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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 9, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the hated enemy, death to america remains their slogan even to this very day. the ideal doesn't change iran's plans for advancing their cause in the middle east. it frees them to create a nuclear weapon after a positive. it telegraphs danger to iranians neighbors and gives around money , it probably gives them missiles. it enables them to threaten israel. the deal does not create peace. it only postpones a war. now, president obama says we have no choice. well, if we have no choice it's because he has negotiated us in the no choice position. america is never in a no choice position. this is america. we remain the most powerful and influential neighbor on earth and can still use our power and influence to find a better way.
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don't let them tell you we have been abandoned by our allies so we had no other choice. we are plenty of allies out there if we will just stand up and lead. [cheers and applause] >> in this vote in congress matters. your presence here today, my presence, all of us today, it matters. we can't fix this problem in the future. unless we have a vote of disapproval now. this is a treaty. this is a treaty and should be subject to a two thirds approval under the constitution. but, because of the corker amendment that mark the event was talking about we are now required to get a majority to disapprove it, 60%, to block a filibuster and two thirds to overcome obama's veto. where was the congressional leadership to use all of its
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congressional power and leverage to make the president obey the constitution? all for the senators, all for the senators at the national stage today voted for the corker amendments. all four of them. we should demand more backbones than this. show a little leadership on capitol hill. show little backbone. stand up to this deal. the deal is not the end of the iranian danger. it's the beginning. i believe that we have to show the leadership and experience to prepare us for the coming crisis. if the deal continues to threaten our future, it will be altered and discarded in the future. to congressionally oppose the sequester has to come off the budget. the army, navy, raise, and air force must be rebuilt. a new nato must be created in
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the middle east with american leadership to block iran's expansion, the same new nato must be engaged to deal with the rise of barbaric and barbarism like we see with isis, countries in the middle east will follow if we lead in this is where presidential leadership must be spending its efforts, not into succumbing to deals like this one. now, there's nothing wrong, ladies and gentlemen with diplomacy if the right people are conducting diplomacy, not the former secretary of state hillary clinton who took no action to deter the injured-- danger we were in. not seconds in state john kerry who became so desperate, so desperate for a deal that he lost sight of the big picture dangers that this very deal has set in motion. for diplomacy to succeed it has to be backed by america's ability to credibly use force.
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it can't succeed with presidential leadership that sets a red lines and backs off. with presidential leadership that apologizes by e quaid in isa to the crusades. >> we will leave coverage of the tea party patriots rally of the national glottis afternoon opposed to the nuclear agreement from iran and will hear now from senate leaders as they return from their party congress meetings. >> to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves. this is the foreign-policy debate, at least of the last couple decades and senate republican majority intends to treat it with seriousness it deserves. the leader on this issue, as all of you know, who led us to pass the iran nuclear agreement review act in the first place was the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee.
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had he not stepped up and been able to get enough democrats to support this we would've had no voice in it at all. it remains an executive agreement which means a year and a half from now the next president will be able to start all over if he or she chooses, so it is not a treaty. we will-- you will be looked at again, i assume if there is a republican president in the white house in january of it 2017. with that, let me turn to chairman corker. >> think you, leader and thank you for being here. i am looking forward to today and i know we will have a very sober and serious debate about the actual policy that is before us and it will begin in just a few minutes on the floor. i think most all senators will be there. i want to thank him and others. people on both sides of the aisle for the opportunity for us
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to weigh in on this. i think all of you know the president had planned to go directly to the un security council through something called a nonbinding political commitment and make sure that congress had no role in this whatsoever. as a matter fact, as we see the documents now, when they had planned for us to weigh into this was going to be in eight and a half years, that's called the transition date. at that point they were going to get us to weigh in. thankfully, we had a huge bipartisan majority, 98 people voted in support of us waiting in this matter and we will have the opportunity to do that very very soon. again, i could not be more disappointed in the outcome of this negotiation which began as a dismantlement of iran's nuclear program and i think, by the way, had the president achieved what he began and stated on the front and there would be a hundred people in support of this. he also said he wanted to get iran's nuclear problem and all the snow they have no practical
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need whatsoever for this program. they have no need for 19000 centrifuges. have one nuclear reactor. they can buy enriched creating-- urania more cheaply and yet they put their people through incredible economic distress over time for one reason and that is they want the ability to have a nuclear weapon and i believe this agreement paves the way for them to be able to do that and i look forward to discussing the policy around this on the floor very soon. i'm thankful as mitch mentioned that the two leading democrats on foreign-policy issues, united states senate ranking member today and former ranking member both spent more time on this agreement than any democrat in the senate and they both oppose it on policy grounds, so we got a bipartisan majority that opposes this here in a bipartisan majority that opposes it in the house and hopefully we will be able to send it to the
