tv U.S. Senate Sens. Carper Sullivan on Iran CSPAN May 17, 2019 1:20am-1:56am EDT
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 o several senators gave their thoughts on the state of us relations with iran. >> mister president years before president trump came to the white house even before president obama and his family were there, our nation was at
odds with an isolated country ruled by a repressive leader. it wasn't long before it became clear to the united nations and our country's own intelligence community that that country that i'm speaking of was enriching uranium with the purpose of obtaining nuclear weapons threatening to destabilize of great importance winding down from the cold war the tensions between the united states and this country were heating up. the administration to de-escalate taking the unprecedented step to helps to reach an agreement to stop them from enriching uranium.
surprisingly he was willing to give unprecedented concessions to verify of the nuclear enrichment had ended. my republican colleagues may be surprised to hear me say especially today one week after the anniversary of the west decision to back out of the iran nuclear deal you might be surprised because i'm not talking about iran. talking about north korea and not president barack obama but donald trump. donald trump was willing to shut down a criminal dictator to give away unprecedented concessions in the hopes north korea would abandon its nuclear program. on the other hand he turned his back onou iran with the
growing moderate population of 75 million people last i checked are under the age of 25. there are some bad actors in iran some of them are in powerful positions to downplay the actions of this administration here is what they try to do they try to diminish the extremist, the hardliners and their sway of what happens in iran and at the same time a new generation that are a more moderate in nature in fact you'd like to have a better relationship with our country. so we look forward to taking a
different course. unlike north korea iran committed two years ago to unprecedented inspections under the jcpoa. july 14 careful preparation , the obama administration went in with iran and five negotiating partners great britai britain, france, germany, russi and china. and that was for years a for lucky longer not based on trust but the distrust and trust but verify that's not
the underlying principle with the jcpoa. this trust but verify that is the theme for the jcpoa. under that agreement iran was required for the uranium enrichment for nuclear purposes subject to invasive inspections by that ia ea they held up their end of the bargain until now. through the jcpoa one year ago other negotiating partners stated the iaea certified for the 14th time in a row iran
has complied with the terms of the agreement the same agreement we pulled out of one year ago. the ia a inspection regime laid out by this agreement is the world's toughest. here's the bottom line. they are much further away from developing nuclear weapons today than it was before the deal was signed several years ago. we have not held up our end of the bargain and 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 iran has complied with the terms of the agreement.
that we pulled out. this decision that we made was one year ago had consequences instead of suffering the stability provided by the nuclear deal last week iran's president now says iran will begin to end its compliance with some portions of the jcpoa. including stockpiling enriched uranium and heavy water. as i said at that time president trump's decision with armed conflict with iran does nothing to constrain their activities to the region and make no mistake not everyone in iran wants to be
our friend. a lot of folks would like to have a friendly better relationship with this country. but today thanks to president trump's appointments to thee national securityad advisor we see that prediction come true sooner than i could have imagined. the trump administration designated the revolutionaryan guard as a foreign terrorist organization and members of the trump administration are going over a plan looking at sanctions from the european
allies to purchase oil from iran. administration has plans to send 120,000 troops to the middle east in response to alleged increased threats from iran. but our allies in the region the brits and germans around the world say they see no such threat. and all this happens in the absence of the senate confirmed secretary of defense. earlier this week from the capital down to the lincoln memorial and then to turn around and head back the vietnam veterans memorial. whenever i do that i run
alongsidewh 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 serve with them. many of us risk our lives over a war based on the premise of the untruth somewhat say a live. in august 1964 lyndon johnson announced to be engage the gulf of tonkin asking congress to pass a resolution supporting those attacks the following day he added these words to his request, the
united states teaching no wider war those were his words 1964 in addition almost decade aslong after that the basis of that document 55000 of my colleagues and my shipmates and felled marines soldiers and airmen, 55000 dead. we hadid a similar situation in iraq at the gulf of tonkin did not involve our ships but the allegations of assertions iraqis were developing weapons of mass destruction the
president and the vice president secretary of defense and secretary of state all asserted these weapons of mass distraction to call on congress to give the president the power to respond appropriately. 55000 names on the vietnam memorial wall, there is no wall according to the 100 men and women that died in iraq since congress and president bush had the authority to respond to the perceived threat of weapons of mass destruction. there is no law those names are written in the graveyard of every state in this
country. 4100 men and women from young to old to lay down their lives with those weapons of mass destruction. those lives were perpetrated by john bolton now fast forward to today we have seen this movie before. because of bones actions in the mideast this will happen again for go i don't want to see it happen again. i have been to too many funerals of servicemembers from delaware dying in iraq.
