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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 9, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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that's the president of the united states. i'd like to point out there are several influential leaders of the president's own party who are opposed to this deal and they include some of this chamber's most expert and respected members in the field of foreign affairs. first of all, the ranking member of the foreign relations committee, senator cardin, to whom i personally express my admiration and respect for his courage. he pointed out in his remarks when he announced he would vote against the -- or for the resolution of disapproval. he said, "the deal legitimatizes iran's nuclear program." "... urpdz this agreement, iran is permitted to be able to enrich to a level that will take them ex-strew manically close to break out, legally." so clearly the junior senator from maryland has made clear that he shares the concerns many of us have expressed that this deal leaves far too much of
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iran's nuclear infrastructure in tact and indeed legitimatizes their nuclear program, something that it was our stated national policy just a short time ago to oppose. and then the senior senator from new york, senator schumer, perhaps one of the members on that side of the aisle whose vote was most anticipated before he announced it. he announced he is for the resolution of disapproval. he says, "... i believe iran will not change. and under this agreement, it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and nonnuclear power." senator schumer makes the point that iran has gotten everything that it wants. they've got a pathway to a nuclear weapon. it's retained its nuclear infrastructure, and it's gotten an elimination of sanctions.
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then there's the former chairman and ranking member of the committee, senator menendez, who announced his decision to oppose this bad deal. he said, "the deal failed to achieve the one thing it set out to achieve -- it failed to stop iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state at a time of its choosing. in fact," he said, "it authorizes and supports the very road map iran will need to arrive at its target." so these are not members of the republican caucus. these are respected members of the democratic caucus, and there used to be a time shall did and -- andthere used to be a time -i hope it returns quickly -- where threats to our national security were treated with bipartisan consensus building. but apparently the president didn't get that memo.
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encouraging folks on that side of the aisle to presumably cut short the debate and hoping the people across america arpts really paying attention to exactly how bad this deal is and how much it makes the world more dangerous rather than safer. so i would just say that i hope our colleagues, even if they will vote for this deal where they will vote against the resolution of disapproval rchtio, ihope they will allow ue the sort of full some debate that this issue deserves and then they will be held accountability, as we will, for our vote either for or against the resolution of disapproval. i note, mr. president, that president obama seems to want to irrigate to himself not even an
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authority that the ayatollah khamenei claims to have. ayatollah khamenei said the iranian parliament will vote on this deal, but the president -- apparently president obama doesn't feel like the united states senate should have the same opportunity that the iranian parliament is going to have to vote on the merits or lack of merits on this deal. so i hope our colleagues across the aisle will rethink their partisan opposition to actually even having an up-or-down vote on the resolution of disapproval. this could well be, as many have said before me, one of the most consequential foreign policy issues to come before us in a long, long time, and we ought to treat it with that or th that sf seriousness. and the american people ought to listen -- and they are listening -- and they will hold all of us
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accountable for our decisions. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i was listening to my friend from texas, and i couldn't agree with you more about the need for us to work in a bipartisan manner to strengthen america's foreign policy. i believe in the independence of congress, and i very much support with senator corker the review that we're doing. i think this is critically important to the american people, and we're having our debate, as we should. i do think, though, that we are an independent branch. when this debate is over, we've got to come together and work in the best interests of america. and i look forward to a broad support in congress to do everything in our power to make sure iran does not become a nuclear-weapon state. and i think we can in a positive way move forward. i mentioned that yesterday when i was on the floor about things that we can do. the and, yes, there is disagreement on whether to vote for or against the resolution of
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disapproval, but i hope there's no disagreement that we need to work together with a broad consensus of congress to give this country its strongest possible position moving forward, whether this agreement is approved or not. with that, mr. president, i would like to yield to one of the important members of the senate foreign relations committee, the junior senator from delaware who has spent a lot of time on this issue. he's been a very constructive member of our committee, very instrumental in the passage of the iran review act, senator coons. mr. coons: thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: mr. president, i rise to discuss one of the greatest threats that we face today in america, a great threat to our vital ally israel and global security, the nuclear am i guess abouts of -- ambitions of iran and the options that remain before us for blocking them. after years of negotiations between the united states, our international partners, and
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iran, the administration reached a comprehensive agreement to freeze and roll back aspects of iran's nuclear program. in exchange for relief from the sanctions that have crippled iran's commitment of our key partners in opposing and enforcing the sanctions that drove iran to the negotiating table also joined in negotiating and ultimately ratifying this deal. thanks to bipartisan legislation that passed this chamber nearly unanimously, congress is now fulfilling its duty to review this deal under the authority of the iran nuclear agreement review act. and a public servant and member of this body, i am grateful for the opportunity to join my colleagues to thoughtfully debate this vital and important issue. as a body, we thee to the american people -- we owe that to the american people. as a senator of delaware, i owe it to participate in a debate on
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far-reaching consequences national just for our country fa for the whole global community. i've dedicated myself to studying and understanding the content and consequences of the deal, and i am grateful to the bipartisan leadership of chairman corker and ranking member cardin in convening more that have than a dozen hearings, to the dozens of experts that came before us both in favor and against the deal to provide with us analysis and insight and to the thousands of delawareans who've reached tout me by phone, e-mail, text, in person to express their strongly held views. mr. president, like many of my fellow delawareans and americans, i am deeply suspicious of iran. the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. i'm also deeply suspicious of iran's intentions for its nuclear program, given its long record of cheating on past deals
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and of consistently expressing virulently anti-american, vent semitic and anti-israel views. iran is a dangerous regime that is today dangerously close to having enough fissile material to build a bomb. a nuclear-armed iran would be a profound throat our nation's security and our interests around the world as well as the security of our ally israel and all of our partners in the middle east. in response to these undeniable realities, we have successfully built a global coalition over the past decade united in their determination to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. they, too, see clearly the threat of a nuclear-armed iran. bipartisan actions by congress and the administration to enact and force sanctions have brought us to this point, where our major european allies, as well as russia and china, countries with which we often disagree, have all signed off on a
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comprehensive agreement to roll back and restrain iran's nuclear program. our challenge that we are discussing here on the floor today is whether to move ahead with our partners in this deal or to turn aside from it and attempt to seek a stronger deal. from the day it was announced, this agreement has been sharply criticized by many in congress and by the leaders of our vital ally israel. after a close reading of this lengthy and compleesm agreement, i, too, have deep and persistent concerns about this deal. if iran simply complies were the plain language of this deal, it will first gain tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief that it will likely use to support its rogue regimes and that will make it more resilient to future sanctions. most importantly, the deal leaves in place key nuclear facilities and programs that over 10 to 15 years or more will
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allow iran to develop a large-scale uranium enrichment capability that could be used to quickly make material for nuclear weapons if it decides to violate this agreement and the nonproliferation treaty. to look at those realities and not recognize them as significant challenges or flaws would be to miss the core content of this deal. on the other hand, the agreement achieves several critical goals that could not be easily achieved by any other means that freeze or rolls back their ambitions. iran must give up 97% of its existing stockpile of 12 tons of enriched uranium. it must disable two-thirds of their 19,000 centrifuges and permanently restructure its heavy-water reactor at irk so it can no longer produce weapons-grade plutonium. i have heard no questions or challenges to the technical
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aspects of these significant accomplishments in the deal. most important in my mind, iran has agreed to thorough, intrusive, around-the-clock inspections of all of its declared an known nuclear sites, uranium mines, mills, centrifuge production and uranium enrichment facility for 15 years and more. iran pledges under this agreement to develop or acquire a nuclear weapon and the u.n. has ratified a unique arrangement under which the u.s. alone is able to reimpose sanctions on iran for cheating on this deal at any point. our own inteel generals community confirms that the option of military action against iran remains available at all times and will only be strengthened by the additional significant intelligence we will likely gain through regular inspections of their nuclear infrastructure. mr. president, while many americans, including thousands in high home state, have expressed strong opinions about
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this agreement and while i, too, agree with many criticisms of this deal, none of of us know with certainty what will happen if instead congress rejects this agreement. will the strength of the u.s. banking system and our unilateral sanctions genuinely be strong enough to force our key allies and iran back to the negotiating table? is it possible to negotiate a stronger deal than this or will the nations that have dead indicated years a-- dedicated years along with us now abandon sanctions and proceed without us to implement the deal with iran, simply isolating us rather than iran? meetings and discussions i've held with ambassadors of our key partners as well as with leaders in financial policy, foreign policy, have ultimately persuaded me that we are unlikely to be able to reimpose effective multilateral sanctions and re-gorkt our way to a better -- re-gorkrenegotiate our way tr deal. former secretary of the treasury paulson and former chairman of
