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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 16, 2015 6:32am-7:01am EST

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movement on the its grand strategy. and i think the united states needs to engage pakistan on both fronts simultaneously. >> i argue it hard to imagine success in this area without also engaging india in some way. and that there has to -- for a while now, for various reasons, there hasn't been any consideration of india, u.s. policy towards india. that's not helpful in a variety of ways and needs to be corrected. >> on that note, thank you. [ applause ]nt, i
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ask proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, today our nation is distracted by grave concerns, by threats abroad and at home, by concerns about our economy and our people. and i stand here today to call us to continue to be focused on something that's not currently the top of the news, but on something that is a pressing and an ongoing national concern. we need to be strictly and
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aggressively enforcing the terms of our nuclear deal with iran that we reached with a variety of our other international partners and that is currently moving forward. and we need to push back on iran's bad and disruptive behavior not just in its region but globally, and to give our administration and international agencies the resources and the nominees confirmed that will allow them to be successful in enforcing our actions against iran. mr. president, just a few short months ago if you asked anyone what topics would be at the top of the list of america's foreign policy conversation for the upcoming prim campaign, you would have been -- upcoming presidential campaign you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who didn't mention the iran nuclear agreement front and center. it was in this chamber and around the country last summer and fall. what a difference a few months
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can make. this morning many of us are deeply concerned about an alleged bomb threat in los angeles that's causing hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to be sent home midschool day. ans in response to the recent attacks in paris and san bernardino, we're focused on finding weaknesses in our border security and finding ways to protect the american people without compromising our fundamental values. we're rightly focused on expanding the u.s.-led coalition to defeat isis and on finding to way to assist our allies in providing safe hav have son havf the refugees. we're distracted by a republican primary. that's why i rise today to make sure we remain focused on one of america's most important challenges to the united states
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and our key allies, including centrally israel, which is enforcing the terms of the nuclear deal with iran. on september 1, after a long study and real reflection and significant debate, i ultimately announced my support for the joint comprehensive plan of action, or the jcpoa, also known as the iran nuclear agreement. just over a week later the review period ended and congress failed to reject the deal, so it moved forward. the agreement took effect a month and a half later on november 18, known as adoption day, when iran agreed to give the iaea dramatically expanded inspection and verification. we're now three months into the jcpoa. i wanted to take this opportunity today to address areas where the obama administration has done well and
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to highlight areas where we must do more. since adoption day, we've seen some progress and some real setbacks on implementing the terms of the deal. first, to the positives -- and there are some. iran has begun to reconfigure its plutonium nuclear reactor at arak so it coul can no longer pe materials necessary for a nuclear wevmen weapon. the iaea has also increased its number of inspectors on the ground to monitor iran's declared nuclear facilities and to set up a comprehensive oversight promise of iran's centeiran'scentrifuge facilitie. these steps are promising.
