tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 8, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EDT
and the house foreign affairs committee, both democrats obviously are opposed to this deal. so if you're willing to push ahead under that, then you certainly must believe in the deal. so i don't have any doubt that the president believes in what he is doing. and i don't have any doubt the secretary believes in what he is doing. i also want to posit the same thing is true on the other side. we've heard a lot of rhetoric out of the white house that republican opposition is simply partisan obstructionism. they were singing a little different tune six weeks ago when trade promotion authority got passed overwhelmingly by republican votes to give what the president to that point had been his biggest foreign policy victory of the year. and frankly, if he negotiates successfully deals and transpacific partnership and the equivalent agreement with our european friends, it will probably be overwhelmingly republican votes that pass that if he chooses to submit an agreement. so to suggest the republicans
aren't willing to support the president simply because there is a partisan difference is wrong. i think they have demonstrated -- or isn't kret correct. they have demonstrated repeatedly they're willing to support him if they think he is right. which i assume is true for our democratic members who opposed him on the trade issue because they thought he was wrong. i don't doubt their motives. but they didn't support, quote, the president for partisan reasons. i would hope they would grant we're not opposing him today for partisan reasons. there are a lot of things about this agreement that cause me a great deal of concern. mr. chairman, i want to adjust my first question to you. there have been all sorts of news reports about secret side deals between iran and the international atomic energy agency. have those agreements been fully to those agreements been fully the country. does the administration even have detailed knowledge about those agreements? >> i have asked for those
agreements in writing, the two side agreements, and no. we have not received them, mr. cole. >> in your opinion, could those agreements materially impact whether or not this is a good agreement or not? >> if we go to the issue of self-inspections, i had always presumed that international inspectors would be doing the international inspections. and given the erosion of the original concept of anywhere, any time inspections to first 24 hours, and then as michael hayden, former head of the cia explained, into a position where it becomes a political decision, not a technical one, in which iran has a say, russia has a say, china has a say in terms of access, i think a debate about
that mechanism for verification is one that could have an impact ovuzt members' decisions, about whether or not this will be effective in preventing iran from obtaining a weapon. >> would -- is there any reason to believe that the international atomic energy agency or the iranian government would make these agreements public, so we would all know what the nature of the inspection regime is, who can come, who can't come, under what conditions? >> and that is why i wrote to the white house asking that they be made public. and i don't see any reason why they shouldn't be so that they can be part of this debate. >> do you know if the administration has asked the international atomic energy agency and the iranian government to make them public? >> i do not know the answer to that. >> i would certainly hope that they would. and if they haven't, to this point, that they do. let me move to another part of the agreement that we know a little bit more about.
and that's the easing of sanctions in terms of the financial windfall that will come the iranian regime. as i understood it when we initially announced and the president initially announced our objectives in the negotiations, things were supposed to be linked so that as confidence was accumulated, that the iranians were keeping their word, sanctions would be gradually easing there would be a sort of process of quid pro quo as that unfolded. is that indeed the nature of the agreement today? >> i think one of the things we ran into is the attitude of the military in iran, which early on boasted that they're not going to give access to the military sites for inspection. they're not going to have that in their dreams, to quote the irgc leadership. so what evolved was a situation where because we weren't going to achieve the original goals
that we sought in terms of -- because it evolved into managed access and then this question of side agreements, iran just held its position and said no, we want all the sanctions lifted. and the very real question is how then do you verify that iran is keeping its side of the agreement? as michael hayden said, the worry we always had was not just the facility we might want to look at, but all the facilities where they might be doing additional work that we couldn't gain access so. so we end up with self-inspections on the iranian side of the equation, and we end up giving ground in terms of lifting the sanctions without having that verification. so i think it goes right to the conundrum that you point out, mr. cole. >> let me -- and you alluded to this.