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the fed board volume kerr have reached the-- the-- volcker have reached the same conclusion. last woke i delivered an address at the university of delaware in my home state to explain in more detail why i have ultimately decided to support this deal and today, mr. president, i'm here to speak to my colleagues in the senate because i believe strongly this floor must be a place of vigorous, spirited, and honest debate. though nearly every one of my colleagues, perhaps all of my clerks have made their arguments, announced their decisions and positions and discussed their conclusions. as i have in my home states and as many others have with the media, i still believe we cannot ignore this floor as an important place for debate and discussion. i think it's particularly important on an issue that has always in the past garnered such strong and bipartisan support, as our nation's enduring spiewrt for israel -- support for
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israel. mr. president, let me be clear about my position and where i stand. i will support this agreement. and vote against measures to disapprove it in this congress. i will support this agreement because it puts us on a known path of limiting iran's nuclear program for 15 years with the full support of the international community. the alternative, i fear, is a scenario of uncertainty and isolation. finally, i will support this agreement despite its significant flaws because it is the better strategy. the united states to lead a coalesced global community in containing the spread of nuclear weapons. i support this deal aware of its flaws, and i am committed to working tirelessly with my colleagues to overcome the limitations of the agreement, ensure the security of israel and to contain and deter iran's ambitions. that's why i did not make my final decision to support this deal until i secured, to me, valuable additional commitments from the administration including a letter from the
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president offering specific reassurances across seven different areas, including that our allies and other members of the p-5 plus 1 will stick by us in strictly enforcing this deal even as their economic engagements with iran grow, and that we will continue to aggressively and by all means necessary address iran's support for terrorism and its proxies, and that our commitment to israel's security will remain unshakeable. moving forward, i hope to work with colleagues to focus on strengthening israel's conventional military deterrent against iran, to vigorously interdicting, encountering iranian support for proxies, to strengthening the nonproliferation treaty so that in 15 years iran leaves one cage the ycpoa and enters another in developing a clear and thorough plan that their european allies for active enforcement, to enact
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a policy of zero tolerance of iranian cheating on the agreement. thereare few votes in the senatt will have as much consequence to israel and the security of the nation as this one. i'm voting for this agreement not because i think it's perfect or becausible it is the perfect mechanism to end nuclear proliferation. i'm voting for it because i think it is the most credible opportunity to lead a global community in containing a profound nuclear threat while preserving america's ability in the future to use economic power and military might to successly dismantle iran's nuclear program should diplomacy fail. my support for this agreement also represents a statement about u.s. leadership, of an international system based on institutions that we developed following the second world war, to help bring about a rules-based international system of mutual security. the united nations and the iaea
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were established following the great conflict of the second world war to help prevent the spread and threat of nuclear war. we, the united states, helped lead the establishment of these institutions just as we have lead the international community to reach this deal to limit iran's nuclear program. while neither our current international system nor this deal with iran are perfect, they represent the collective will of our narveght -- international partners and a vision for america's place in the world for which i will fight. while we reserve the right to use force if necessary to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, we should uphold the international system that we helped create. and to do so, we should support this deal. the legitimacy of this order is yet another reason we must ensure adequate oversight and verification for this nuclear deal because its failure will be a blow to the international system which gave it birth. in closing, mr. president,
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scripture offers us many stories. nn genesis, deuteron ni, to isaiah and the gospels in which we are encouraged to pursue diplomacy before resorting to conflict. i supported this agreement in no small part as an attempt toed that add is -- to heed that advice. we cannot trust iran but this deal based on strong multilateral concurrency i have concluded prevents -- presents the best opportunity to prevent a nuclear iran. i support this deal with eyes wide open and i will remain committed to working with ply colleagues to minimizing the negative consequences and ensuring we reap the maximum benefits of this agreement. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i want to thank senator coons.
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i know he went through a very deliberative process in reaching his conclusion. i know of his commitment of preventing iran from having a nuclear weapon capacity, his strong support for regional security in the state of israel. and i just really know the process he went through because we had many conversations during the august recess. and i just -- i know that his statement is heartfelt, and i know that he did what he thought is best. and i just really wanted to underscore that and thank him for his counsel and friendship. mr. president, i'm going to yield to senator kaine. before i do that, i think it's important to point out that we are here today in this review in a very open, transparent way in large measure because of senator kaine. senator corker filed a review statute now several months ago. through conversations with senator kaine, he was able to get a framework that ultimately led to the passage of the iran
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review act by a 98-1 vote on the floor of the united states senate. i was proud to be part of that effort working with senator corker. but it would not have been possible without senator kaine. he was the one who recognized that we need to find a common path, a nonpartisan path, for a transparent review that protected not just the role of the united states congress, but the executive, legislative branch. and i applaud him for those efforts. senator kaine is a very valuable member of the senate foreign relations committee, one of our most trusted members in so many areas of foreign policy, and i'm proud to have him as my friend and colleague. and i yield the floor to senator kaine. the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: thank you, mr. president. thank you to my ranking member and friend, the senator from maryland for those kind words. i'd like to first unanimous asks consent for michael pasqual, a fellow in my office, to have floor privileges for today's
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session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaine: i rise to discuss this debate, the iran deal. we've not had a national security issue during my time in the senate that has received so much attention on the floor, in committees, and on the floor of this body, and that's appropriate. the debate has been and will continue to be thorough and vigorous. i respect the views of my colleagues regardless of how they will vote on this matter. i want to spend a few minutes recapping why i support the deal. i did speak on the floor early in august. since that time a number of leaders have come out in support of the deal. former senators john warner, richard lie gar, sam nunn -- richard lugar, sam nunn, general brent scowcroft, general colin powell. and after i talk about my reasons for support, i want to address three final points. one, the republican argument on the floor today that it's wrong to have a 60-vote threshold for a vote on a resolution of disapproval. two, the arguments that vice president cheney made against
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the deal yesterday. and finally, the place of vigorous diplomacy as a tool of american strength. first quickly to recap why i support the deal. i support it because it's better than the status quo for 15 to 25 years. i don't compare it with a hypothetical alternative. you can create a hypothetical to justify your position. let's just talk about the status quo. before diplomacy started, iran had rocketed ahead 19,000 centrifuges and 12,000 kilograms of enriched uranium, a plutonium processing facility under construction and we had very few inspections. the system was very opaque. that was the status quo. the best description of the iranian status quo was the description that prime minister netanyahu made to the u.n. in september of 2012. that was a speech known because he drove bomb dialogue and that sort of cartoon was known. but if you go into the guts of the speech, he gave the description of where the iranian program was. and then he concluded and he said this: i want to thank the
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international community because the sanctions you have imposed together have hurt the iranian economy. but -- and here is the quote -- "we have to face the truth. the sanctions have not stopped the iranian nuclear program. " there is a pretty good argument that the sanctions accelerated the program. if we go back to the status quo, it's an accelerated program with 19,000 centrifuges and enough enriched uranium for multiple weapons. what we get with this deal for 15 years disabling two-thirds of the centrifuges, for 15 years rolling back enriched uranium to 300 kilograms, not even enough for one weapon, for permanently disabling the plutonium facility. for 25 years enhanced inspections, more than any nation has to comply with. we get in this deal much better than we would have with the status quo that existed before diplomacy, and that's why i support it. the second point, the argument about the 60-vote threshold. i am surprised to hear arguments on the floor that it's somehow
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wrong to use a 60-vote threshold on this bill. when i was in my first few years in the senate and in the majority the 60-vote threshold was used on everything: immigration, minimum wage, turning off the sequester. sometimes we expeeded -- exceeded the 60-vote threshold. there was an insistence we need to get to 60 votes. i can't think of a single issue of importance in my first two years in the senate where the 60-vote threshold wasn't invoked. as my ranking member, senator cardin mentioned, i was one of the coauthors of the review act under which we're proceeding. the act was clear and understood by all that action in the senate to pass either a motion of approval or a motion of disapproval, either one would be by a 60-vote threshold. we talked about this explicitly in committee. we talked about it before the vote on the floor. and we voted in favor of the act by a 98-1 margin.
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i think the majority party, the current majority party understood that as was indicated in the letter of 47 under the leadership of iran, it was stated very plainly we would understand this possible a three-fifths, 60-vote, that's what happens in the senate. we shouldn't change the rules now. the debate has been full, vigorous and fair. we spent a lot of time on this and we're going to spend more, and that's appropriate. there's now a complete accountability because all 100 senators have declared exactly where they are in the position. we should stick with the agreement we made just a few months ago and treat this resolution of disapproval under a 60-vote rule. point three, the vice president's arguments yesterday. and i respond to them because i think vice president cheney basically made two arguments, and they are the two arguments that had been repeated in different ways on the floor. let me address two main arguments. number one, we can't trust iran. i agree. i think everyone on the democratic side agrees. and there's nothing about this deal that involves trust.