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presidents and resolution of disapproval, which will be what the majority of the people in the senate and house believe about this deal and should not be implemented. >> president obama's deal with iran trivializes the single most important and significant national security threat to the united states and allies during our lifetime. unfortunately, the trivialization does not software. with the announcement that more democrats will vote to oppose the deal, now the white house and the minority leader are saying that they will stop the senate from voting on the deal entirely. senator corker has led the effort, as you heard, to get 98 senators on a bipartisan basis to pass this process by which we
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will have an up or down vote and to account ability for each senator who votes on the steel. , apparently the effort now is to deny the united states senate the same opportunity that the ayatollah and the radiation parliament will have which is to blow up or down on the steel. that cannot stand and i would hope that our senate collies reconsider that ill advised course of action. that is only the iranian parliament get a chance to review this, but because the president took this to the united nations all these other countries around the world had a chance to vote on this and get the democrats are talking about blocking united states senate from voting on it. of the president's deal is a bad deal in the kind of deal that the president and secretary kerry said they would reject when they said no deal is better than a bad deal. yet, if you look at the particulars of this it doesn't prevent iran from acquiring a
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nuclear weapon. it gives them access to tens of billions of dollars to finance their terrorist activities and gives them access to conventional weapons and ballistic meals with which they can continue to conduct their terrorist activities and consists of side deals that none of us have seen. what we are told, of course, is a radiance to even do their own inspection, which is pretty remarkable and you talk about the fox guarding the hen house. so, this is a bad deal and it's been rejected by the american people, by a two to one margin if you look at the polls and since july that support for this has gone down 12%. it's no wonder the american people are turning against it is steel. there has already been noted a bipartisan majority in the united states senate, united states house of representatives that opposes this deal and get democrats in the united states senate talk about blocking from us having a debate. that was unfortunate to read it
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would be a tragic outcome or something that is this important to the national security interest for the american people in the united states. >> and to know the intentions of iran and the supreme leader today said 25 years from now israel will no longer exist and continues to refer to the united states as the great satan, so iran with a nuclear weapon makes us all less safe and less secure. we know their intentions and now this is what the capabilities will be in the future. also, today hillary clinton gave a speech. with a lot of tough talk about it iran, but it's hard to take it seriously because it was hillary clinton as secretary of state who opened the door to iran to continue to enrich uranium. that's the path to a bomb. she has now taken credit for being the want to open the door to what is a terrible deal. terrible deal for the people of united states and the people of the world.
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so, hillary clinton will be held responsible for the role she has played in this. between hillary clinton secretary of state and president obama there is no red line and we see this in their foreign-policy around the world, we see it in russia, ukraine, north korea, syria, iran. this administration will be held accountable for making the world less safe, less secure and less stable. for direct lets me just add one thing before taking a couple of questions. the prepared if you have not gotten him already for a flood of press releases coming out from every democrat who supported the president's bad deal with the iranians about how they will bash iran and the future. every single one of them will try to trivialize this votes, try to convince their constituents that they still early our top on iran. we will be happy to take up any bill that legitimately goes
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after the iranian regime just as soon as it has enough cosponsors to override a presidential veto. we will not be turning the senate floor into an opportunity for sort of therapeutic get well exercises on behalf of all the democrats who ended up voting up for this bill and will want to try to deceive their constituents into thinking that it really wasn't that importance i really am willing to stand up to a random. we are interested in the united states senate in making a law and i think on this issue the way you make a law, obviously is to have enough cosponsors to be able to override a presidential veto. >> over the house now moments before getting started on their own version and they say they now have a disagreement over whether the caucus september 17 has even started. how much of a danger is there
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with this-- if this process gets backed up in them the necessary debate and backed up until september 30? >> i'm going to ask chairman corcoran to comment as well, but as i understand the law, we have to act before september 17, which is next week or the deal goes forward. is and that pretty much the way it works? >> correct. i think the best way as i said yesterday is to look their. let's face it, we don't have all of the documents. we spent four days back-and-forth, ben cardin and i over a four-day period try to work through these details of what documents will be supplies, what document will not be supplied and there is no question that two of the documents are not here and by the way, i am sure that then was checking with wendy sherman and others and i'm sure they know what the protocol is at the iaea
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, but i don't know that takes us. as mitch mentioned, as the leader mentioned, the clock ends september 17. the president will go ahead and begin lifting sanctions and i think most of us who know as much as we know about the deal even if the two side agreements were available and pure as the driven snow, meaning outstanding documents, i don't think that which interview of whether allowing iran to industrialize their nuclear program is a bad deal, so my point is that i think the best way to express concerns about the document, but also concerns about the deal is self to disapprove the deal and to go forward in that manner. o. the next senate republican yea avaders with remarks on the irah nuclear agreement and we will gk live now to the senate floor as