can you give us some idea of what the people in the region, the effect of friends and allies of the united states, what has their reaction been? >> i received a call from the ambassador from the uae who indicated that their government was no longer -- no longer felt bound by the agreement which we call the gold standard on nonproliferation, which the uae had signed. and he indicated to us that in his words, your worst enemy has achieved this right to enrich. it's a right to enrich now that your friends are going to want too. and we won't be the only country. so i've heard a critique of this on an ongoing basis. myself and my ranking member
have had lunch with the representative of saudi arabia. we've heard from the leadership of all five political parties, main parties in israel, from labor, from the center left, from center right, we've heard from the governments in lebanon about their concern. let me just frankly say that as this process went along, we heard concerns from those in the region who feel that iran might become the hedgemon in that region, especially with the lifting of sanctions. we heard their worries about the lifting of sanctions. >> so that could suggest that this could easily ignite an arms race of sorts in the middle east from our friends who feel somewhat abandoned or at least vulnerable. >> we've had much testimony, mr. cole, before the committee about those who are concerned, that we had a nonproliferation regime to which now iran has carved out an
exception. and what then will be the reaction? we already know the reaction from the united arab emirates, from that conversation the ambassador had with me. but who else will follow down that road? and that is why it's very important when you have a negotiation to remember that the end goal here is to have something which really could control the right to enrich and also the verification. >> one of the things that concerns me about this. i'll try to be quick, because i know my colleagues have many questions too. we hear a lot of comparisons between the reagan negotiation with the old soviet union and this one. and it strikes me that the key difference was at reykjavik, ronald reagan got up and walked out. he said the deal isn't good enough. and lo and behold, we had a deal later that was good enough.
unfortunately, i think that critical moment was probably in april of this last year when the deadline for the negotiation was up. and i think had the president said everybody's negotiated in good faith. we just can't agree, but we're9a leaving but the sanctions of course stay. if you want to change your mind and call, we'd be happy to come back to the table and sit back with you and see if we can find a way forward. i think that was really a critical order. if you're extending the deadline, you're the guy making the concessions. >> mr. cole, they think was a fundamental error in judgment. because instead by lifting at a time when iran was on the ropes, by lifting sanctions by $700 million a month, that gave iran the breathing room then and the confidence to believe that if they waited this out, maybe they did not need to give concessions. and it was not just on that front, but also the transfer of, you know, the gold sales from turkey. there were areas where iran was
beginning to test, to see what would we do to prevent iran from busting sanctions. and in a situation like that, if you don't do what reagan did, you know, show your resolve, as he showed his resolve in walking away from reykjavik until he got a better deal, if instead you give in and you start to lift the sanctions and you say okay, you've got the right to enrich in the meantime, fair deal would have been to say okay, you shut down your enrichment and we'll give you something in return. but ultimately out of that unfortunate situation we lost the pressure for the right to enrich. but it wasn't just that we lost in the negotiation. because as we went forward, we got rolled on every one of those four issues that i raised. and then amazingly, at the 11th hour, russia came to iran's side in this debate and said by the
way, we also want the arms embargo itself lifted on icbm technology as well as regular conventional arms. and they got that in the negotiation. risks you aware -- and this would be speculative, and you might not be able to answer definitively. but i appreciate your opinion on it because it's well informed. were there any gains from april that we signed the deal in july? did the deal somehow get better for us? i can certainly see a number of ways it god better along the way or to the iranians. it's very different from the objectives that the president announced at the beginning of the negotiation. but are there areas that we seem to get the upper hand in if any? >> mr. cole, i did not see any areas where i felt we were gaining ground. and this goes to the issue that i and mr. ingle and my committee brought up in the prior congress when we suggested that if we had additional leverage on iran, if we had passed that legislation,
which would have cut iran's access, you know, to its financial sector and actually give the ayatollah that tough choice between real compromise on his nuclear program or economic collapse, that that was the leverage we needed at a time when iran was fighting a real financial problem with hyperinflation, very high unemployment, the price of oil going down. that was the time to leverage. but the administration did not want to put that additional leverage on. and despite a bipartisan vote of 400-20 in the house, they blocked that legislation in the senate. so i think we lost our opportunity to leverage for what we needed in the agreement. >> well, i'm going yield back time. >> mr. -- sir, before you. >> certainly. i would be happy. >> because i've got the answer to one of your quirks yes, ma'am. >> my intrepid staff back here has given this to me. about the question about the
side agreements with iaea, there is no secret side deal hiding loopholes to the nuclear agreement with iran. iran has the same sort of agreements with iaea that the united states has. iran is a party to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. so it has so-called and quote safeguards agreement with the iaea that contains among other things verification protocols agreed to by iaea and iran. the iaea has these safeguard agreements with 180 countries, including us. we have one of our own. each one of them are separate. these extremely sensitive agreements, including the usa's agreement with iaea are all confidential because if they were public, none of the 180 countries would agree to iaea oversight. if lawmakers from iran ask the iaea to see the safeguards agreement with the united states, the iaea director
general amano would say no, and he did the same when he told our lawmakers that he could not show them iran's agreement. >> reclaiming my time. >> thank you for yielding. >> absolutely. >> i would just point out there is a big difference between the united states which hasn't violated the nonproliferation agreement and iran that has repeatedly violated. that's why there was a negotiation. because they had been in violation repeatedly on this. so the idea that they should have the same treatment as people who have kept their immigrant and kept their word is suspect to me. regardless, at the end of the day, you know, i think it has to be made available, because this is all about a country that has repeatedly broken its word and not kept its commitments. so that would suggest you need to have a little extra insurance
on our side. >> have it unilaterally. >> i didn't say unilaterally. i think the iranian government frankly ought to disclose it. i think the iaea in this case, it's a little different. this is a country that has broken its agreement. so we're saying should it have all the privileges under this that everybody has that keeps their word. and i'm sorry. i just don't have that kind of confidence in the people in tehran, the regime. so that's my concern. let me yield back, if i may. but i just want to thank my friend the chairman. and i want to thank your ranking member as well for the manner which you both have conducted yourself through this. and the hearing. it's been informative. it's been helpful to those of us that are not on your committee. and again, look forward to hearing more in the days ahead. so with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> chair, thanks to the gentleman. the chair yields back.