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but by no means do they tell a complete 120er of iran's bad behavior since this deal was reached. nor do these few positive steps indicate that implementing the terms of this deal going forward will be anything less than exceptionally difficult. in fact, not only will enforcement of this deal be incredibly tricky, but i believe exactly how we enforce, how effectively and aggressively we enforce the jcpoa in these early months and years will at the tim-- willset the table. whether we respond now when iran commits minor violations around the boundaries of the nuclear deal will send a critical message to our allies and our adversaries alike. i'm confident that the actions taken by the united states and our allies to counter and restrain irng in the middl irant will impact iran's behavior
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going forward. that brings me to less positive news. when i announced my support for the jcmoa last september, i made it clear it was based on a deep suspicion of iran, an inherent distrust of their intention int. my concerns proved justified on october 22 when iran concluded a ballistic missile test in clear violation of u.n. security council resolution 1929. those unlawful tests came just days after adoption day under the jcpoa. and last week, before the u.n. security council could finish their investigations and take any concrete actions, we heard reports of a second iranian ballistic missile test on november 21. i fear the iranians are taking action after action in this area and others to demonstrate that they are willing to flout international rules, regulations, and restrictions
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and in the absence of our dicive action -- our decisive action, these misdeeds by the iranians will continue to escalate. today a new report from the iaea gives further -- the report on the so-called possible military dimensions or p.m.d. of iran's nuclear program found that a range of activities were conducted in iran prior to the end of 20003 as a koor nateed efortd and further activities took place after 2003. these activities included computer modeling that took place as recently as 2009. the p.m.d. report -- just how determined iran has been to develop a nuclear weapons exabt. iran developed detonators, iran engaged in computer modeling of a nuclear explosive. iran even set up organizations
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specifically dedicated to nuclear weapons activity. mr. president, it's not hard to connect those dots and the iaea did. that agency found that iran engaged nefortses to remove and refurbish facilities related to testing nuclear weapons components. it's government also offered misleading explanations of its past nuclear behavior. it's equally important to note when they did not find. iran's weapons program didn't advance beyond an exploratory stage. the iaea found no indication there was a whole undeclared nuclear fuel cycle in inor that iran held significant amounts of undeclared uranium. but despite the ambiguous nature of this rorkts the take away is clear. iran's report weapons-related activities and its determination to hide and obfuscate its behavior reinforce our justifications for ongoing distrust of the iranian
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government and for the strict monitoring and verification of the components of the nuclear deal. my colleagues and i have access to classified material, meaning we know more than is publicly known about the extent and direction of the nuclear weapons program in iran. but the iaea report is important because it establishes a baseline for iran's program, for our assessment of their breakout time and for our knowledge of how far they got in weaponization. knowledge of these efforts are critical to our future enforcement of this deal. the iaea report also reaffirms that as implementation of the deal moves forward, the international community must continue to seek and consider information about iran's past nuclear activity. so in my view the iae. must maintain its ability to continue reviewing any new information related to iran's past nuclear weapons program. and we have to continue to assertively investigate any
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iranian malfeasance. we have to continue to counter iran's rogue actions by continuing to enforce sanctions without exception and be prepared to impose new sanctions if and when iran's behavior warrants it. for example, the united states ambassador to the united nations, is a manage that power, was right to immediately shine a spotlight on the recent ballistic missile test i recently cited and to call for a u.n. security council investigation promptly. when that investigation is completed, the security council should act. but if it doesn't, i hope and expect that the administration is ready to enforce a series of unilateral american actions, including direct sanctions against those iranians responsible for this violation. while these ballistic missile tests are outside the parameters of the jcpoa, our response has to be strategic and we have to make sure iran knows that it
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can't continue to simply blata blatantly disregard the international community and the u.n. security council. since the announcement of the jcpoa, the treasury department has taken steps to malign iranian's activity in the region. in november the treasury department designated three hezbollah procurement antiquities and four companies in lebanon, china, and hong confor purchasing dual-use technology on behalf of hezbollah. these sanctions followed actions in july against three senior hezbollah military officials in syria and lebanon who were providing military support to the syrian regime and an additional hezbollah agent who served as the point person for the procurement and transshipment of weapons and material for the group and its syrian partners for at least 15 years. these designations also followed treasury's actions over the jcpoa when the department utilized and sanctioned more than 100 iranians and