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that's why we've insisted that iran subject itself to intrusive inspections by the iaea for 25 years and then following that to the additional protocol inspections required of all members. the iaea inspections, 130-plus inspectors in the country will enable us to catch iranian cheating and give us the intel that will be incredibly helpful if we need to take military action against them. it is that inspection's intel that caused our two former colleagues, senators john warner and carl levin, chairs of the armed services committee to write an article recently why hawks should support the iran deal. because inspections give us intel which increase the credibility of our military threat. the vice president's response to this, interestingly enough, is wait, we can't trust iaea inspections. they're going to do it wrong. they have the wrong protocol so we can't trust them. folks, that argument has been made in this body before by the vice president and others.
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the vice president cheney promoted that we go to a war with iraq, and he repeatedly made the case in 2002 and 2003 that we had to do that to stop iraq's nuclear weapons program. two weeks before the war began, in early march, the iaea issued a report indicating -- quote -- "we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in iraq." the vice president then went to the airwaves with others and led a campaign to trash the credibility of the iaea to say that neither the integrity of their inspections or their accuracy could be trusted. and after that, we entered into war against iraq, saying that the iaea was wrong, and what did we find? what we found was that the inspectors and investigators and engineers and scientists of the iaea were right, and vice president cheney and others were wrong. we've been down the path before of trying to trash the iaea and
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said they couldn't be trusted, and it was a horrible disservice to america and the world that we didn't give those inspections a chance. we shouldn't go down that path again. the vice president made a second argument yesterday. here's a different and better strategy for dealing with iran. the same strategy that the previous administration followed. heavy sanctions, threats of military force, no diplomacy. but the cheney doctrine didn't work with iran. under that strategy, the iranian nuclear program rocketed ahead, centrifuges, enriched uranium growing by the day. the prime minister of israel, prime minister netanyahu, acknowledged this before the u.n. in september of 2012. and when the vice president was confronted by this, by chris wallace over the weekend on television, he had no answer for it. he couldn't answer for it because the fact of the advance of the iranian program under that cheney doctrine cannot be disputed. i was interested in this speech yesterday when he tried to justify that that strategy had
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worked when they tried it, and again, he ignored it. if we go back to the preferred doctrine of no diplomacy, sanctions and military threat, we're likely to get what we just got before, and that's an acceleration of the iranian nuclear program, and we should not go back down that path. rett mae conclude with a story about my favorite president, harry truman. truman was a bold and courageous wartime president. he fought in world war i as a kaiment. he made tough decisions to use the atomic weapon in japan. he came back to congress and said give military support. he got we got to put troops in north korea. nobody will say harry truman wrs a softie. he had military bonafides. truman also was the president that made sure america was the first nation to recognize the state of israel, and he always held that as one of his proudest accomplishments, and it's one of the reasons that he's my favorite president.
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well, 70 years ago next month -- october 1945 -- president truman did something that seems minor but was really important. he called reporters into his office at the white house. he unveiled that he had redesigned the seal of the presidency of the united states. the seal is the eagle. the seal has the arrows of war in one hand and the olive branches of diplomat diplomacy e other hands. truman had redesigned the seal so that the eagle was turned to face the olive branches of diplomacy before the arrows of war. this wartime president. and he explained, look, i'm a wartime president, and i'll use military force. but american values are such that we should always prefer diplomacy before the military. we've got the strongest military in the world, and as a virginian, i am see proud of it. we use it when needed. i have voted twice in two and a half years in the senate as a
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member of the senate foreign relations committee to use military force, a understand when i cast that vote, it's a very personal one for my state and for me and my family. these votes are the hardest votes we take. but truman believe and i believe it is fundamentally a part of our values that we prefer diplomacy first. and before we use military action, we've got to be engaged in vigorous diplomacy with allies and adversaries if we can see a path to possibly create a more peaceful world. other presidents have reached the same conclusion. president kennedy in negotiating the treaty with the soviet union. president nixon with china. president reagan negotiating against the evil empire, the soviet union, over their nuclear program. and now president obama. our great presidents have realized that diplomacy isn't just for friends, diplomacy is important even and especially with adversaries if you can ease
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a path to -- if you can see a path to a more peaceful world. just as a strong military enhances diplomacy, strong diplomacy enhances our military might. and that's true in this case. if we do a deal, we get an iranian pledge that they will never pursue, develop, or acquire nuclear program, caps on their weapons and inspections forever, they will increase our legal justification to take military action if they break the pledge that's in paragraph one of the agreement. and it will also increase the likelihood that america will have global support if military action is necessary. but what if we walk away from diplomacy now? we lose the military intelligence that inspections will give us. we give up a clear legal justification for military action if, god forbid, we should need tft and we weaning the likelied that other nations will support military action if it's necessary.
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in this case, diplomacy strengthens, not weakens, the american credibility of our military threat. trying diplomacy here will keep the world's world's attention n behavior. walk away about put the world's attention on american negotiatinnegotiating tactics. i believe we should send the message that we value diplomacy as a first action, just as president truman did years ago. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator maryland. mr. cardin: again i want to thank senator kaine for his leadership on the review act and i know his statement and position is heartfelt and one that he comes to with full passion. i'm now pleased to yield to senator sanderses. the two of us came to the united states senate together. we served in the house of representatives. he is one of the most passionate voices in this country, and it is an honor to have him on this
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issue. i yield to senator sanders. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: i thank nigh my frd -- i thank my friend from maryland. i rise to talk about the joint comprehensive plan of action, the agreement that the united states negotiated. i support the agreement and will oppose the resolution of disapproval, as i believe that this approach is the best way forward if we are to accomplish what all of us want to accomplish; that is, making certain that iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, an occurrence which would destabilize the region, lead to a nuclear arms race in the area, and would endanger the existence of israel. it is my firm belief that the test of a great nation with the most powerful military on earth is not how many wars we can
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engage in but how we can use our strength and our capabilities to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way. those who have spoken out against this agreement, including many in this chamber, and those who have made every effort to thwart the diplomatic process are many of the same people who spoke out forcefully and irresponsibly about the need to go to war in iraq. one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of our country. sadly, people like former vice president dick cheney and many of the other neo neo-cons who ph us into war in iraq were not only tragically wrong then, they are wrong now. unfortunately, these individuals
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have learned nothing from the results of that disastrous policy and how it destabilized that entire region. mr. president, i fear that many of my republican colleagues do not understand that war must be a last resort, not the first resort. it is easy to go to war. it is not so easy to fully comprehend the unintended consequences of that war. as the former chairman of the senate veterans' affairs committee, i have talked to veterans from world war ii to iraq, and i have learned a little bit about what the cost of war entails. in iraq and afghanistan, we lost over 6,700 brave men and women and many others have come home without legs, without arms,
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without eyesight. let us not forget that 500,000 veterans of the wars in iraq and afghanistan came back to their families with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury -- 500,000 brave americans. the suicide rate of young veterans is appallingly high. the divorce rate of those who serve is appallingly high and the impact on their children is appallingly high. god knows how many families have been devastated by these wars. mr. president, we should also not forget that many hundreds of thousands of innocent iraqi men, women, and children died in that war, and those whose lives have been completely destabilized, hundreds of those of people whose lives have been totally
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altered, including those who are fleeing that country today, fleeing that country today, with only the clothes on their back as refugees. the cost of war is real, and it is easy to give great speeches about how tough we are, but let us not forget the cost of war on the men and women who serve in our military and people in our countries. yes, the military option should always be on the table, but it should be the last option. we have got to do everything we can to reach an agreement to ensure that iran does not get a nuclear weapon without having to go to war. mr. president, i believe we have an obligation to pursue diplomatic solutions before resorting to military
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engagement, especially after nearly 14 years of ill-conceived and disastrous military engagements in that region. the agreement before us calls for cutting off iran's pathways to the fissile materials needed for a nuclear weapon by reducing its stockpile of uranium by 98% and restricting the level of enrichment of uranium to well below the level needed for weaponized uranium. the agreement requires iran to decrease the number of installed centrifuges by two-thirds, dismantle the country's heavy water nuclear roorkt s reactor t cannot produce any weapons-grade plutonium and commit to inspection and verification by the iaea. only after iran has demonstrated to the international community its compliance with the tenan ts
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of this agreement, the united states and europe union will lift the sanctions. this agreement also contains a mechanism for the snap act of those sanctions if iran does not comply with its obligations. does this agreement achieve everything i would like? no, it does not. but to my mind, it is far better than the path we were on with iran developing nuclear weapons capability and the poe teption -- potential for military invention by the united states and israel growing greater by the day. let us not forget that if iran does not live up to this agreement, sanctions may be reimposed. if iran moves toward a nuclear weapon, all available options remain on the table. i think it is incumbent upon us,
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however, to give the negotiated agreement a chance to succeed, and it is for these reasons that i will support the agreement. thank you. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: is not frr illinois. mr. durbin: how much time is remaining on the democratic side? the presiding officer: 16 1/2 minutes. mr. durbin: thank you very much. mr. president, i don't know that we've faced a debate of this historic importance for 12 years, because it was about 12 years ago that swreeted on the floor -- that voted on the floor of the united states senate on whether to invade iraq. senators don't forget those debates. what's at stake is war. what's at stake are human lives. not only then m the enemy but is
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and those who are friends. i remember that debate very well. there were 23 of us who voted against the invasion of iraq. one republican, lincoln chafee, 22 democracy. -- 22 democrats. at the time we were told by vice president cheney, secretary rumsfeld and others that iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and we had to stop them for fear they would use those weapons against our allies and friends, even against the united states. it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction. none. after the invasion, they scoured the country and could find no evidence of those weapons. the cost of that war -- incalculable. the numbers only tell part of the story. tens of thousands have come home with traumatic brain injury,
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post-traumatic stress disorder. the cost to our treasury -- trillions. that and the war in afghanistan -- incidentally, the longest war in our history -- were efforts in the middle east to try to bring some order to chaos. only limited success emrnled from those efforts after all -- emerged from those efforts after all the costs were paid. those who are quak quick to talk about a military option, should be reminded of the extraordinary cost of that alternative. i have always felt then and now that diplomacy -- diplomacy should be the first effort to try to avoid military action, to try to avoid a war. and that's what this is about. this president, barack obama, decided to make the sanctions regime tougher than ever. to do it, he had to engage
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countries from around the world that depended on iranian oil and were prepared to stop importing iranian oil to punish them until they would come to the negotiating table. he gets absolutely no credit for that from the other side of the aisle, none. but he should. and then he took our major leaders and allies in the world and brought together a p-5 plus 1 coalition. we met with the ambassadors from those countries. it was hard as a student, just an amateur opportunity of history, to sit across the table from the ambassadors of china, russia, the united kingdom, germany, and france and imagine that coalition coming together for any purpose that would serve the united states and the cost of world peace. but they did. p-5 plus 1 came together and entered into serious negotiation in an effort to stop the iranians from developing a nuclear weapon. that was the goal.