the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. >> thank you very much. let me say from the outset i support this deal. and i think it's a good deal. for one important reason, it blocks all of iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon. that's what this deal was supposed to be about. in this negotiation, by the way, stopped the progress on iran's nuclear program. if it wasn't for this negotiation iran would probably have the bomb by now. and then we would be talking about some really awful alternatives here today. i just also think it's worth repeating that all 15 members of the u.n. security council and the six members of the gulf cooperation council including saudi arabia also support the agreement as the most effective method in preventing a nuclear armed iran. and i'd like to ask unanimous content to put in the record a letter signed by more than 100 american ambassadors, including five former ambassadors to israel in support of the deal. i'd like to also issue a consent
to put in support a record that was sent to all of us by 77 nuclear nonproliferation experts who have been advisers to both republican and democratic administrations. >> without objection. >> also, a letter we should have received from 32 of the nation's top scientists, including nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former white house science advisers who wrote a letter in support of this deal. and also a letter that was sent to us by 4,100 u.s. catholic sisters throughout the united states in support of this deal. look, i don't trust iran. i think this -- i think the verification measures in this agreement are solid. and i think that's reflected by the expert opinion that is coming out in support of this deal. i also should just say for this record, i don't trust iran, i don't think the iranians have a lot of trust for us either. and when you look at our history
in iran from a cia overthrow of their government in the 1950s to our collaboration with our then friend saddam hussein in the late 1980s when we shared intelligence with him which he then used to use sarin gas against iranian soldiers. i mean, i think there is a lot of history with us that provides a lot of skepticism in iran with regard to anything we do. so neither of us trusts one another. and that is precisely why we need an agreement like this that is verified. and i think the administration deserves credit. and look, i think everybody on this committee has made up their mind on how they're going to vote on this. i think the point of this committee is to make sure that there is ample time for robust debate so that everybody can make their views known and engage in that debate. and i surely would support that i hope we have as much debate as
humanely possible. because i think it is important for people on both sides to be able to state their opinion. but, again, i would close by saying, you know, i'm going to proudly support this agreement and vote against the resolution approval because i think it's in the interests of the united states. i think it is in the interests of israel. i think it is the interests of the world to prevent iran for getting a nuclear weapon. and i think this is our best chance of getting it. wand that i yield back my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair thanks the gentleman. thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for being with us for so long this evening. it's easy to listen to your testimony and thank that your mind is made up about this issue and has been made up about this issue. i know you will not toot your own horn. but it's not as if you just focused on this in 2015. you did lead 80% of this house in trying to get a better -- encouraging the president to get
a better agreement this year. but you did that very same thing last year. and you did that very same thing in 2013. it has been year after year after year after year that you have been trying to be a productive force in this conversation. i want to read just in case other folks won't, your letter from this year that, again, on behalf of more than 80% of the house said we hope the administration is able to achieve a lasting and meaningful agreement. to suggest that this is a happy day for folks disagree with so many of the president's policies is -- is far from true from day one on issues of international concern. you have tried to be a partner with this white house and lead the white house. and again, done so on behalf of the vast majority of this congress. i'm much less concerned about the so-called 24-day clock on known sites. i'm concerned about the 24-day
clock on unknown sites. when you talk about a meaningful agreement, when we talk about the iaea, if i go back to your letter from 2015 you site that the iaea was looking for 12 different sets of information from iran. and at the time that you penned that letter, iran had only complied with one of those 12 requests. it's not as if the history of noncompliance is something from the 1970s or the 1980s. it's from spring of 2015 and is ongoing. as i read the agreement, and again, what this congress asked for was a meaningful and long lasting agreement we can discard long lasting because ten years is ten years. and we no long lasting is not here. in terms of meaningful, when an unknown site is identified, the u.s.ifieds this through our intelligence committee. we go to the iaea, this third party group and say we believe there is something worth looking at here. what happens? what happens next?
