tv U.S. Senate Sens. Carper Sullivan on Iran CSPAN May 16, 2019 7:51pm-8:27pm EDT
shaped our leaders, challenges they faced and the legacies they have left behind. order your copy today. c-span's "the presidents" is now available as a hard cover or e-book at c-span.org the/thepresidents -- c-span.org the/thepresidents. >> earlier today president trump was asked by a reporter whether the u.s. was going to war with iran, and he responded by saying, i hope not. on the senate floor, several senators gave their thoughts on the state of u.s. relations with iran. >> mr. president, years before president trump went to, moved to w the white house, even befoe president obama and his family lived there the, our nation was at odds with an isolated country tuled by a repressive leader. it wasn't long before it became clear to united nations and our
country's own intelligence community that that country that i'm speaking of was enriching uranium for theor purpose of obtaining a nuclear weapon. threatening to destabilize a region of great strategic importance. as the world was winding down from the cold war, tensions between the united states and this country were heating up. an administration that some would call naive recently attempt to deescalate tensions, taking unprecedent thed steps to hold out an olive branch to an unpredictable regime in hopes of reaching a momentous agreement to stop them from continuing to enrich uranium. surpriseingly, that president gave trust can ask was willing to give -- trust and was willing to give unprecedented concessions. all withoutia any reliable mechanism to verify whether the
nuclear enrichment had, indeed, ended. my republican colleagues would be surprised to hear me say today, mr. president, especially today, a week after the anniversary of the u.s. decision to pull out of the iran nuclear deal, and they're right to be surprised because i'm not talking about iran. i i'm talking about north korea. and i'm not talking about president barack obama, i'm talking about donald trump. donald trump was willing to sit down with a criminal dictator and give away unprecedented concessions in thenp hopes that north korea would abandon its nuclear program. on the other hand, he turned his dback on iran, a large country with a growing moderate population, roughly 75 million people, the majority of which, erst i checked, are under the age of 25.
a moderate president, and let me be real clear, there's some bad actors in iran, and some of them are in powerful positions. but unfortunately, the actions of in the administration -- unlike the actions of the last tministration, the obama administration, here's what they sought to do: they sought to diminish the extremists, the hard-liners and their sway over what happens in iran. and at the same time, to bolster a new generation of iranians that are growing up who are more ndderate in nature and, frankly, would like to have a better relationship with our country. but sadly, president trump turned his back on iran and looked forward. he took a different course, a different course, for sure. unlike north korea, iran committed two yearsrs ago to
unprecedented invasive inspections under a deal called jcpoa. on july 14, 2015, after years of careful preparation, the obama administration began implementing the jcpoa with iran and with five negotiating partners; great britain, france, germany, russia and china. in an effort to end iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons for years and possibly, if we're lucky, forever. ethe deal was based not on trus. it was based on mistrust. mistrust. and there's a ronald reagan line that says trust but verify. and that's not the underlying principle with the iran deal. the jcpoa. mistrust but verify. that's the theory, that's the theme that underlies the jcpoa.
and under that agreement, iran was required to end uranium enrichmentum for nuclear purposs and would be subject to invasive inspections by the international atomic energy agency, the iaea. and to the surprise of many, they have apparently held up their end of the bargain until now. we pulled out of it, the jcpoa, a year ago. our other negotiating parties stayed in, and the iaea certified for the 14th time recently -- i think like in february this year -- they certified for the 14th time in a row that iran has complied with the terms of the agreement to the letter and spirit of the agreement that we pulled out of a year ago. and we're the only one who's pulled out of it to date. the iaea itself says that the
inspection regime hate out by this agreement, the jcpoa, is the world's toughest, the world's toughest. so here's the bottom line. because of the jcpoa, iran is much further away from developing a nuclear weaponed today than it was before the deal was signed several years ago. finish -- however, as i said earlier, we have not held up our end of the bargain. one year ago president trump announced this country would unilaterally leave the jcpoa, even though the iaea certified for the 14th time in a row this year that iran has complied with the terms of the agreement. we pulled out, leaving our allies who are committed to the deal in good faith in the lurch. this decision thatn we made, i think reare greatly, a year --
regrettably, a year agod had consequences. and instead of celebrating continued stability provided by the iran nuclear deal last week, iran's president, president rouhani, announced that iran will begin to end its compliance with some portions of the jcpoa. including by stockpiling enriched uranium and heavy water. as i said at that time, president trump's decision increased theec odds of armed conflict with iran while doing nothing to constrain their other malicious activities in the region. and again, make no mistake, not everybody in iran wants to be our friend. most of the young people want to be our friend. and a lot of the folks who have been elected to office over there would like to have a friendly, better relationship with this country. but there's some who do not, and i would fully acknowledge that.