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that was the reason for the sanctions. there are many aspects of iranian foreign policy and conduct which are reprehensible to me, even to this day, that don't reach that level of nuclear weaponry. but we ez is focused on nuclear weaponry because we knew that was critical. if iran developed a nuclear weapon, it would threaten our greatest friend and ally in the middle east, israel, as well as other countries in the region that have worked closely with the united states and triggered an arms race on the arabian peninsula which would have been devastating. so we set out to stop that from happening. mr. president, something happened during the course of that negotiation which was unprecedented in the history of the united states. on march 9, 2019, 47 republican senators signed a letter to the ayatollah, the supreme leader in iran. it was a letter that i read over
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and over again and still cannot believe. 47 republican senators on march 9, 2015 open letter to the leaders of the republic of iran in which it basically says we know you're in negotiation with the united states over stopping the development of a nuclear weapon but understand -- this letter makes it clear that this president does not have the last word. that's never happened before. i've asked those who studied the history of this country if there's ever been a time when the united states of america was involved in delicate international negotiations, and a group of senators and congressmen wrote to the other side, to the iranians to tell them think twice before you negotiate with the united states of america. never happened. unprecedented. so for 47 republican senators, they did not want to wait until the agreement was reached or written. they decided in advance to warn
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the ayatollah in iran not to negotiate with the united states or to assume any agreement would be enforceable with congress for future presidencies. what a contrast that 47 republicans would decide in the midst of negotiations to send that letter. what a contrast with the democratic side of the aisle for the last six weeks i've been in touch with my colleagues over here. they're probably tired of hearing from me, talking about this agreement and where they stood. and i know but for a few what they went through. many of them were -- tried to educate themselves on the terms of this agreement because it is complicated. they were talking to experts in the field. one senator came back and spent five hours with the intelligence agencies here in washington to try to understand the complexities of this agreement and how they worked. and after all that time, after all of that reflection, after all that study, these senators announced
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their position. 42 supported the president's position and four opposed. instead of prejudging the agreement or instead of assuming the agreement was bad, they took the time to read it and study it. they took the time to use their responsibility as senators to make sure they understood this historic document. and 42 came out in favor. i will tell you, mr. president, that at this point in history, we have a tough decision to make , whether we as a nation will pursue this agreement in an effort to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon or the alternative. i have yet to hear a critic of this agreement honestly present the alternative. the alternative is obvious. today -- today -- iran owns enough fissile material to make 10 nuclear weapons. the prime minister of israel has warned the world they are only months away from developing a nuclear weapon in iran, and yet
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we hear from the other side of the aisle we should walk away from any inspections, any agreement to stop a nuclear weapon. what is going to happen the next day in iran if that point of view prevails? what happens if this agreement that we've entered into should flounder and fail? the door is closed, no inspectors, no negotiations and iran is on its own. that is not the recipe for a safer world. that is not the recipe for a safer israel. as far as i'm concerned. and that's why i support this. and i'm happy to be joined in my support by leaders like general colin powell, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under a republican president, former secretary of state under a republican president, who has endorsed this agreement. he's told us, don't trust iran,
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mistrust iran, if you will, and verify. and we are going to send in scores of inspectors to verify, inspectors who have access to everything in iran. and if there is a dispute over access, it is one that can be resolved in a matter of days or weeks. i might add that there are telltale pieces of evidence for the development of nuclear weapons that the iranians could never destroy in that period of time. we will know if they have breached this agreement. and in knowing that, we have created the authority within the united nations for the united states alone -- the united states alone -- to reimpose sanctions based on a breach of this agreement by iran. it's an extraordinary agreement. could it be stronger? of course. but when you look back throughout history at the skeptics who've attacked presidents of both political parties, who have tried to reach agreements to create a more peaceful world, this is no
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different. when president ronald reagan literally a matter of the deity of the republican party, decided to sit down and negotiate with mikhail gorbachev over nuclear weapons, the conservative wing of the republican party said he was signing a suicide pact, he was wasting his time and threat nipping the united states. ronald reagan in negotiating with mikhail gorbachev. and the same thing held true when richard nixon decided to negotiate with china. the critics on the right were quick to condemn him. the chinese were sponsoring north vietnamese who were killing american soldiers. there were plenty of reasons not to do it. richard nixon did it with bipartisan support and the world's a better place for that courage that he showed. so at this point, as we bring this aspect of the debate to a close -- i see senator reid is here, who is going to be recognized soon -- we listen
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carefully to those who are critical of this agreement. it turns out not a single republican member of the house or senate is supporting this agreement. not one. not one. it's hard to think back in diplomatic history when it's been such a partisan division within congress on an issue of this historic importance and magnitude. but that shouldn't deter us. working with our allies, we need to move forward with the inspections, with the deadlines and make certain that we do everything in our power to bring peace to the middle east short of war. those who want military action should speak up and say so. i don't. i want to see this done through diplomatic means and i believe that this effort is a good-faith effort to achieve that. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. of the vote that the senate will
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soon take on the resolution to descra prove the joint -- disapprove the joint comprehensive plan of action, or the jcpa, is both momentous and historic. i, along with my colleagues, have carefully and conscientiously reviewed this agreement and we've each applied our independent judgment as to whether or not it achieves the primary objective that the president set out for the negotiations when they began in november 2013. to prevent iran 7 from -- to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. since the conclusion of the negotiations, i reviewed the text of the agreement, attended and participated at hearings of the armed services committee and the banking committee with government witnesses and non-government witnesses. received a series of classified briefings and reached out to rhode islanders for their views. these venues, all of them, provided a full range of views and opinions and were critical in my review in my decision with respect to the jcpoa. in my view, evaluating the jcpoa
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rests on three factors. the first is the sufficiency of the revisions to cut off all iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon. the second is the ability to conscientiously and continuously monitor and verify adherence to the provisions. and, finally, we have to evaluate whether this agreement will leave us in a better position than a rejection of the agreement. this last point, whether the agreement leaves us in a better position than rejecting it, touches on two alternatives suggested by opponents of this proposal. first suggested alternative is that there is a better agreement awaiting us if we simply reject the jcpoa and impose even more stringent sanctions. the second suggested alternative is that without the jcpoa and with the possibility that an enhanced sanctions regime cannot be reconstituted, we can exercise the military option which will be more effective and
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less costly than following through with the jcpoa. for the reasons i will discuss in detail in the course of my discussion today, the jcpoa, in my view, does provide adequate measures to interdict iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon and an unprecedented monitoring and verification regime moving forward. in addition, our national intelligence means will provide further insights into iranian activities. and in this regard, we will be aided by many international partners whose intelligence activities are acutely focused on iran. as such, i believe that the jcpoa, if scrupulously implemented, will accomplish our collective objective of preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and is a better option than the alternatives suggested in lieu of the jcpoa. that is why i intend to support the agreement and will vote against the resolution of disapproval.