>> and that's part of our concern here. because this now becomes a political decision rather than a technical decision. you would hope that the iaea would simply have the right then to go inspect the site. but having had the precedent already set that, you know, core samples are going to be taken by the iranians themselves and turned over to the iaea, what that means is in the future, you're going to have not that anywhere, any time inspection. not that 24-hour inspection, but you'll have at the outset a 24-day process, a process in which the iranians are going to have a say, in which russia and china will have a say. out of the seven-party deliberations, which will occur. and if one of the european partners decide it's not worth it to press the issue of violations because it might
force a reimposition of sanctions, they'll have their fourth vote out of seven. so this is constructed in such a way in my judgment as to be of maximum advantage to the military in iran. and the other point i would make is that yes, it's easier to get access to civilian sites, but it was always the military sites where we were most concerned. because it was always the military sites where like parchon, they had done their bomb work in the past. and it was the military sites they were most vociferous about never allowing international inspectors in. so yes, they'll try to self-police those sites. and they'll do so apparently without coming clean on the 12 questions that were asked. they answered as you said the first part of one of those questions. but the rest of the answers they refused to give. to date, anyway. so how do we know how far they have gotten on their bomb work?
the original insistence, one of the reasons we pushed this whole case was to try to get those answers. and for them to come out the other side of this agreement without coming clean on what they have done in their development of their foundation for their nuclear program is beyond me signing off on something like that. so there is another side agreement where the iaea apparently will reach some kind of a concurrence with iran. but one which will not printed. and again, to go back to the point, the reason iran is being treated differently i would say is because there aren't too many states in the world where the ayatollah or the head of state attends rallies in which they say yes, death to america. death to israel, and so forth. >> mr. chairman, i just want to be on the record.
chairman royce from the very beginning tried to bring us together around this issue at every opportunity. he tried to play a constructive role in this. and to have him now as the lone witness sitting at the table having to speak out against this agreement because it fails to meet those important goals that he set out early on in cooperation with all of us is disappointing. i would argue if we had more chairman royces in congress, we had more folks trying to play that productive bipartisan, collaborative role up-front, ewould have fewer contentious rules committee meetings. and it is so disappointing to have seen so much work and so much opportunity lost in this particular moment. i thank the chairman. i yield back. mr. chairman? >> thank you so much. and let the record reflect we do appreciate the gentleman being here, taking his afternoon, and will continue this push to see if we can get you on one vote
tonight. and we're about halfway through that but we'll keep you informed accordingly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'll welcome back all 12 of the members. i apologize for not being here earlier. i stated my opposition to this agreement throughout the summer. and there are a plethora of reasons. and i won't bore all you, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee or anyone else. but i'm at the point now where i believe that we would be wise to consider what to do after this agreement is in force. and so beginning in july, i wrote to the president calling for a high level military person to be involved in monitoring the monitors of the inspections or regime.
and toward that end, i believe it would be helpful if staffers from the relevant committees, particularly energy, foreign affairs, the state department, the defense department would be sequestered to such an individual or individuals for purposes of attending to just that. one of the things that offends me highly is the fact that no american citizen is going to be directly involved in the inspections or regime. and i don't think that's right. and that is not even close to a reason. it's among the reasons that i choose to oppose this. additionally, today i filed legislation introducing a regulation, authorizing military
force against iran if necessary to prevent it from on tang nuclear weapons. too many areas of nebulousness, and i believe in this instance that it would be helpful if iran clearly understood muscularity. and that this president or any successor, if they did not follow along with this agreement would have the authority to take whatever necessary military actions to stop them. i have a variety of reasons. i'll have many opportunities to speak during the course of the week. mr. chairman, my only request would be of the rules committee. and that is that we give sufficient time for there to be a robust debate so that all sides, all members will have an opportunity to offer input. i yield back the balance of my time. >> yes, sir. thank you very much. the gentleman from texas, dr.
burgess. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is unusual when the gentleman from florida and i agree. but i would echo his statement that i hope we allow ample time for debate for this because it is so important. and mr. chairman, i just have to ask you, we have all come home from our districts in august. and the question i got over and over again, why is this -- why is this being handled the way it is and not as would be directed by article 2, section 2, second paragraph, where this would be a treaty subject to the advice and consent of the senate and requiring a 2/3 majority? >> and i would concur that i wish the president would support handling this as a treaty. as you know, though, he is in opposition and will veto a bill that would make it a treaty. which then means the question would be to go to court. and how many years would that take? i don't know.
