has given us help them?
>> yes, it's a pretty horrible situation. it isn't all about the money, but a lot of it is about the money. whatever we can do individually and collectively to overcome the wave of donor fatigue that his sweeping the world to indicate that these are human beings they need our help and it is our duty to help them we have to re-energize both governments and populations to be more generous in support of these populations because as you say we are seeing stipends eliminated and food rations cut and that's just going to get worse because
without a summit approach to re-energize the global community, that line of resources is just going to keep going down as the number of refugees continue to increase. our friends in jordan and lebanon are bearing an enormous burden. they are kind of doing it by themselves so again, the richest country on earth sort of has an obligation here but that obligation isn't going to be met without presidential leadership so it kind of comes back to that. >> thank you. i'm on the board here at the arab center in d.c. i just got back from palestine in jordan. i was there with some congressional staff.
behind us was let trail of senators coming from both parties and they were visiting the refugee camps in jordan. it made me think about your comment on the resources that there may be a case to be made here in the u.s. within congress and the appropriations committee that if they're not going to take the refugees which i think is a very tough sell in this environment. by the way democrats and republicans, i don't see a democrat allowing allowing refugees in either. i don't think this is a republican thing. i do see a case that could be made to help more refugees where they are. i'm wondering if you can comment on that. >> i'm delighted to hear that there were house and senate delegations out there. yes, and again i i don't mean to keep harping on this, wouldn't it be great if the president invited members of those delegations who went out to these countries and visited
these areas invited them to the white house to say thank you for your interest, thank you for taking the trouble, what are we going to do about it because you're quite right. this is not a partisan issue. this is a national issue. sadly i think you're quite right. i've been getting some very interesting mail, as soon as i did my op-ed last month and a lot of my very interesting mail comes from self-declared democrats. yes, i get that. we've we've got a negative bipartisanship on refugee resettlement so let's see if we can get some part positive bipartisanship going on supporting refugees where they may be currently. it's going to take leadership. members of those delegations are not going to come together back
here and say we are going to do this that and the other. it's just not going to happen. if they all go to the white house, that could start something. >> former executive director of task force in lebanon. thank you for the presentation. you mentioned the theme over and over again about u.s. leadership. would you care to comment on the absence of arab leadership? it just doesn't seem to be present. is there anything that can be done to invigorate or some initiative be taken to see some leadership coming out of the region other than just the united states? >> i know i bored you all to death, but here comes again. they see arab states start to
step forward when the u.s. seriously engages. everybody is kind of watching us and not seeing much so if or not doing anything, why should they? it's just a hard truth. it's the 25th anniversary of the iraqi invasion of kuwait. in february it will be 25 years since liberation. i think of the coalition that came together to expel iraq from kuwait. the greatest international coalition since the second world war in which saudi, egyptian and syrian forces were all present. do you think the region or the international community would have come together without u.s.
leadership? not a chance. absolutely not a a zip, zero, none. this is a challenge of a different nature. there is one common thread. nothing good is going to happen without the united states at the center of it. that has been the way the world has worked since world war ii. it still is. our strength and influence have diminished but it's still there. most importantly, there is no other source for it. we came together 25 years ago because we lead. i think they could and would again but it's gonna require that same dynamic from our side. >> let me say that i think we
are all in agreement that we need to do more for syrian refugees. i do a lot of speaking outside of washington. i see a certain number of arguments that would fall on deaf ears. on one hand you say we support american values but then you began your speech by saying this is a substantial amount of americans disagree. secondly you say we have the most rigorous system possible and it takes two years for refugees to get here from syria. when you say that to people on the countryside, they say yes
but it's taken for years to bring 2500 in. how do you go next year to 10,000 without changing your standards and values in doing that. can we trust washington to handle these things well? >> yes, on the first part, i am making a plea not to override public opinion, but to engage public opinion. i hear the negative voices out there. i don't hear very many positive ones explaining why support for refugees including resettlement is in the national interest as well as in accordance with national values. that effort by the administration or by others is largely absent as the negative voices capture the airways and persuade public opinion. by no means am i saying ignore public opinion. i'm saying engage in order to produce a a different narrative to get people to think about this because right now, look, in
times of crisis, the fallback is fear and reactions are produced from fear. i'm arguing for a more complex but critical discussion that is largely absent in the country. absent from the debate because it's far easier to let the fear factor predominate. i'm just asking for a different discussion. i can't think of a better group than people in this room to begin to lead that. the second part of that was -- oh yeah again, it's a question of how much priority do you want to give this. if you make this a presidential imperative, the resources are there to do it.
i've been involved in particular with the issue of iraqis and afghans who have worked for us and because of that are in jeopardy. yes we could do this screening without taking anything away from it, but we could do it a lot faster if we made it a higher priority. so i would be asking, let's take this from a seventh tier priority and make it a top priority and put the resources and manpower into it to do screening that is no less thorough, but to do it far more quickly than we are doing it now. right now it it's so far down the line of priorities that it takes what i think is an unconscionable amount of time. this is a global crisis.
let's treat it like one. which manifestly, we are not doing now. >> alright, with this i would like to thank everyone for being here today and for your lively participation in the discussion. if you could please join me in thinking ambassador crocker [applause]. >> thank you for taking time in your busy schedule to be with us. thank you to the center working hard to make this happen. we appreciate it. >> see you at another event in the future.