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but to begin this discussion, i think it is important to recognize where we were when president obama began his efforts to cut off all iranian pathways to a nuclear weapon. perhaps the most revealing description comes from uzi arhad, who in 2009 was the national security advisor to newly elected benjamin netanyahu. he described iran's nuclear capacity in an interview with an israeli newspaper. in his words -- quote -- "the point of no return was defined at the point as which iran has the ability to complete the cycle of nuclear fuel protection on its own, the point at which it all has the elements to produce fissile material without the dependency of outsiders. iran is now there." and that was in 2009. this was the situation that confronted the president and the world in 2009. to glibly suggest today, as some do, that the international
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community could negotiate iran back after they passed the point of no return to a position of no enrichment is to ignore the reality of iranian efforts, particularly from the year 2000 forward. for example, in 2006, the iranians possessed less than 400 centrifuges in a research facility. by 2009, they had well over,000 centrifuges -- 8,000 centrifuge, together with the central elements of a nuclear program, taken them to the point of no return, as citd -- indicated by uzi rahab. security advisor general colin powell recently made this point as well, he said, iran, in his words, "has been on a superhighway for the last 10 years to create a nuclear weapon or a nuclear weapons program with no speed limit." in a similar vain, amis s yadle,
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former head of the israeli defense forces military director made the point that any analysis of possible options regarding the iranian nuclear program must begin with the recognition that they have already passed the point of no return. in his words, "the starting point for comparing the various scenarios is not one in which iran has zero nuclear capabilities but one in which iran has been, however illegitimately, a nuclear threshold state since the beginning of the current decade." the iranians advanced their nuclear program as the international community insisted on no enrichment but failed either through sanctions, negotiations or other actions to significantly interrupt iranian progress on its nuclear infrastructure or nuclear know-how. instead, when the negotiations began under president obama, iran had already acquired approximately 19,000 centrifuges
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and other essential components of the nuclear program. indeed, the administration's diplomatic efforts to build an international coalition to give affect to the sanctions, which ultimately forced the iranians to negotiation was done with the p-5 plus 1's recognition that a no-enrichment approach would not lead to negotiations. this was not a realistic option. with that prologue, let me turn to the elements of the agreement that were critical to my judgment. if the area of cutting off pathways to nuclear material for nuclear weapon and enrichment capacity, this is an objective objective, on strains through the verification provisions, eliminates iran's ability to add produce tone yum or uranium.
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it caps the stockpile to 300 kilograms for 15 years. why is this significant? first, before november, 2013, and the initiation of the agreement, iran had more than 12,000 kilograms of fully enriched this is enough to make vi -- six or seven weapons. and it won't have enough to produce a single weapon, even with additional enrichment. it will have to break an agreement with the 300-kilogram cap to feedstock the quantity needed for a single weapon. on the plutonium pathway iran has agreed to the heavy water research in iraq. the redesigned and rebuilt
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reactor, which must be approved by the p-5 plus 1 will have the nuclear research and isotopic production. why is this important? iraq has been the most concerning elements of iran's suspected weapons infrastructure and this part of the reactor puts iran's pathway to a shelf. in an alternative scenario, the heavy water reactor could have been a proliferation with unmatched in that portion. it could take iran an easy acquired of uranium from the ground and over a period of time and through a series of processing steps make weapons grade plutonium. the elimination of this heavy water reactor as the iranians
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approved it is enormously important. and iran is forced to use its first generation technology known as ir-1's. this is a significant check because it eliminates iran's most significant centrifuges. while it allows them centrifuges in the future, it limits it to iaea and consistent with the protocol. also significant to the p-5 plus 1 that have ten years of evaluating and assessing iran's intentions to determine whether the plant and program are peaceful as statemented by the transportation bill to the jcpoa. the international community has insight into iran's program. this is a significant
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opportunity to gauge intentions and gauge by their compliance to the elements. under the jcpoa it's the research, the testing and the deployment of the first ten years. after that period of time, the international community will continue to have a critical dis trust and verify mechanism built into the provision. it has submitted to the iaea under the additional protocol. this plan is subject to all of the iaea's inspection and monitoring tools. furthermore, the jcpoa has a prohibition to iran's activities that could contribute to the design of a nuclear explosive device. this significant prohibition goes beyond the nonproliferation
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treaty. taken together, the closing oft of the pathways to uranium and r&d the breakout time for a single nuclear weapon will be at least one year for the first ten years of this agreement and critically the breakout time will be longer than the two to three months it was in november, 2013. before we move on to the next area, analysis has been ranged about the first ten years of the agreement. sometimes referred to as the out years. during this time, iran's breakout time too shrink substantially. however, the initial ten years that the jcpoa will be critical for the community to assess iran's intentions. a recent analysis of the jcpoa by reobtain horn, an expert, a
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fellow on the, is instructive in this area. in his words, leaders believe their national interests are served by the nuclear weapons, it is best with no guarantee of success. within the out years jcpoa's prohibitions will remain there place. iran's nuclear program would give the united states prompt warning of any effort to make a dash for the bomb. in any phase, in any case, the 5 plus 1 must begin now to communicate its insist that iran operate consistent with the peaceful program after the initial ten-year period. the international community must convey its stock terms to iran that its buildup of ability after ten years beyond what they need for their peaceful cycle will be against the provisions
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of the jcpoa and would need to reevaluate the options. if we are consider the verification. for me, the agreement must be built on a principle of distrust and verify. former secretary of colin put it nicely. don't trust, never trust, and always verify. and the architecture of the negotiators' agreement took this approach and set new residents -- precedents in key stoke. invoke logical monitoring. thus it is a custom built, rigorously regime that is more stringent than any other previously credited. the jcpoa does the following. inspectors will be able at the iaea will have regular actives.
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this includes iran's two primary sites. inspectors will be able to inspect the uranium mills and facilities that supports iran's nuclear program for at least ten years and in many cases far beyond. the verification regime established by this agreement has the effect of making the entire iranian nuclear program auditable. this is a powerful tool that will make it possible for iaea inspectors to know whether iran is diverting material to a possible covert program. iran has agreed to apply provisionally iaea protocol. this additional protocol the iaea comprehensive safeguards agreement augments iran's ability for clandestine
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facilities. this is beyond the jcpoa's terms. a dedicated program will be established to establish all of the purchases made on the items. these steps will provide a mechanism for the iaea to control what's coming into the country and whether it is consistent with the programs in iran's intentions. such procurement outside the channel will be a violation of the jcpoa. this agreement is often said to be like, but there are significant differences between the two and the jcpoa was significantly written with verification based on the
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lessons of the agreement. as indicated, the weakness of the 1994 framework was that the iaea monitoring at yun bon. that was the only site. at the jcpoa, iran must implement the additional prose colonel under the nuke nonproliferation treaty. and the iaea is designed to address the proliferation of a nuclear weapons program as iraq did after the war. take part in any element in the fuel cycle of state. the jcpoa is significantly more stringent in this regard than the 1994 framework. more specifically, the additional protocol will allow
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iaea inspectors essential to suspected and undeclared sites any why in country to prevent clandestine nuclear activity. if iran does not provide access, it is in violation of the agreement and sanctions will be reimposed. iran's compliance with the protocol in the years after the jcpoa will continue to provide the iaea with the powerful tool to conduct inspections. again, the creation of the additional protocol was a direct response to the efforts to circumvent the iaea's efforts in iraq and north korea. an additional element in the compliance regime is the independent and unilateral role that the u.s. intelligence community and its intelligence liaison services will play in compliance or noncompliance. while we can never be certain
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that these provisions represent a complete picture of iranian activities, they are a picture of iran's perceptions and compliance and key elements of their compliance. and with the armed services committee and intelligence, these will also serve as a critical tool for my colleagues and i to gauge the success or the failure of this agreement. over the course of the armed services hearings, there was detailed questioning on several topics but one in particular. on the 24-day period of time that iran has to it under the agreement to potentially delay access for iaea inspectors under a suspected activity, secretary moniz had a helpful insight. in his words, "the 24-day period in itself is new and in a
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sense there has never been a time limit in terms of access to cleared sites." nuclear materials we have very, very sensitive capabilities and historically those have been proved. but secretary money knees went on to speak -- moniz went on to say that it gets more difficult. however, when one has nuclear weapons specialized activity such as a neutron, those are difficult in that time period. but as one gets farther and farther aaway, something that they do normally, it is difficult for intelligence to put together intelligence in those activities. but the nuclear material in the end you need to do nuclear materials to get the weapon and that's how we have extraordinary techniques. now, critics have said that this 24-day period of time is too long and offers a range of
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agreement for the activities. the secretary money knees said this is a possibility -- money niece moniz said, it covers the tracks in 24 days is extremely, extremely difficult. and iran's intentions are subjected to questions for evaluation. if iran is questioned the iaea at every turn it should be suggested as an attempt on the third page of the agreement. i quote, iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will iran ever seek to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. this is a strong restatement of its basic obligations under a nonnuclear state under the
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treaty and a iaea inspectors should be seen as a clear warning of possible reneging on this agreement. let me discuss the duration of the agreement. critics have made a variety of comments. some argue that iran can begin enriching at beyond a low enrichment level in 2016. that is true by iran could do that tomorrow without this agreement. nevertheless, some tharg this agreement simply suspends iran's program in place for a decade. this my view, this is not an accurate categorization as many of the access and verification elements go well past 10, or 15 years. iran's commitment on the nuclear nonproliferation treaty remain in place and their compliance with it will be a key metric for the p-5 plus 1.