but if you're asking me in my opinion should he have come before congress to present this as a treaty? i would say yes. and clearly he expressed his opposition to it and let us know that if we tried to move in that direction, it would be vetoed. and so that leaves us where we are today. >> but it is -- it is extremely unfortunate. it certainly points up the wisdom of the founders who purposefully structured this type of arrangement so that it would be difficult, and you would have to convince 2/3 majority in the senate. and as mr. cole pointed out, this has 2/3 majority opposition amongst the people when you look at the polling across the country. and certainly what i heard, and i'll just report to you from the 26th district of the great state of texas, it was uniformly opposed to what is being
proposed in this agreement. >> dr. burgess, if i could respond to that, there is one indirect positive result of this not being a treaty. it does not have the force of law in the united states. >> so it really only is enforced for the duration of this administration, however long that is? >> that's correct. >> let me just ask you, because, i mean, this is really bothersome to me. there are three americans being held prisoner, a fourth for whom is unaccounted but believed to be in iran. so why -- why wouldn't we structure an agreement where at least there were some certainty that those individuals were being treated fairly and really in a perfect world, they would be repatriated to the united states? certainly the three who are prisoners, the one who is not under the control of the iranian government, i get that. but "the washington post" reporter, the ex-marine, i mean, these guys should be home.
>> and we held hearings on this, raised this with the administration repeatedly. and during those hearings, brought family members, including the sister of that marine. and yes, that young marine who went to visit his grandmother in iran has been tortured. we had hearings on the case of pastor abedini, a christian pastor whose crime was merely to gather people to study the bible. he has been tortured. his wife testified before us. jason, "the washington post" reporter, as you know worked for a better understanding of the iranian people. if you read his columns, it's -- you can't figure out what the objection would be. because it was simply people-to-people reporting. and yet he languishes, you know, in jail, and just went through a show trial.
robert levenson, i don't think we've heard about his whereabouts since 2007. he is the american longest held as a hostage. but holding hostages is not something new for the iranian regime. >> you know, i just -- i wasn't there. i watched it on television. but at the white house correspondents dinner, the president gave a rather impassioned talk about how "the washington post" reporter should be returned and released by the iranian government. i mean, did that -- was that just a speech? does that not carry any weight? >> you weight? >> sometimes how a ruzeme its own people is a good indication it will treat others. as i said earlier, you have 2,500 people who were killed this year because of religious differences, because they were, you know, some other minority religion, which the regime takes exception to. or killed because, you know,
they spoke out about religious freedom. so we're dealing with absolutists with respect to the ayatollah and other clerics running that country. and despite bipartisan calls from congress, we didn't demand the release of these four americans prior to this agreement. in my judgment, we should have. >> now, the commander of the force, who was responsible, if i recall correctly on several trips to iraq it was well-known there was an iranian general who was -- iranian commander who was involved in the creation or construction of vehicle borne explosive devices, and individual explosive devices, the type of wiring and copper that was used pretty much points to this individual. after a period of time, he gets, in fact, a no build by anyone
and is free to do whatever he wants. is that correct? >> they have been lifted. while it's still a violation. there's every indication that he flew to moscow and had meetings with senior russian leaders, including president putin as well as the defense minister of russia. he is credited with the death of over 500 americans. he has a long, long list of terrorist activity in charge of assassinations outside of iran and of military operations outside of iran. the irgc carries out the operations inside, the kudz force is outside. that could include the forces that helped overthrow yemen, as well as he personally led an attack into israel with the hezbollah unit. he's credited with doing that.
he has been in syria, in iraq, you get a sense of just what kind of a danger this individual is. you can only imagine the types of weapons he wants to get his hands are. >> one of those will be an intercontinental delivery device. i want to thank you spending time with us today. this has caused me to dust off the copy of the art of the deal. a lot of people refer to this as a deal. this isn't a deal, this is a gift. a gift from the administration to the ayatollahs and the mullahs in iran. it should be defeated and turned back. we should treat it as a treaty. if you can't convince 2/3 of the senate to be with him. that's the end of that. thank you mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i know we have four or five other committee members that would wish to speak with you. what i'd like to do is to allow you a chance, if i could to go down and vote.