well, today -- thanks to president trump's appointment of john bolton to be our national security adviser, the president's national security add a visor -- we're seeing that prediction come true, truer than i could have imagined. last month the trump administration designated the revolutionary guard, iranian revolutionary guard as a foreign terrorist organization, further antagonizing iran. and members of the trump administration are reportedly mulling over a plan to refuse to issue sanctions waivers to sanctions to our european allies who intend to purchase oil from iran. and thed a managers has reportedly -- the administration has reportedly drawn up plans to send 120,000 of our troops to middle east in response to
alleged increased threats from iran. but our allies in the region, including the french, the buritz, the germans -- the buritz, the germans -- the brits, the germans, our allies have said they've seen no such threat. and all of this is happening in the absence of a senate-confirmed secretary of defense. .. and head back this way and i run by the vietnam entering memorial and whenever i do that i run alongside the memorial and i take my left hand and with my fingers i touch the names of 55000 men and women who died in
that war. i served with them. in the last vietnam veteran serving in the senate. they died and many of us risked our lives over a war was based or promised on an untruth. some would say a lie. in august 1964 the criticizes of lyndon johnson and knowledge that the u.s. navy were engaged and asked congress to pass a resolution supporting retaliatory attacks. the following day he added these words to his request. the united states [inaudible] seeks no wider war. those were his words in august 1964.
his mission went on to justify buddy almost decade long war after that on the basis of that document. 55000 of my colleagues, my shipmates, fellow marines, soldiers, airmen and 55000 dead. we had a similar situation in iraq and did not involve [inaudible] did not involve did not involve the vietnamese but allegations that the iraqis were developing weapons of mass destruction and the president, vice president and that case bush and cheney and secretary of defense all asserted that iraqis
were developing weapons of mass destruction and we call on congress to give the president the power to respondpo appropriately. 55000 names on the vietnam memorial wall and there is no wall w for the 4100 men and womn who died in iraq since they provided president bush authority to respond to the alleged perceived threat and weapons of mass destruction in iran. while there is no more weather those 4100 whether those names are written in regards or in every state in this country. 4000100 men, women, some young and some old.
they laid down their lives and was really based on a lie. weapons of mass destruction. i want to say that life was perpetrated chiefly if i'm not mistaken by john bolton united administration and fast forward to today we have seen this movie before and thanks to his rash actions in the middle east i can see it happening again i don't want to see it happen again w ie been to many funerals people servicemembers from delaware who died in iraq and i don't want to go through that anymore and i want to comfort spouses, children parents, brothers and sisters as we have done in
recent years with families that a been crushed by sorrow from our engagement in iraq. john bolton has agitated for iraq for war for over a decade and even wrote an op-ed about it. in the op-ed was entirely a quote, to stop iran's bombs to bomb iran. under mr. bolton's leadership the trump administration is becoming ever more dangerous and evermore isolated from our traditional allies. the strategy could plunge us into anotheratng foreign war ift corrected. this need to escalation is in no way to conduct our foreign policy. or to safeguard our national security what is more the
demonstration actions and not just increased the odds of an armed conflict but also damage credibility of our country around the world. the united states cannot be trusted to uphold our commitment with whom we negotiate and a lot of little reason to believe other countries, let alone nuclear arms like north korea will be willing to negotiate with us in good faith. there is another option here and there's another option here. yesterday former ambassador u.s. ambassador wendy sherman published an op-ed in "the new york times" in which they wrote the following. war is not inevitable and president trump campaigned on bringing troops home and not sending tens of thousands more to the middle east. such a deployment although inadequate for a full-scale war is more than foolish.as war in the middle east as we
should have learned by now is neither swift nor and north shore to achieve its purpose "-right-double-quote. they asked a former senator to express an interest in the phonetic including a possible prisoner exchange. the foreign minister of iran were first met a dozen year or so ago at the the ambassador's residence in your city not the best with yes but the investor with united nations non- i met him and i got was impressed by how well spoken he was he had gone to undergraduate school in san francisco in california and
really smart guy not only well spoken but knew a lot about america spoke english as well as any of us in the room and went to graduate school in denver, colorado. he ends up here as the iranian ambassador to the united nations and later he left office [inaudible], really bad guy, president of iran before president roh honey he sent sent him back on and got him out of the u.s. and he disappeared into the election and he emerges more moderate, gorbachev, guy and said i like for you to be my -- like being there secretary of state. position he still holds. not long ago couple weeks ago in the role he suggested that we do a prisoner swap and we hold a number of people from iranian dissent in this countryia may hd
about half dozen or so mostly with dual citizenship in the country and foreign ministers said why don't we do a straight up prisoner swap that would be a good start. and maybe talk down the rhetoric and see if we can find common ground with iran again. during the eight years of previous demonstrations our foreign policy was designed to strengthen theo standing of the moderates in iran and to undermine the power of the hardlines in that country and it worked not perfectly but it worked in the elections they conducted couple of years ago or six years ago reflect that.dm sadly this demonstration has i can't believe they did it intentionally but policy in the last two years what they have