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further, the international community's ability to impose sanctions always remains available. now i want to address the area of possible military dimensions or p.m.d. iran has agreed to address all the past and present outstanding p.m.d. issues in a exroonive and time -- in a comprehensive and time-limited manner. this is laid out in paragraph 66 of annex 1 of the jcpoa and is detailed in the july 14, 2015, road map for the confirmation of past and present outstanding issues regarding iran's nuclear program. resolving the issue of p.m.d. is critical for a number of reasons. it is critical that the iaea is able to complete its investigation of p.m.d. and issue an independent assessment of any nuclear weapons-related work iran has conducted in the past. the iaea made clear in the director general's 2011 report
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on p.m.d. that unanswered questions remain. the u.n. security council has endorsed and republican forced a requirement that iran address these questions. under the agreement, if iran complies, the iaea will again gain being a stows parchin. however, iran gets nothing in the way of sanctions relief if it does not address these unanswered questions to the satisfaction. iaea. -- of the iaea. some critics have also suggested that the iaea has outsourced iran its inspection of parchin, the mos.i have been briefed exty on this matter in a class fight setting and those briefings are consistent with the conclusion of iaea director general ukia amano. he has stated that the agreement
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is technically sound and does not compromise the iaea's safeguard standards in any way. secretary moniz has further assured me of this fact. we know the iranians have repeatedly attempted to eradicate any sign of their activities at the parchin site. thus, it is likely that any significant p.m.d. activities have occurred there in the last four years. we do not know what signs of past activities will remain at the site. importantly, the iaea will be able to confirm whether there is any ongoing nuclear activity at that location. critics of the arrangement to inspect parchin have also suggested that the iaea has entered into a secret side deal with iran. in fact, the united states and all of the other n.p.t. countries, nonproliferation treaty countries, have confidential agreements with iaea which cannot be shared.
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these agreements vary by country but are designed to protect the integrity of the iaea inspection process and the sensitive technical and design information about peaceful national nuclear programs. the iaea and the obama administration have taken extraordinary steps to brief congress this agreement and classified setting. these agreements have been informative and helpful to understand more fully what we can expect in the months and years ahead. now i would like to discuss at this point the topic of the arms embargo and missile sanctions, which is part of this arrangement. like of many my colleagues, i remain concerned about the elements of this agreement that relate to these issues. the inclusion of these provisions in the jcpoa is directly related to the fact that the united states secure these measures in united nations security council resolution 1929 to pressure iran to address the international community's concerns with respect to its nuclear program. since these sanctions were
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deemed by the p-5 plus 1 to be related to the nuclear program through the u.n. resolution, they were deemed to come within the ambit of sanctions relief. nevertheless, moving forward, this is an area where the united states needs to leverage the available sanctions and additional too under other u.n. security council resolutions to keep pressure on iran. for example, other u.n. security council resolutions prohibit iranian transfers of arms through groups such as the houthis in yemen, non-state actors in lebanon, which clez which includes hezbollah and should iia militias in iraq, as well as north korea, libya and several sub-saharan states. this means the intelligence community must double their efforts to identify prohibitive activities and build the architecture necessary to counter and detect it. also means working with our partners on the missile control
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regime to help prevent the spread of critical missile technologies and with our more than 100 partners under the bush administration's proliferation security initiative or p.s.i., to help limit iranian missile-related imports or exports. it may also mean what former under secretary of state for political affairs nick burns recently suggested to the senate armed services committee, which is that we will need to, in his words, reconstitute a coalition of sanctions countries against iran five years from now on conventional weapons and eight years from now on ballistic missiles. i believe that the next five years will provide the international community a critical measuring stick for iranian intentions and we must be prepared to lead efforts to preclude iran from obtaining enhanced military technology. a bulk of the work that will be done and be so central to our efforts will be done by the
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iaea. the iaea will be responsible for carrying out on-oto-ground implementation of this on before of the p-5 plus 1. while critics of the agreement are quick to call on the question of technical expertise and skills of the iaea it is comprised of individuals with extensive training and experience and deep committed to the importance of nonproliferation work. a recent study by tom shea, a noted safeguards expert with experience with the iaea and in the laboratory community, concludes the iaea's capabilities have been extended, strengthened and refined over the years in response to real world proliferation cases in iraq and north korea. it's current capacity flects the international community's decades-long investment in the organization and the continuing commitment of states around the world to its mission. i would also note that upwards of 200 iaea technical experts will be devoted to implementing come agreement.
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this number far exceeds any number of experts and inspectors devoted to any one country by the iaea. allow me now to focus on the area of sanctions and our ability to reapply them. first, it is critical that we remember iran will receive no new sanctions relief if it does not complete its nuclear commitments in the iaea's inspectors verify those steps. let me be specific here. prior to granting any further sanctions relief, iran must, as verified by the iaea, demonstrate that it has complemented the necessary steps with respect to, one, the iraq heavy water research reactor, two, its overall enrichment capacity, three, centrifuge research and development, four, the for dough fuel enrichment plant, five, iranian stocks and fuels, six, centrifuge manufacturing, seven, completing the modality arrangements to
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lieu the iaea to implement alter national transparency measures and the protocol, eight, centrifuge component manufacturing transparency, and, nine, address in the past and present issues of concern relating to possible military didimensions of its program. this means that iran must take significant steps to roll back and freeze its nuclear program before it gets anything in the way of sanctions relief. in testimony before the senate banking committee, adam zubi inn said we expect that practices process to take at least six to nine months until iran completes those steps we are simply extending the limited relief that has been in place for the last year and a half in the joint plan of action. there will not be a cent of new sanctions relief. moreover, while the president will waive the application of the nuclear-related sanctions under terms of the jcpo anchts
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the u.s. sanctions, which include the central bank understand other financial sanctions, will remain available until congress acts to terminate it. this will allow congress to monitor an extended period of iran's compliance before taking any such action. this gives the president a strong hand because the ability to quickly snap back nuclear-related sanctions means we can again shut off to a substantial degree iran's access to the international finance system, to innocent markets, and to international financing if a relies an access to the u.s. banking system. it is important to note that this agreement does not take away the tools available to the president to target sanctions against iran's violation of human rights or to damage iran's ability to finance terrorism. the u.s. secondary sanctions remain in place. as richard nephew, a fellow at the center on global energy policy told the committee, the
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united states will still be ail to pressure banks and companies to not doing business with the irg cnchts the cuds force, qasem soleimani and the missile forces. this is yo due to direct -- improvement in international banking since 9/11. these secondary sanctions are not insignificant tools. use of them in response to human rights violators are not a violation of the agreement. as under secretary zubin recently told the senate banking committee on the matter of sanctions, one of the most powerful tools is when we sanction iranian terrorist supporters, our definition is amplified internationally. what i mean by that is when we name a hezbollah financier, a hezbollah money launderinger, any bank worldwide that facilitates transactions with that entity faces very severe
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sanctions. sanctions that no bank wants to face. under secretary zubin has also indicated that the united states will do more in the area of terrorism-related sanctions should iran decide to continue its actions in the region, it is important to note the administration's willingness to ramp up pressure in the face of such conduct by the iranians. particular attention has rightly been paid to the amount of sanctions relief iran will receive and iran's likely use of that relief. this is an important issue. while we do not know what iran will do with it, we do know a couple of things. first, the a sanctions relief is not 100 billion or $150 billion, according to the treasury department, the number is between $50 billion and $60 billion. while this number is significant, it's one-third of what many critics have asserted. it is likely that iran will
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invest a portion of this money into its economy to address the concerns with its people and begin to recover from the international sanctions regime. general dempsey has suggested the answer is probably a little bit of both. what we will need to do is monitor closely, particular lily via our intelligence community, where iran is make its investments and actively counter those malign activities. now, i believe that the jcpoa is the best option available to us right now. critics recommend rejectings the jcpoa and advocating a regime of new and increasingly crippling sanctions as a more effective approach to enssuring iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon. it is my view that this alternative is not feasible at this time and may indeed be counterproductive. moreover, the option for enhanced sanctions and even military operations remain available to the united states and our p-5-one partners should
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iran fail to comply. noncompliance would be more likely to find an international commitment for aggressive action than rejection of the jcpoa. such a rejection could give the argument that it could resume all its activities and insist that international sanctions have been nullified by our rejection of the jcpoa. if the united states were now to say this deal isn't good enough, it would likely have the immediate effect of alienating our partners and, therefore, empowering iran. iran would seize this opening to drive a wedge between us and our european allies as well as russia and china. such an action by the united states would play right into the hands of iran, both in terms of the viability of the regime and in terms of the obligations it has already agreed to take under this agreement. it is difficult to imagine a