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iran-learned persons. this november, treasury also pnted in the u.s. gulf cooperation council through which participants discussed countering support for hezbollah, for the assad regime and for other proxies in the region. that working group continues to improve information-sharing and cooperation to take joint actions targeting iran's support for terrorism and its other destabilizing activitshe region and around the world. in early december, you had saudi arabia agreed to designate 12 hezbollah officials for terrorism. implementing this agreement successfully will demand that we continue to develop discrete, clear, and public responses to minor iranian violations of the agreement. my view on 24 was shaped in no
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small part by advice i got from a deer long-term friend in new york who told me about his experience decades ago. after two years of excruciating and detail back and forth and negotiations, he told me they sat at the table to sign their agreement and begin their commercial partnership and after shaking hands across the table, the lead iranian negotiator said, now, my friends, the negotiations begin in ear in ea. all of us who know the history of their work to conceal their nuclear weapons program and destabilize the region, now know that iran will cheat on this agreement. they will find ways large and small to test us. for example, the nuclear agreement bars iran from enriching beyond 3.67%. how will we respond if, for example, fora month iran claims it just accidentally enriched to
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4%? we're unlikely to snap back the full multilateral regime because it would have little support in the community and could be per -- perceived as an overreaction. in coordination with our allies we must develop a menu of responses to allow us to respond quickly to minor violations of the deal because there are no real minor violations of the deal. otherwise iran will little by little eat away at the constraints of this agreement and deterrence and our credibility will collapse. mr. president, in addition to deploying sanctions more effectively and ratcheting them up as necessary, the international community must also increase our efforts to push back against iran's maligned activity in the middle east. more specifically, we have to enhance our campaign of interdicting iranian weapon shipments is and support to its
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proxies in syria, lebanon and iran sends shipments to the hezbollah and the hewit the hut. the united states maintains its authority to disrupt these shipments. we must act and demonstrate our will. we must use that authority to work with our partners in the region and our allies around the world to increase the tempo and scope of of our interdiction efforts. successful interdiction efforts not only get deadly weapons out of the hands of terrorists but also deter iran fr and undermine its proxies throughout the middle east. we know that we can be successful in this aspect of our enforcement because the administration has already successfully disrupted iranian weapon shipments in recent months. and although we've been briefed, many of us, in a classified setting about encouraging developments in this area, i think it's important that we have at least one example that we can share with our colleagues
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and the world. so please take a look at this picture to my left. in september a raid off the coast of yemen seized a large carb of iranian arms destined for the huti rebels. this massive weapon shipment included a whole series of the component parts of sophisticated missiles, 56 tube-launched optically guided tow missiles and the associated sites, mounts, battery sets; launcher, battery assemblies and nearly 20 other sophisticated antitank weapons. i commend the administration for these efforts and for this successful interdiction in international waters, but we cannot stop there. every month while iran negotiates with the international community with one hand, with the other hand it has been sending millions of dollars worth of weapons to the murderous assad regime in syria, to hezbollah in lebanon, and to
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the hutis in yemen. we must not stand by while iran continues to spread its terror. nor is it sufficient to simply increase our interdiction efforts. we must publicize these efforts when successful. mr. president, when an american small-town sheriff pulls off a successful drug bust, you better believe that sheriff is going to hold a press conference and put on the table the drugs and guns taken off the street. it sends a message that there is a sheriff in town actually going after bad actors who isn't going to tolerate this destabilizing and illegal activity. i think the american people and the international community need to know about iran's bad behavior and our willingness to take effective actions to push back on it. just as importantly, iran needs to know that the international community remains serious about cracking down on illegal arms shipments and promotion of
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terror. mr. president, i'm committed, i'm willing and ready to help the administration increase its interdiction efforts in any way i can. a shared commitment to this from my colleagues, a shared focus on this from my colleagues is especially important today when many members, the administration and the american people are understandably focused elsewhere on our presidential election next year, on the global refugee crisis, on recent terror attacks and the conflict with isis. mr. president, these are busy times, and as the holidays approach and as congress nears a massive budget deal, i see my colleagues and my constituents focusing less and less on iran. but we must maintain our focus for the months and years to come. given the 24/7 news cycle and the media's incessant focus on the crisis of the moment, we will be tempted to turn our attention elsewhere. but adoption day was not the end of the agreement with iran. in fact, it signified just the