done is undermine the effectiveness and the standing of the moderates in iran and they have rallied support around for extremists and hardliners. just the opposite of what was done in the last administration. we got to be smarter than that and we got to be smarter than this. when i think about the contrast between the trump administration sections in north korea and iran i can't help but wonder why such a stark contrast and i would not trust the leader of north korea any further than i could tell him and for this president to embrace this guy and to trust him in ways that befuddle me and i think other folks included in folks in his party beyond me why
is this demonstration so determined to carefully craft a deal that keeps iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. why won't president trump work to ensure their freedom of iran? party answers provided by thomas freedman highly regarded famous journalist whose column appears from time to time national newspapers and tom freedman wrote year or so ago the trump document and i think it provides an answer to the question why president trump has been so determined to get us out of the jcpoa and embrace a leader like the one we have in north korea but the trump document goes from something like this and says this is a quote. obama built this and i, being trump broke it we need to fix
it. that is that the obama built it. i can't broke it and use the rest of us fix it. i think my colleagues would agree it would be a travesty if thede president's determinationo destroy president obama's achievement and an achievement shared by others the country and by our allies and friends among other places britain, france and germany but president determination to destroy barack obama's achievement that is as a meditation in this case the iran nuclear deal led us to another and this more in the middle east and mr. president i urge president trump as he has done in the case of north korea to engage in the policy and ratchet down contentions with iran rather than engaging in the this provocation. mr. president, you meet with the president more than i do but some of the times i've been with
them last two years wheneverr i mention george w. bush in the same breath he talks about how he got us into war the cost of thousands of lives and has cost literally tens of billions of dollars in the iraq war. so that would suggest to me that the idea of throwing more troops and a whole lot more money into a war with iran has got to be something to do with care. on this one year anniversary of the trump administration's pulling out of the iran deal and foolishly doing so i would urge the president and his advisers to think carefully about what outcomes do we seek as a countrm and we should be prioritizing diplomacy at this time, not ndcalating tensions and risking more and american life with no coherent strategy. it is my hope cooler heads will prevail and also in america's best interest that they do.
john kennedy said a lot of things that are memorable and one of my favorites is never negotiate out of fear but never be afraid to negotiate. never negotiate a fair but never be afraid to negotiate. i think it would be wise to remember those words with respect to iran. last thing i will say to the presiding officer, former military, succeeded by marine colonel to serve from alaska and we know people and service people were given their lives up and comment in wars far away around the world and were proud in delaware of the dover air force base maybe the bestas airless face in the world, five, 6000 people mostly working in uniform, big planespl and maybe the best in the world. it is also home to a mortuary and a month ago the bodies of three marines one from delaware
were brought back to this country and in afghanistan it was the vehicle was blown up and they're not the first and sadly will not be the last members of armed services to come home. one of the marines [inaudible] his body came home to his wife, shannon, and to their three daughters ages four, eight and ten. i have seen this movie before and i've seen it at dover air force base countless bodies coming back from overseas. i think about those kids every day and i think my colleagues the men and women from the state
to have served and in some cases with great courage and valor but the idea that the 55000 of those colleagues of mine who served in vietnam and war premised on ally and 4100 are buried in graveyards all over the countrya we've got to be smarter than that and we are to not just the families of those men and women who died but those who served today in their family. never negotiate out of fear but never be afraid to negotiate. i.e. of the floor. >> mr. president,. >> senator for alaska. >> inc. you, mr. president. i am down here on the floor to
do what i typically do on a thursday which is talk about an alaskan who is making a big difference on the state, the alaskan of the week but you know, this is the senate and we have debates and are respectful in our debate and there is no in i respect more than my friend from delaware, senator carper, and his service in vietnam. captain in the navy and so when he speaks i listen and have respect but i thought very briefly was not what is planning on doing but just listening to someone i respect i thought i would offer a bit of a counter view for those watching in the gallery or entity and what he talked about. because it's a really important issue but i happen to respectfully disagree with most of what, not everything, but most of what my colleague just mentioned so i will touch on that, mr. president, before i
talk about an alaskan doing great work but just listen to mk colleague he talked about president trump turning his back on iran and the sanctions we placed o on iran which we all voted for here in the senate are antagonizing iran. foreign ministers [inaudible] is a moderate but let me just touch on that and there's this narrative starting to come out from a colleagues and again a lot of respect for my good friend from delaware about thiso blame america first or blame trump as if the generals and admirals were not advising him and iran is this new innocent moderate and returning are back on them and sanctioning and antagonizing them so with all due respect to my colleagues on