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scenario in which the united states can break at this juncture with its most critical diplomatic and economic partners on the iran nuclear program and then secure more stringent sanctions. another complicating factor is the outline for the hard-liners in iran. undoubtedly their narrative will gain additional traction in iran and they may be able to seize an even greater amount of power and influence. this makes the more sanctions approach more concerning but it could produce the unintended consequence of empowering the most shrouded elements in iran. the second most common option discussed by critics of this agreement is the military option. in this regard, it's critical that we understand some points up front. unless we're prepared to invade and occupy iran, executing military options to destroy the nuclear infrastructure will only delay iran's nuclear program. it will not bomb away iran's
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knowledge and it will empower significantly the hard-liners in iran who are committed to developing a nuclear weapon. they will likely disperse to disguise their activities so that military strikes are increasingly ineffective and produce significant collateral damage which will be exploited by the iranians for propaganda purposes. general dempsey on this issue of delay provided two important insights. first, in response to a question asking for his military assessment, what is more effective in delaying or stopping iranian nuclear program at this time or in the near future, a military strike or this p-5 plus 1 agreement, he said, first, i would like to point out that the military options remain. secondly, i think a negotiated settlement provides a more durable and reduces near-term risk which buys time to work with regional partners to address the other maligned activities. he also said our government's
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policy has been they will not get a nuclear weapon and nothing we're talking about today should change that policy. this agreement does not change that long-standing and clearly articulated u.s. policy. i also agree with the assessment of former senators john warner and carl levin who served terms as chairman of the armed services committee that a vote against this deal is a vote to undermine the credibility of our military option. closer examination of the military option raises the critical question of our objective if we were to use force to delay the nuclear program or to overthrow the regime so as to eliminate the nuclear threat. in either case, a daunting scenario emerges. as previously discussed, if our focus is limited only to iran's nuclear program, the united states likely alone or nearly alone will need to conduct a similar option every few years
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as the iranians will undoubtedly make the nuclear program an operation that is conducted in smaller and more numerous locations in areas increasingly difficult to locate and deep in the ground or amassed by civilian activities in populated areas. if we conduct such targeted strikes, analysts suggest the iranians will respond. such responses could include attacks against u.s. forces in the gulf region, afghanistan, attacks against israel via iran's most capable proxy hezbollah, attacks against partners in the g.c.c., attacks against the region's energy infrastructure or a combination of all of the above. along with the significant economic consequences, the resource drain on our nation's military could be severe. ironically, an additional complication would be the campaign against the levant or isil particularly in iraq in our effort to consolidate the
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community's gains in afghanistan. if our military objective, on the other hand, was regime change, i would first remind my colleagues of the iraq war and of all of the implications exercising that military option had on the region in 2012 michael ohanlon of the brookings institution wrote an option of iran would require up to one million u.s. and other foreign troops over an extended time, and hence, would be indeed implausible. but an invasion with the single goal of deposing the government could be considered a possibility under extreme circumstances. if, for example, there were unmistakable evidence that iran's current government was preparing a major attack on israel. or if it responded to any u.s. surgical air campaign with an all-out global terrorist response using hezbollah and various elements of the security apparatus. although michael o' hanlon makes
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the distinction between occupation and invasion our experience in iraq and afghanistan should demonstrate that the deployment of ground forces to effect regime change is unlikely to produce a quick exit so we must be prepared for his implausible in an expensive occupation with a million military personnel on the ground. thus, as some observers continue to discuss the military option, regardless of the scope, i would urge them to ensure their analysis goes beyond the first day, first month or first six months of the conflict and rather consider the first year, first five years and first decade of the conflict. our nation has seen the great cost of war in the past 15 years. this agreement retains the military options of the commander in chief and at the same time establishes an arrangement with the iranians that allows us to test vigorously and monitor invasively the intentions of the iranian regime's nuclear program.
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this is one major reason at this point that the jcpoa is the most compelling option. a number of noted national security experts, a number of my colleagues, americans have discussed the importance of ensuring iran is not only constrained with respect to its nuclear program but also its regional hedge mon nick aparticipations and support -- hegemonic aspirations. it's support of terrorism, destabilizing activities across the region, abuse of its people and ongoing detention of american citizens. we cannot condone or ignore these critical issues and they all must be addressed. but absent implementation of this agreement, the threats posed by iran would likely be amplified as a return to deliberate focus to build a nuclear infrastructure. the choice before us on the nuclear agreement review act is
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exclusively on the nuclear dimension. but without the jcpoa, i suspect the iranian nuclear challenge will grow quickly adding further menace to their regional aspirations and support of terrorism. critically any of these other objectionable behaviors would be far more dangerous if iran acquired a nuclear weapon. as i said earlier, i evaluate this agreement with great skepticism. iran is a major sponsor of terrorism and a leader in other destabilizing activities across the middle east. as i mentioned previously though, the negotiations to secure this agreement were not focused on the issue of iran's support of terrorism. this matter remains outstanding in charting a pragmatic and implemental strurk -- structure critical to u.s. national security interest. these negotiations are not without precedent. during the cold war we negotiated with the soviets despite their destabilizing activities in many parts of the world.
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in fact, president nixon was in negotiations with the soviets even while they still supported the north vietnamese. gray mallard noted in testimony before the senate foreign relations committee recently, claims that the u.s. cannot reach advantageous agreements can strain nuclear arms with states seeking to contain, subvert or overthrow are wrong. the reagan administration's core national security strategy for competition with the soviet union states that u.s. policy towards the soviet union will consist of three elements: external resistance to soviet imperialism, internal pressure on the ussr to weaken sources of imperialism and engaging the soviet union which protect and enhance u.s. interests. i do not, even with the j.p.o.,
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suspect that the iranian support for their proxies will ought -- automatically abate under this agreement and i do not think this agreement is a forcing mechanism. i think it takes the scenario of a nuclear armed iran off the table. and i believe it is for the time being sensible for the united states and our parties to take stock of iran's willingness to comply with this agreement, monitor its activities closely to see if they increase, decrease or remain the same, and parallel work with our regional partners to build their capacity to counter iran's a symmetric threats. on the matters of our partners in the middle east i see two critical matters that must be addressed. our partners in israel see iran as a significant ongoing threats to their national security. it is incumbent upon the united
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states to better understand the concerns of the israelis with respect to their gaps in addressing the iranian problem set and to identify areas of cooperation on mitt romney -- on military and intelligence matters that address these gaps and maintain their qualitative military edge at all times. second, it is also critical that our partners and allies know that the united states will not abandon the region in the wake of this nuclear agreement. this message is critical for all of our partners to hear and understand. the may 2015 joint statement following the united states meetings at camp david provided a road map of how the administration intends to proceed. the joint statement indicates the united states will be increasing training and exercising engagements with g.c.c. special operations forces elements so as to better enable our partners to confront iran's asymmetric capabilities as well as enhancing the ballistic missile defense capabilities, the g.c.c. and improving
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interoperability to increase collective defense in order to counter iran's support of terrorist proxies. these are important and essential efforts that will consume significant time in the middle east and will be critical that we ensure that they are resourced appropriately. the added benefits of these activities is they will provide the united states military with additional access and capabilities in the region to ensure that the military option remains credible to the iranians and available to the president. mr. president, i approach this vote with deep suspicion regarding iran and i see the agreement for what it is. a combination of opportunities and risks. i believe these negotiations would necessarily focus on denying iran a pathway to a nuclear weapon. a nuclear armed iran would be a formidable force in the middle east, as it is repeatedly
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demonstrated not a force for peace and stability. a nuclear armed iran would likely prompt a nuclear arms race in the region that through accident or design could lead to catastrophe. this agreement provides the framework to close off iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon. rejecting the resolution of disapproval is vitally important, but effective i am -- i am implementation of the jcpoa will be the real test. it is necessary for congress and the president to invoke every effort to monitor and sustain provisions of the agreement. this effort demands constant attention and ample, more than ample funding for the indefinite future. as general brent scowcroft, former national security advisor to president george herbert walker bush stated in a "washington post" op-ed supporting the agreement, implementation and verification
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will be the key to success, and congress has an important role. it should ensure that the iaea and other relevant bodies and u.s. intelligence agencies have all the resources necessary to facilitate inspection and monitor compliance. i believe general scowcroft is correct. an iranian compliance is critical no matter how you vote on a resolution of disapproval. it is also important that we ensure the administration is able to follow through on the commitments they made to our allies and partners in the middle east, especially to the state of israel. again, general scowcroft makes an excellent point. the united states must work -- in his words -- closely with the g.c.c. and other allies to moderate iranian behavior in the region, countering it where necessary. absent support and resources for the implementation phase of this agreement, these efforts may not happen and our efforts to reassure our partners in the region may fail.