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beginning. and we must think strategically about the middle east which critically includes iran as the central promoteer of terrorism and source of destabilizing action in the region. so we must redouble our efforts to follow through on the most rigorous enforcement of the jcpoa or force consequences. we have to scrutinize iranian actions for signs it is reneging on its commitments. this jcpoa is set to last for 15 years and in some cases indefinitely. congress must not waiver not for one day in our oversight of the implementation of this agreement. whether my colleagues support it or oppose the deal, we should put our differences about that aside and focus on enforcement. the deal is designed to deter iran from evading or cheating on the deal while also countering iranian activity in the region. that's why i worked with a group of my colleagues to introduce
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the iran policy oversight act in september, a bill cosponsored by supporters and opponents of the jcpoa, helps ensure the u.s. aggressively enforces the terms of the nuclear deal. the iran policy oversight act also provides support for our friends in the middle east, our vital and steadfast ally israel most centrally. i'm pleased to hear the administration is negotiating a ten-year memorandum of understanding for israel security and i'm pleased to hear assistance will continue to grow to ensure israel maintains its qualitative military edge. in recent weeks i've had the chance to discuss the iranian deal and our intention to continue to enforce the sanctions that remain on the books and to interdict and push back against iran's destabilizing regional activities. when i was in paris at the global climate conference and had the chance to discuss this with french government officials and business leaders. i will continue these efforts in early january when i'll travel
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with seven other senators to the middle east and to europe to discuss our progress implementing this nuclear deal and the challenges that remain. mr. president, i commend president obama and his administration for engaging with congress during the debate over the iran agreement and in the months since it took effect. but i urge the administration to not lose focus and to work with this congress in the months ahead to ensure strict enforcement of the agreement. but we in congress have our part to do here as well. not least of which is making sure the executive branch has capable and effective officials, which is a crucial part of effective implementation. in recent months not only has the senate not done its job but this chamber's inaction and our apparent focus instead on presidential politics means we are increasingly making this chamber less relevant in american foreign policy. the united states has a very qualified and capable leader in
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the enforcement of sanctions: adam szubin who oversees the enforcement of sanctions in the department of treasury. mr. szubin worked under the bush administration and obama administration. he is a dedicated, capable professional who has been complimented by members of the banking and foreign services committee. he has been nominated to the secretary of foreign terrorism, critical to the enforcements of the jcpa but his nomination has been on hold for months for no clear and publicly stated reason. adam szubin's nomination is more than one of two dozen national-security related nominations including tom shannon, nominated to be the under secretary of political affairs at the state department, a career foreign service officers, a nonpartisan professional who also would play a critical role in working with
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our allies ensuring successful enforcement of this agreement. adam szubin, tom shannon and nearly two dozen other nominees have been blocked seemingly for purely partisan reasons in this senate. i call on my colleagues to release their holds and to give the administration the resources and the personnel it needs to do its job in enforcing this difficult deal. the senate's commitment to overseeing and enforcing the terms of this deal must go beyond simply doing our job and giving the president's nominees and up-or-down vote. we have to do more and i stand ready to work with this president and the next one to fully oversee the jcpoa. the length of this agreement will transcend presidential terms and implementing should transcend politics as well. iran, we know, will seek every opportunity to push the limits of this deal in an attempt to test our resolve. we must not let iran relitigate
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the terms of the deal and escape the boundaries of this deal and lay the groundwork for its future development of a nuclear weapon. we must deter them by holding them accountable. when this president or a future president, republican or democrat, successfully enforces this deal, i will be the first one to compliment them for countering iran's destabilizing activity in the region. and when the administration, current or future, isn't actively and vigorously enforcing this deal and pushing back on iran, i'll be the first to ask it to demand that it do more. mr. president, the iranian government is paying close attention to everything we do, and i for one am determined to make sure that congress, the administration, and the american people are doing the same to demonstrate to iran our determination and our will to deter them and to closely and vigorously enforce this
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difficult deal.
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>> well, our policy is not only helping to improve the prospect and the millions of people in poverty around the world but it's in our national interest too. it's important in terms of uk security and national security, it's also important in prosperity and the international rules can be a key way that we see prosperity that can help developing countries trade their way. >> can my honorable


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