the other side of the aisle this cannot be further from the truth and iran in the innocence. iran is no innocent at all. iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and has been for decades. and daisy poa which my colleague is amending i read that and i can do that and been involved in our broader iran isolation policy for many years but that was the first major foreign-policy national security agreement in u.s. history that had a bipartisan majority of senators and bipartisan majority of house members who were against it, against it. not for it but not to support in his body and certainly not in the senate or the house and not from the american people so this meant that somehow this was a great agreement and it was not. it was a give a way, billions to the largest state sponsor of terrorism where in ten years the free to go develop nuclear weapons. this is not agreement the body said so. bipartisan majority at the house
and senate disagreed with president obama. partisan minority in the house and senate, first time in u.s. history on the national security remit of this magnitude somehow passed so there's this myth that this was supported by congress and it wasn't democrats and about and opposed it the majority in both houses invite the american people. remember this was the country that after the deal the deal continue to say we want to wipe israel off the map and not a nice nation thing that we want to wipe israel off the map may continue to say that and here is the final thing, mr. president. in my four years in the senate i've only heard one other u.s. senator, the senator from arkansas, talk about this issue. starting in 2004 and 2005 when i was a s staff officer as a marie
commander of u.s. central and there was top-secret information started to show in the region were out there in the commander of the middle east that the iranians were supplying the iraqi shiite militia with veryh sophisticated and revised devices that were killing our soldiers and our marines and our sailors. a the iranians denied it and were lying but it all came out to be true and these were infrared tripwires, explosively formed projectile that can punch through anything, abram tank, humvee, if you are an american soldier got hit you are pretty much dead. i asked the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in an open armed service hearing how many american military members were killed and woundedem by these iranian ied's, over 2000 was his
answer. 2000. i've never heard any of my colleagues talk about that. the notion that foreign minister is a moderate when he was negotiating with secretary terry is belied by the facts. this foreign minister literally had the blood of american soldiers on his hands. i take these issues very seriously like my colleague from delaware does and there's a notion that our allies were not. some of our most important allies, israel, gulf arab states who we've been allies for four decades were adamantly opposed and they are the closest to iran. mr. president, thisio notion tht we will blame the demonstration and we keep talking president trump but he's getting advice from releasees and generals and
admirals to reinforce our military presence in the region because they seek threats. in the media there's this narrative that the president is trying to drum up a war but what about the generals and what about general dunford? well-respected marine. chairman of the joint chiefs and are they doing this? i just came from reading some of the intel and the gift that is prompting this discussion and of course i can't talk about it but isi support you what the ministration is doing with regard to reinforcing our military capabilities in the region and this is the reason that it sends a message to iran that if you will try to do what you did in 2004, to the five, 2006 which is killed and wounded thousands of our military members that we will have the capability to make you pay.
i don't like seeing anyone come from the dover air force base either but over 2000 of our troops were killed and wounded by these leaders of the largest state-sponsored terrorism in the world and the notion that somehow there is innocent country that we are quote antagonizing or, turning our back on, is not accurate. watch out for the new narrative that the iranians are the innocent and somehow we are being provocative. what is provocative is killing our troops which they have a long history of doing in lebanon in the marines we need to send a signal that if you will look at doing this again or tryu' to or with our diplomats trying to kill them that it will not be so easy this time. i support what is happening
there and i hope my colleagues, well. we will get a brief by the secretary of state, secretary of defense and have the cia next week on this which is appropriate but let's remember who the real bad guys are. we are americans and we have political differences but armehow if we make this narrative that i ran is the innocent and somehow the trump guys, john bolton, for example, are some evil people, come on. come on. really? the largest state sponsor of terrorism, responsible for killing and maiming and wounding thousands of american soldiers, best and brightest in the country and we are the bad guys? i don't think so. watch out for that narrative. i certainly hope it will not be something my colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- is in
the media and the former negotiator for president obama making the statement that somehow poor iran. all bad america. i'm not a big blame america first number i think we need to be careful when we talk about china demonizing our generals, admirals, national security advisers make the iranians like there are some innocence when they are not. i wish more my colleagues talk about the number of dead military members killed by the force in iran. and wounded. they never do. no one ever here talks about it. amnesia. the news has been terminated -- >> i expect there will be more coverage on a matter that i think is of great urgency to the country and global security and peace and that is the tensions