we have not given you that chance and for you to come back. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> if you could do that, we'll stay right here and have a brief discussion. we'll let you do that and wait for you to return, please. the committee wants to welcome a man from dallas texas, from princeton, university, the class of 2017. i want to thank him for being pin attendance. and also a member of my staff, renee, texas a&m class of 2016. i want to thank her for taking time to be here today. both these interns from princeton and institute of higher learning, texas a&m we want to welcome and thank you for being here. today, what we've done is we've
allowed ourself a chance to look at the deal that the president as a result of the corker bill, will -- we're looking at a disapproval act. i know that we have two other members of congress that are here and would be ready, i believe, one of them, the gentlemen, mr. gomert from tyler, texas, would be seeking and is seeking to be a member who would come and give testimony. mr. gomert i want you to know that we have received your amendment in the nature of a substitute that would -- we would engage you on. and i'm sure that she would use this time if she would choose to entertain this opportunity, the gentlewoman from new york, if she would choose to enter that into the record. >> i think we did that -- >> has that been done already?
i'm sorry. i was gone for a minute. we're trying to burn 30 seconds. the gentlewoman has placed the statement of administrative policy -- i want to thank her very much for doing that. and so what we're going to do here is wait for mr. royce to come back. i want to thank the committee for not only their indulgence in allowing us to meet today, but we did not have the opportunity as a result two of our witnesses needing to leave and then mr. royce needing a chance to go down and vote. the chance for us to wait here for just a minute for mr. royce going back. we will then go to the gentlemen from ohio. and then on down the dias and we
note that the gentleman, the chairman of the committee ran down and he's running back. chairman royce, i want to thank you very much. the gentlemen from columbus, ohio, the gentleman -- >> thank you, mr. chairman and i appreciate chairman royce running that was like watching the ohio state game last night you ran so fast. i appreciate you being here. you know, in congress, we set forward committees to create experts on lots of different areas. you've spent a lot of time in foreign affairs, as has your ranking member. i'm sorry we don't get the advantage of having him here today to talk about his perspective on this nor any other members from your committee. the other two minority members that were here, do they serve on your committee? >> no. >> do they serve on the
intelligence committee by any chance? >> well, maybe in the distant past they may have. >> okay. but clearly not -- they're not getting the benefit of the current briefings and the current situation. has -- do you know if ranking member engel has made his position public? i believe he has. >> both on the house side, the chairman and ranking member are both opposed to the iranian nuclear deal. it's the same in the senate. both the ranking democratic member and the chairman of the committee are also in opposition. >> so there is bipartisan opposition to this deal? >> from those, i would say -- from those who have studied this the closest, we do have concerns. >> and i think you've done a great job of outlining those in the previous questions. i won't make you sort of reexplain that for me. but what i would like to talk about is just going forward,
let's assume for a second that the president does have 34 senators that he claims to have and this deal, you know, is going to happen in its current form. can you tell me how important your committee is going to be and the work you're going to do to make sure we pet pressure on the international community and the administration to monitor the situation. as i look at what happened in the north korean deal from 1994, you know, the north koreans talked really nice at the beginning and they signed a deal. in fact, the framework of that deal was very similar to this deal. what was included, what wasn't included. but it came very apparent pretty quickly in a few years they were not going to follow the agreement. tell me what your committee can do going forward to make sure that we get the information about when or if iran might be
cheating, how we can make sure that we have a very vigilant follow up. that's one of the things everybody wants to talk about how colinpowell said it was a good idea. he said what's important is that we follow up to make sure people are doing what they said they'd doing. >> i think the most immediate challenge is going to be presuming for a minute that we don't prevail. i think the media challenge is going to be iran distancing itself from any commitment on arms transfers. because the other day, we saw some of their senior officials say regardless of what's in the un sanctions, that say we've got to wait five years on the arms
embargo and the conventional side, we don't recognize that. so what does the united states do? if we kick iran in the act in the moving a large traunch of missiles, especially the new precision guided missiles they claim they are going to transfer hes bola. what do we do if hezbollah starts firing them off? these are not going to be the types of missiles and rockets that you can necessarily stop with the iron dome or patriot batteries. these are the new evolution of rockets that iran has been working on. iran is fixated on its ballistic missile system, both long range in terms of those that would be capable of hitting the united states, which, obviously the ayatollah frequently speaks about. but also the intermediate range ones that they will use in the region. and so the question becomes what
are we willing to do to say, look, part of this agreement is that you're not going to transfer that -- those arms, which you're in the process of doing. and, indeed, they're in the process of firing rockets off right now into israel from syria. these are forces, iranian forces. this is why it looks to me like the international community intends to sort of look the other way w. turn a blind eye to the violations, the current violations of the agreement. when i said earlier that iran had cheated on every agreement since 1979, that's the truth. and so i think these are the kinds of issues -- now in terms of how do we catch them now that we've got an agreement that says they are going to do the self-policing basically. international inspectors are not going to be allowed into their
military bases. i don't have a good answer to that. i am very concerned about that. >> i appreciate t. you knit. i want to be clear. i oppose the deal. i think you laid out the reasons why. we need to stay laser focused on the future and how we can plot the best course given wherever we end up here. we need to have a plan. i think your committee is going to be right in the middle of this. i appreciate your leadership on this. and i just leave you with one last question, because the false question of -- that's been laid that it's this or war, i would just ask you, what would be better if you had to have a war, unventional war or nuclear war? >> i'm going to go back to the comment of the chairman of the joint chiefs, he doesn't buy into the premise at all. there's a whole range of options. one of those options which i raised earlier was the fact that we continue to forget, we in terms of the international
market, this country is the 800 pound gorilla. if you give companies a choice between doing business with the united states or only doing business with iran, i'll just quote stewart levy, the former secretary of the treasury. it's a pretty easy choice for any business or any country to make. you know what the answer is going to be. the question is, are we going to impose that. and we've never gotten to the point of really pushing that because we haven't been faced with a situation desperate enough. if we have to, if we have to reimpose sanctions, that is the way to do it. and give countries that choice and give the ayatollah that choice of whether he wants to see total economic collapse or real compromise on his nuclear program. >> gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from georgia, mr.