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lawmakers begin debate on the disapproval resolution. n the iran nuclear deal negotiated by the administration and the president. i rise in my opposition to that agreement and to explain why i will vote against it, but before will vote against it, but before before i do:mittee. former chairman menendez from new jersey, ranking member cardin from maryland and chairman corker from tennessee. throughout the entire debate on the iran nuclear deal, they have been forthright in being sure everybody got every question they wanted answered, that every issue was exposed and that everybody had the time to participate to the fullest degree possible. great leadership on the part of senator corker, great leadership on the part of senator cardin and great assistance on the part of senator menendez. in the end in committee, i voted for the resolution of disapproval to vote against the nuclear arrangement with the iranians. and i want to talk to you about why. first of all, the president said a vote against the deal is a vote for war. i argue with that. in fact, i think a vote against the deal is a vote of strength.
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a vote for the deal is an appeasement to the iranian people, to the iranian ayatollahs, and a group of people who have not been trustworthy in negotiations with our country for the past 60 years. second, i think it's a vote against strength and for appeasement. when in fact there has never been a time more important for the united states of america to be strong than today. think about this, mr. president -- bodies of young syrian children are washing up on the shore of the mediterranean. the russians have established a beachhead in crimea, ukraine and now in the arctic. last week our president went to alaska and the chinese sent five ships off the coast just to wave the chinese flag in the face of our president. our diplomacy around the world is faltering and failing because we're not resolved, we're not as strong as we used to be. diplomat cally, we're not respected. militarily we're not feared. it is time we made sure that the vote we cast on this iranian nuclear deal is not a vote that sends another signal of weakness but instead a signal of strength. now, why am i voting against the iran nuclear deal?
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there are five principal reasons. number one is the basis upon which i voted for the new start treaty five years ago. when i voted for that treaty, i was on the foreign relations committee as well. the questions i asked at that time were the same questions i'm asking now about what's not a treaty but i think is a treaty but what the president has called an agreement. number unone, is it enforceable? number two, do we have inspections? number three, do we have credibility? have i seen all the documents? number five, is it best for my children and grandchildren and the future of my country? i haven't seen all the documents. now i find out we never will see all of them because the aden dellums of the iaea is not available to the senate. that's number one. number two, can we have inspections? you can have inspections kind of, sort of. you have to have 24 hours notice, four days to approve. that's not a fair deal. when i voted for the new start treaty, the principal reason i finally did was this -- russians were allowed in the united states to inspect our nuclear warheads, we were allowed in russia to inspect theirs.
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we had absolute credibility in the inspection regimen. we knew what we were getting. it was an enforceable treaty. this is not that. this is one that could be cheated on too easily and far too easily for the american people and for the security of my children and grandchildren. and what about my children and grandchildren? why are they of interest to me in this vote? they are because they are our future. the future of all mankind and the young people today who will run these countries in the years ahead. unless there is a rogue nation with nuclear weapons that could disrupt the world balance of power. that's just what the iranians are capable of being. i want to make sure i don't do anything which would facilitate iranian use of nuclear weapons in the future. i don't think this deal protects us from that. that's why we're going to vote against it. lastly, i want to comment about the issue of a cloture vote. i understand there will be a vote to filibuster the final vote on the resolution of disapproval rather than having a resolution of disapproval. i think that's wrong. i think the american people need -- deserve to know where each of us stand and the people of georgia deserve to know where johnny isakson stands, what i'm going to do and why i'm going to
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do it. to vote against cloture is to protract having a final vote on the resolution of disapproval and leaves open the whole issue. it's not fair to the american people, it's not right for the american people and it's avoiding our responsibility. so i will vote for cloture so we can go to a final vote on the resolution of disapproval and hope every member of the senate will do the same thing. to do anything less is wrong for america, wrong for our heritage and wrong for our future. so i end where i began. i want to thank senator corker, senator menendez and senator cardin for their forthright leadership. i have studied hard, worked hard to try and find the best parts of this deal and the worst parts of this deal. i find it fails in those five tests that i have given to it and i will vote no. i will vote for the resolution of disapproval and vote against the treaty with iran on the iran nuclear deal. with that said, mr. president, i yield back my time and ask for a quorum call. the president pro tempore: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: are we in a quorum call? the president pro tempore: we are in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with, and, mr. president, the senate is not in order. the president pro tempore: the senate will become in order. mr. mcconnell: colleagues, before the senate is a
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resolution that would disapprove of the joint comprehensive plan of action agreed to by the united states, china, france, germany, the russian federation, the united kingdom, the european union and the islamic republic of iran. i've long said the senate should assess this deal by employing a simple standard. will it further or will it harm the national security interests of the united states and her allies? by that measure, i believe senators must vote to disapprove of the deal. i really wish that weren't the case, but it's a predictable outcome when you consider the mindset with which the administration appeared to approach these negotiations.