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soon this debate will be over. i believe sustaining the j.c.p. will leave us in a stronger position. but regardless of the outcome of this debate, we must not relax our efforts in countering iranian nuclear aspirations, regional aggression and the sponsorship of terrorism. i believe the jcpoa will give us valuable tools to monitor and interdict their pathways to nuclear weapons but it will require day-to-day surveillance and, where necessary, intervention to increase our chances of success. in many respects we are at a moment that recalls the emotional words of winston churchill. now this is not the end. it is not even the beginning of the end. but it is perhaps the end of the beginning. we have concluded an agreement that dramatically constrains iran's nuclear ambitions. now the hard work begins each
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day to ensure that our aspirations become a reality. thank you, mr. president, and i will yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from. mr. connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you. i'm horned to follow mile colleagues -- i'm honored to follow my colleague from rhode island. the question of whether the senate should accept the agreement of the p-5 plus 1 and iran and their illicit and treacherous nuclear program is one of the most difficult and critical matters of national security that i have confronted since my election to the united states senate. i am deeply grateful to many in my state of connecticut, here in washington, d.c., and around the country who have offered me
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their insight, interest and involvement. most especially, the people of connecticut who have given me their thoughts in letters and emails and phone calls and one one-on-one conversations across our state in a vast variety of settings, whether it be parades or fairs or one-on-one meetings or meetings and groups. and i have made my decision based on conscience and conviction. i will vote to accept the proposed agreement concerning iran's nuclear program and against the resolution of disapproval before the united states senate. my two paramount goals have been consistently and constantly to prevent a nuclear-armed iran and do so by peaceful means. i believe that this agreement using diplomacy, not military force, is the most viable
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remaining path now available, now available to prevent a nuclear-armed iran. this agreement is not the one that i would have negotiated or accepted, but it's better than no deal. this agreement is an opportunity for us to push back and deter iran, and it brings on us a special obligation of vigilance and vigorous enforcement. it can be made better. it can be improved and strengthened through unilateral action by the united states of america and through consultation and collaboration with our allies, not resuming or reopening the negotiations but acting in collaboration with our allies as well as through actions that we can take in the nation alone and working closely
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with our ally, our friend, our critical partner in the middle east, the state of israel. the administration set forth a case that the current agreement immediately reduces iran's nuclear program and places it under a series of overlapping safeguards. together, these measures push a threshold nuclear power back from the brink. the agreement imposes an intrusive inspection and surveillance regime, relying on international certification and verification by the international atomic energy agency. future united states presidents have the authority immediately and through executive order to reimpose our sanctions if iranian actions are inconsistent with our national security. rejecting this agreement is
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fraught with unacceptable risk. our former negotiation partners and allies have signaled clearly that they are simply not coming back to the table, a point confirmed in my direct conversation and meeting. there is no better deal available now. the president's sanctions will soon become unenforceable, producing an economic windfall for iran, whether or not the united states accepts this agreement. the united states, instead of iran, would be isolated. and iran's nuclear program would be unconstrained. rejection would fracture our unified efforts with our allies and greatly weaken international pressure on iran and undermine american leadership on this issue and others, especially if economic sanctions are needed in the event of a violation.
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this agreement has shortcomings, no doubt, and they are serious. i have listened to my colleagues, including chairman corker, whom i deeply respect and others here today enumerate a number of them, and yet i remain convinced that the most constructive and clear-eyed role for congress is to support specific steps to make implementation and enforcement of this agreement stronger and more effective. in fact, in my view, the day after this agreement is approved and accepted is as important as the agreement itself. the day after and the months after and the years after, because that is when this agreement must be enforced vigorously and strenuously and
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unyieldingly. i've taken additional time to look beyond this agreement to create a blueprint for diplomatic steps to strengthen it. specifically, i'm working with the ranking member of the senate foreign relations committee, senator ben cardin of maryland to craft new legislation. congress must act to encourage and enable diplomacy with iran, which is not only possible but critically important. now we must begin the process of addressing those shortfalls and short comes, unwanted impacts and consequences revealed during congressional review of the agreement. number one, countering iranian terror with dollar-for-dollar sanction. to counter iran's role as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, congress must sustain and expand existing sanctions that crack down on terror
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financing and demand their full enforcement by both the united states and the european union. i will continue, indeed i will increase pressing secretary of state john kerry to take long overdue, aggressive steps to interdict arms to hezbollah, and i will work to block hezbollah's financing and logistical support from iran, applying tools and techniques available through our banking and financial system. number two, empowering our allies to counter iran and terror proxies. we must renew and reinvigorate our efforts to protect our allies, especially israel, our major strategic partner in the middle east from the threat of iran and its terror proxies. we need a new framework of defense cooperation that takes into account how this agreement will affect the changing threat
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from iran. congress must work to expand israel's qualitative military edge and bolster intelligence cooperation. the pentagon must establish new joint training exercises that involve our strategic air assets and invite israeli pilots to train flying long-range bombers. now is the time to aid israel with extra f-35 joint strike fighter squadrons and the tankers they need to cut off any threat to israel, well before it reaches their borders. no equipment should be precluded if needed for israel's self-defense. as a member of the senate armed services committee, i will work to establish such a parallel agreement with israel to cover threats both nuclear and conventional along with an ongoing joint review forum, bringing together the united states, israel and nato members
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to enhance our deterrent capability. and number three, preventing a nuclear-armed iran. the united states must reaffirm unequivocally that iran will never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon and that all available options will be used to stop it from ever accumulating enough highly enriched uranium or weapons-grade plutonium to produce one. such a policy is consistent with this agreement. congress must articulate in statute that that policy is unchallengeable and that iranian violations both during this agreement and afterward will be met with strong, unquestionable action. it must be clear that we will defend our vital interests in the persian gulf region and
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those vital interests included preventing a nuclear-armed iran. it is a fundamental tenet of our foreign policy. as a member of the agreement, the united states is in a stronger position to deter and remedy violations, whether through economic sanctions or military action as a last resort. if the agreement is rejected and economic sanctions or military action are ever necessary, we would act alone. that's a simple fact about our rejection. if the agreement is accepted, we act with a coalition of allies and partners with the legitimacy and credibility of diplomacy having run its course and with the intelligence produced by inspectioning that will help to guide any military action necessary as a last resort. and there will be popular support at home, which is absolutely necessary for such
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action. that support is essential because acting without it will make it difficult if not impossible for the president to seek in effect to enforce the very terms of an agreement that this nation has rejected if that is the result. most importantly, this agreement cannot be based on hope or trust. history belies both in our experience with iran. this deal is not an agreement that i have long sought. it's not the agreement that i would have preferred, but it makes the threat of a nuclear-armed iran less imminent. it requires the united states and the international community to sustain their commitment to verify and enforce its provisions over many years, and i am ready to join in the hard work of preventing a
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nuclear-armed iran on this difficult diplomatic path. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. ms. ayotte: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: thank you, mr. president. i come to the floor today -- i believe this is probably the most important foreign policy issue that certainly i have worked on in my time in the united states senate, and it is one of great consequence to our nation and also to oural ice, and i don't come to this decision lightly, but there are
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many reasons why i would urge this body to disapprove the agreement that has been entered into between the obama administration and the iranian government in the p-5 plus 1 plus nations. first of all, we need to understand the country that we are dealing with. just today iran has said the iranian supreme leader ayatollah khamenei has said i am saying to israel that they won't live to see the end of these 25 years. with allah's help, there will be no such thing as a zionist regime in 25 years. of course, this is not the first time that we have heard this from the supreme leader or the leaders of iran. even now we're in this position even after having entered this agreement and having had the president go to the u.n. to seek approval of this agreement prior to coming to the congress, but we know that while this agreement was being negotiated,
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you had the iranian foreign minister smiling for the cameras and negotiating the agreement while the president of iran was actually at rallies in iran where they were shouting down with america, death to israel. iran itself has a history that is important for us to understand. that history is a history of noncompliance. iran has time and time again failed to comply with u.n. resolutions and failed to meet its obligations. iran has violated u.n. security council resolutions. iran has violated the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in the past. iran has consistently been unresponsive to the international atomic energy agency in the past, the iaea, and iran has failed to answer questions about its past nuclear weapons activities. if there is no covert undeclared
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nuclear facility in iran today, oli hynenen, a former iaea deputy director has said it would be the first time in 20 years. so one of the important issues that i believe for any of us in reviewing this agreement is what is the inspection regime that will be put in place to asure not only that we're doing a full inspection at the declared facilities of iran but also the undeclared facilities. and the reality is that under this agreement, the process for seeking inspection by the iaea for undeclared facilities is a process that only a lawyer could love. and i happen to be one. because if you look at the language of the actual agreement, you will see that if the iaea, in paragraph 75, has concerns regarding undeclared nuclear materials or activities or activities inconsistent with the


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