collins is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. chairman it's good to have you serving on the foreign affairs before this congress. i'm not going to stay long here. it just bothers me as one who, frankly i voted just a few months ago even against this. i felt like we left the moorings a long time ago. it's amazing in the last six to eight months hearing the administration going from we'll never allow them to have nuclear weapons and we'll do everything in our power, well we'll let them get them in a certain timeframe. as one who also served in iraq back in 2008, it really -- the issue with the irg, mr. chairman, concerns me more than anything. and because it's getting sort of lost, i guess in the process of the nuclear agreement and the centrafuges and everything else. what we're doing here is strengthening the iranian irg. we're seeing it happen. we're seeing this take place.
and really, sort of outside the circle of this entire agreement. i'm not sure why we chose to change, why we let this go. this is the part, frankly that i don't believe the world has an answer for. i don't believe this agreement has an answer for. why it was added at the last minute -- i know we talked about it in general here today. but this is the part from your perspective, why was this piece added? why -- besides the fact that it's the biggest gift in my opinion to the iranian regime. the dealings with -- >> the lifting of the arms embargo? >> yes. i think this the countries around that, the biggest concern here. >> this is what held the deal up at the end. it was the introduction of the russians into the equation running interference for iran saying no, you're not going to get a deal. this is all second hand. i wasn't there in the room.
but the russians saying no, yore not going to get a deal unless you -- we lift the sanctions, you know, on arms transfer. now, why would the russians be interested in that? i can tell you, in my opinion, it's because they intend, just as we see evidence of it right now, to make a lot of money by transferring arms to the iranian regime. they know that into the escrow account is going to come $100 billion when this deal is done. and so they have the technical capability, for example, to sell targeting information to the iranians. right now the iranians can send those three stage icbm's up but they can't control where they land. they're not good at that. but i'm going to bet and hypothesize they would be willing to pay an awful lot of money to get that capability. the second thing is conventional
arms. and this gives the russians the capability to transfer conventional arms. also, which, of course, the iranian government and the revolutionary guard corp really need to carry out their operations to assist the houthi rebels whether it's overthrowing yemen, whether it's the low level insurgency they're trying to inspire among the houthis in saudi arabia. where the oil fields are. whether it's in syria where they're firing rockets right now into israel or were a few weeks ago. or whether it's in iraq, whether it's in lebanon where they're trying to strengthen hezbollah and take over lebanon. so they have an agenda where they're in need of hard currency and it's been caught off for a long time. this would give the iranian revolutionary guard corp a real shot in the arm in terms of getting the weapons it needs.
that's why i think it was introduced in the 11th hour. >> i think that's what brings so much concern to the table, that you bring this in, basically held off to the very end when the deal was there and bring this in and the russians of course stepping in. this is the part that anyone who is concerned about israel, anyone that's concerned about the middle east in general in looking at this would say that this agreement, you know, not only just on its face has issues. you made a comment a few minutes ago i think goes back to my heart and why it just distressed greatly the path we went on from the end of last year to this agreement, that was moving away from the sanctions and away from the international capability into -- at a point when you said they have to choose between us and those partners. we had that ability. we let that ability go. for whatever gain which it doesn't seem to be, especially as we get into the details of how it will be inspected and go forward except for political gain or legacy. whatever we want to call it.