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the president's overall foreign policy has long been guided by policies and desires to withdraw forward deployed conventional military power from operational theaters, to reduce america's commitments and capabilities and to rely upon international organizations to uphold international order. that's the type of mind set that guided the administration's negotiators on this deal and has resulted in a flawed deal that a majority of congress and a broad swath of the american people now seem poised to reject, and that's a bipartisan majority. the american people were led to believe that negotiations with iran would be about ending its nuclear program, but that's not what the deal before us would do. instead, the president's deal
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would bestow international recognition upon iran's nuclear program by the most powerful nations on earth. there's no question that iran's nuclear program is designed to develop a nuclear weapon, no question. this is not about peaceful nuclear energy. and yet, the president's deal would leave iran as a nuclear threshold state forever on the edge of developing a nuclear weapon. it would allow iran to maintain thousands of centrifuges. 1,044 ir-1 centrifuges at fordow and 5,000 centrifuges at nattans as well as advanced research and
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development programs. the president's deal with iran will also give the regime access to literally billions of dollars. the president himself has acknowledged that at least some of that cash windfall is likely to be used to support terrorism. it's already clear that iran is meddling in bahrain, in yemen, in lebanon and in afghanistan, and the president's deal will only strengthen terrorist proxies like hezbollah, the houthi insurgents in yemen and the assad regime in syria. iran is working to prop up and protect assad's regime in damascus. it's working with shia militias in iraq to expand its influence even further, just as iran once supplied iraq's shia militias with the weapons to maim and
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kill our soldiers and marines. iran has a long history of employing terrorism as a tool for defending the regime, not just against its neighbors, not just against israel but also against americans. on september 20, back in 1984, with support and direction from iran, the shia militias of hezbollah carried out a suicide car bombing against the american embassy in beirut. 31 years ago. two dozen people died that day. among them chief warrant officer kenneth welch of the u.s. army. his son brian has lived with that loss ever since. and i want all of our colleagues to know he's sitting with us in this gallery this afternoon. he's right here with us listening to this debate.
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so i ask my colleagues how can we support a deal that would not only strengthen terrorist groups like hezbollah but also would effectively subsidize the activities of the revolutionary guard corps, a group that's been accused of helping shia militias attack and kill americans in iraq? the $100 billion iran is expected to reap from this deal is also certain to be invested in iran's war economy for defense of the regime and will undoubtedly strengthen the hand of the revolutionary guards. the council on foreign relations has referred to the group as the regime's money machine because of its varied business interests with iran. as the council noted in a 2013 backgrounder, the guards were estimated to have ties to more than 100 companies, controlling about $12 billion in
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construction and engineering capital, and one of its fellows, ray decay, has linked the group to university laboratories, weapons manufacturers and companies connected to nuclear technology. now the administration has attempted to make light of the benefits to iran's economy, military, and terrorist arms from lifting of the sanctions. secretary kerry observed that $100 million is nothing -- nothing -- compared to what gets spent in the region. iran's military budget is $15 billion, he said, while the gulf state's military budget is $130 billion. but what is lost on secretary kerry is the fact that iran and its proxies have pursued asymmetric capabilities against the united states, not to mention israel, and our moderate sunni allies. iran has carefully studied the
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tactics and capabilities brought to bear by our forces in desert storm, operation enduring freedom, operation iraqi freedom and other campaigns. and because it has, the regime has decided to invest in anti-access and area denial capabilities, cyber warfare capabilities, espionage and other methods to avoid fighting directly against our strengths. the jewish institute for national security affairs in an assessment of the nuclear deal with iran, expanded on that point. here's what they had to say: "iran has acquired and developed various capabilities to execute this asymmetric strategy, including ante access, aerial denial. it presents the region's largest denial of short and medium