i don't want to go to anymore. no more spouses, children, parent spouses, children, parents, bros and sisters. as we have done in recent years with families serving crushed by sorrow. being agitated over a decade and then to stop iran's bomb or bomb iran under bold leadership with these policies to become ever more dangerous and isolated from our traditional allies pulling us into another foreign conflict this need this escalation is no way to conduct our foreign
policy or to safeguard our national security. demonstrations actions with respect to iran don't just increase the odds of a conflict but damage the credibility of us around the world. united states cannot be trusted to uphold our commitments with whom we negotiate they have little reason to believe other countries let alone nuclear armed ones like north korea would be willing to negotiate in good faith. there is another option. yesterday former ambassador wendy sherman published an op-ed in the new york times writing the following, war is not inevitable. president trump campaigned
bringing troops home although inadequate for a full-scale wart is foolish war in the middle east as we should have learned bysh now short to achieve the purpose. "to have that interest of diplomatic solutions including possible prisoner exchange the foreign minister of iran that ti met a dozen years ago at the iranian ambassador's residence as the ambassador with united nations it turns out how well spoken he was he went to
undergraduate school in california very smart guy knew all about america and then went ton graduate school in colorado andp ends up here is a senior iranian ambassador to the united nations. later when ahmadinejad left office a bad guy, really bad guy he sent him home called him back to iran and then he disappeared now emerges as a more moderate leader and said i want you to be my foreign assistant secretary of state a
physician that he still holds. now a couple weeks ago that only they suggested we do a prisoner swap we hold people from iranian dissent in this gnuntry and they hold hours those that have dual citizenship. that would actually be a good start. may be to see if we cannot find commonga ground with iran they are. during the eight years of the administration form policy to strengthen the standing of iran and to undermine the power of the hardliners. it worked. not perfectly but it worked in thosesi elections conducted a couple years ago reflect that.
sadly the administration i can't believe intentionally but theire policies what they have done is to undermine the effectiveness of the standing of the moderates in iran and have rallied support of iran around the extremists. n.st the opposite of what was done for the last administration. we have to be smarter than this. thinking about the contrast of the trump administration action between north korea and iran why such a stark contrast clicks i would not trust the leader of north korea any further than i could fly and
then for this president to embrace this plan and ways that befuddle me and other folks included beyond me. and then with a nuclear weapon cracks why won't president trump to work for those held in iran cracks so those answers are provided by thomas friedman the famous journalist whose column appears from time to time and he wrote something called the trump doctrine that gives an answer why he's trying to get us out of the jcpoa. it goes a something like this.
obama built it i broke it and you fix it. think my colleagues would agree the president's determination to destroy obama'sst achievements and other shared in this country by allies and friends including france and germany the president's determination to destroy brock obama's achievements and in this case leading us into another eendless war in the middle eas. mister h president i urge president trump to engage in diplomacy with iran rather
than engaging. you know more than i do but whenever he mentions george w. bush talking how he got us into a war that cost thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars with the iraq war. so that would suggest to me that the idea putting troops and more money into a war with iran has to be done with something with care on this one your anniversary of the trump administration pulling out i would urge the president and his advisers to think carefully what we really see as a country. we should be prioritizing
diplomacy not escalating tensions with those american lives with noit coherent strategy and cooler heads will prevail and it's in our best interest that they do john kennedy there's a lot of things that are memorable never negotiate out ofnd fear but never be afraid to negotiate. i think we are wise to remember those words and the last thing out there from former military the marine colonel serving here from alaska to say we know people we serve with those who have given their lives in combat around the world. at dover air force base maybe the best airman base in the world five or 6000 people who work there it is also home to
one month ago the marines came back to this country afghanistan it's not the first and will not be the last four servicemenin to come home coming home to his wife they have three daughters four, eight, and ten. i have seen this movie before. i have seen it at dover air force base with countless bodies that have come back from overseas.
i think about those kids every day and i'm sure my colleagues think about men and women from their state to have served and in some cases with great courage and failure one - - valor with thosemi ideas those colleagues of mine serving in vietnam was premised on a lie and 4100 graveyards all over the country we have to be smarter than that we owe it not just to the families of those men and women but never negotiate out of fear but never be afraid to negotiate. i yield the floor.