it's very disturbing that we had that leverage, we had even an election there that said right after he was elected you've got to go get the sanctions off. we're basically struggling here. and we let it go. i think the history that was spok spoken of earlier, the history will be how did we let this go when we were in a position of power and we went to a position of weakness. i don't want to see this go through h. we'll have to continue to fight this. i appreciate the chairman's vigilance. >> thank you very much, the gentleman from alabama. >> mr. chairman. thank you for you and your staff for the excellent work you've done on this. i serve on the armed services committee. we've been looking at this from our perspective. and the thing that botherers me the most about this is that when we're talking about these things the state department gets to negotiate this, men and women in
the uniforms of the united states of america have to defend against it. i don't think people have been thinking about that. back earlier this year in the armed services committee we heard from the defense intelligence agency. this is not classified so i'm not releasing anything. this is what they told us. the islamic republic of iran continues to threaten u.s. strategic interests in the middle east. iran's actions and policies are designed to further its goal of becoming the dominant regional power as well as to enhance its strategic depth. iran views the united states as its most capable adversary and has fashioned its military strategy and doctrine accordingly. they talk about more specifics about what they're doing. they make this statement, numerous underground facilities reduce the vulnerability of
critical elements of iran's military. so they can hide from us what they're doing, strengthen and make it more difficult for our conventional weapons to reach them. then they go on to talk about nuclear weapons. this national intelligence agency, we continue to assess that iran's goal is to develop capabilities that would allow it to build missile deliverable nuclear weapons. the regime faces no insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon. iran's overall defense strategy relies on a substantial inventory of theater ballistic missiles capable of reaching as far as southeastern europe. iran continues to develop more sophisticated missiles and to improve the range and accuracy of current missile systems. iran has publicly stated it intends to launch a space launch vehicle as early as this year that could be capable of
intercontinental ballistic missile ranges. in july of this year before the senate armed services committee, general dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities. and then earlier this year, the director of national intelligence said we judge that tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons. iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. so from the point of view of protecting the people of the united states, the burden of which falls on those men and women out there in ships today and in airplanes and our wonderful ground forces, let me ask you to confirm or not what general dempsey has posed to us. are these circumstances that we
are relieving pressure on iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities? >> i believe that the chairman of the joint chiefs, as well as the secretary of defense were correct. and i believe it was a blunder. it was a blunder in the final hours of negotiation. and i would maybe credit this to the zeal for the deal. i don't know. but to concur, to concur, with the pressure from russia and iran, to lift the arms embargo, to lift that prohibition, prohibition on assistance with the icbm program as well as their conventional arms, i think that that was not in the interests, securities interests of the united states. >> you would agree that that relieved pressure on iran's ballistic missile capabilities? >> absolutely. because it will allow russia to
operate, for example, with iran on their icbm program in the future. which i don't think under any conditions we should have entertained. >> you know, one of the things that bothers a lot of people about this deal, is that we hear a lot about a lot of people are doing this because they have some special relationship with israel, they want to protect israel. i'm a strong supporter of israel. i make no apologies for that. i oppose the deal because it's bad for the united states of america. they don't need intercontinental ballistic missiles to hit israel. they need icbm's to hit us. and that's their intent. that's what -- these aren't partisan people, the defense intelligence agency. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. the director of national intelligence. these are professionals. and they're all telling us the
same thing, that these icbm's, these ballistic missiles threaten the defense of the united states. >> if i could respond to that, in the words of the ayatollah, in keeping with the point you're making, israel is just the little satan. we are the great satan. in his equation. so i concur with your -- >> will the gentleman yield? >> yes, sir. first of all, i would, again, remind the gentleman, this agreement is about preventing iran from getting a nuclear weapon. which i would like to think we could all agree would be a bad idea. i wanted to pick up something the gentleman said about the decisions that are made by the state department have to be, you know -- the burden falls on our men and women who serve our country in the military. i think this is a good moment to remind everybody here, we talk about our responsibility to our troops, that we are at war right now, not in iran, but in iraq
and in syria. and to the beth st of my knowle, this institution can't get the spine together to actually bring an authorization to the floor and do our constitutional job to take responsibility for what these men and women are now having to deal with. i mean, every day we are engaged in military actions bombing every day, i know the chairman agrees that we ought to have an authorization here. but, i mean, you know, at least on this vote, at least on this issue here, you can vote no. you know, if enough people vote no and the president doesn't get his way. then this can't go forward. we're at war right now, and we don't even talk about it. so i appreciate the concern for our troops, but i wish there was -- >> reclaiming my time, mr. mcgovern. the truth of