>> the senator from alaska. >> thank you mister president. i am down here on the floor specifically on a thursday to talk about alaska making a big difference in my state referred to as the alaskan of the week but this is the senate and we have debates and we are respectful and there is no one i respect more than my friend from the senator from delaware. service in vietnam, captain in the navy so when he speaks i listen and i have respect this isn't what i was planning on doing that listening to someone i respect i thought i would offer a counter view for those watching in the gallery and on tv for what he just talked about.
because i just happen to respectfully disagree most of what my colleague just mentioned. so i will touch on that before i talk about an alaskan doing great work. but listening to my colleague talking about president trump turning his back on iran those sanctions replaced that we voted for here in the senate are antagonizingra iran the foreign minister is a moderate before we touch on that there is a new narrative coming from my colleagues and a lot of respect for my good friend from delaware but this blame america first blame trump and the generals and advisories that iran is innocent it is a moderate we are turning her back on them, sanctioning and antagonizing them.
with all due respect to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle this is could not be further from the truth iran is no innocent at all is the biggest state-sponsored terrorism in the world and has been for decades the jcpoa whichme my colleague is lamenting i dug into that and have been involved a broader iran isolation policy over the years, was the first major national security agreement and history that had a bipartisan majority of senators and house members who were against it. against it. not for it it did not have support in this body certainly not in the house or senate or with the american people so
somehow it was a great achievement but it was the giveaway for the large estate sponsor inm terrorism for go this is not a good agreement in this body said so a bipartisan majority in the house and senate disagree with president obama. partisan minority in the house and senate the first time in history on the national security agreement of this magnitude. there is a myth this was supported but it wasn't. democrats and republicans opposed it the majority of both houses and by the american people certainly was not. this is the country that asked the deal to continue to wipe israel off the map. not a nice or innocent nation to say we want to wipe israel off the map. they continue to say that but in my four years in the senate
only one other us senator has even talked about this issue starting in 2004 i was a staff officer for the command of us central command and there is top-secret information started to show the region that the iranians were supplying the iraqi shia militia with sophisticated ied's killing our soldiers andes marines and sailors. the iranians of course denied it. they were lying that turned out to be w true infrared tripwires projectiles i can punch through anything, tanks and if you were the american soldier hit by these you were pretty much dead i asked the chairman joint chief of staff
open hearing how many american military members were killed by these iranian ied's cracks over 2000 was the answer. but my colleagues don't talk about that. so the notion the foreign minister is a moderate quick's literally the blood of american soldiers on his hands there is a notion that our allies for the jcpoa. and then to be pumped in the closest to iran.
and talk about president trump giving advice for season generals and admirals with the belitary presence in the region and then to drum up war whatt about general done short one - c - general dunford cracks reading the intel that is prompting this discussion but i cannot talk about it but the administration with reinforcing the military capabilities in the region. that if you try to do is to
kill and wound thousands of our military members we will have the capability to make you pay. at like to see anyone come through dover air force base but 2000 of our troops were killed and wounded by these leaders of the largest state-sponsored terrorism of the world and theme notion somehow they are an innocent country that we are antagonizing or turning her back on cracks that is not accurate. watch out for the new narrative the iranians are innocent. what is provocative is killing our troops to have a long history of doing it with our
diplomats it won't be so easy this time. we will get a brief by secretary of state and secretary of defense next week on the caa this is appropriate but let's remember the real bad guys. but then start to make this narrative that iran is the innocent like john bolton is evil. ise largest sponsor of terrorism killing and maiming thousands of american soldiers
were the bad guys cracks i don't think so watch out for that narrative to have that baformer negotiator from president obama that somehow i'm not a big blame america first and we need to be careful talking about demonizing our generals or admirals, national security advisers to make iranians look innocent when they are not. those military members because they never do.