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missiles as well as unmanned aerial vehicles to target military and energy installations throughout the gulf, including u.s. ships. it also has a sizable fleet of fast-attack craft, submarines, and large numbers of torpedoes and naval mines for choking off hormuz and acting, and attacking aforementioned targets. the s opinion 300 -- the s-300 air defense systems could stymie u.s. air operations against the gulf in addition to complicating any strike on iran's nuclear facility. that's from the jewish institute of national security affairs. now there's another worrying aspect of the cash windfall from this deal as well. it will also serve to advance tehran's efforts to divide the united states from the very allies who helped us bring iran to the table in the very first
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place. as iranian trade expands with the other p-5 plus 1 countries, they will grow even more reluctant to hold iran accountable for the inevitable violation of the deal. so, mr. president, we need not have ended up here. we didn't have to be in this place. the president had the opportunity to declare a firm policy to end iran's nuclear program and to enact additional sanctions while iran's war economy was ailing. but, no, that's not what he did. instead, the administration attempted to rely on the ambiguity of its military policy by claiming at every stage that it sought to keep -- quote -- "all options on the table." but that was never a policy. it was a talking point, a
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talking point was not going to deter iran. as i alluded in a speech delivered at aipac a few years ago, the only way the administration is going to be able to persuade iran to cease its pursuit of a nuclear weapon and to dismantle its enrichment capability is if it prepared to make the supreme leader of iran believe -- believe -- that the survival of his regime was actually at stake. in other words, the only way the iranian regime could have been expected to negotiate to preserve its own survival rather than simply delay as a means to pursue nuclear weapons is if the administration had imposed the strictest sanctions while concurrently enforcing a firm declaratory policy that reflected a commitment to potential use of force if that became necessary.
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but, no, the administration chose to pursue negotiations and sanctions consecutively rather than simultaneously, as it also failed to articulate a clear consequence of the crossing of red lines. thus, while the president had an opportunity to exercise political leadership and work with the congress to craft a stronger policy toward iran that would have better served our national security, he chose to the path of concessions instead. and indeed, the administration allowed for a series of concessions throughout these lengthy negotiations. rather than any time, anywhere inspections, the deal creates a process within which iran can delay inspections for at least up to 24 days. rather than dismantle iran's enrichment capability, some centrifuges will be put in storage, enrichment will continue and research and
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development will go on. all legitimized by the president's deal. now, at the end of the 10- and 15-year milestones, iran's breakout time will reduce to nearly zero. concessions were made on the conventional weapons ban and ballistic missiles technology embargo too. and despite the fact that the international atomic energy agency reported in 2011 that iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device, the administration made further concessions regarding the possible military dimensions of iran's program. assessing this deal strategically, it can only be understood as part of a broader strategy to concede a larger sphere of influence to the iranian regime while weakening our commitment to our moderate sunni allies and israel.
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now, that's just fitting within the overall administration's view of reducing america's overseas commitments, its reliance on international organizations. and its seeming determination to withdraw our forward-deployed presence. but in terms of our traditional strategy it makes no sense as all. as iran's capability empower, we'll be stronger in every single regard. writing in the "wall street journal" in april, two former secretaries of state noted iran's representatives remain committed to a revolutionary anti-western concept of the international order. they observed that absent any linkage between nuclear and political restraint america's allies will conclude that the u.s. suspended temporary nuclear operation to acquiescence to
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iranian hegemony. and if necessary, they will call in other powers to sustain their integrity. does america still hope to arrest the region's trend toward sectarian upheaval, state collapse and the elick brum of power -- equilibrium of power tilting toward iran? it appears the administration traded the appearance of nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to iranian hegemony. now, the president f.a.a. mustily suggested if countries like -- the president suggested if countries like iran were willing to unclench their fist they'd find an extended hand. from that hand iranians took concession after concession after concession. on enrichment, on u.n. security council resolutions, on
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centrifuges, on missiles, on the conventional arms embor goa and on -- embargo and on sanctions, concessions on every one of those issues. under the president's deal with iran, nearly every aspect of iran's national power will be strengthened. economic power, diplomatic power, espionage power, conventional warfare power, and the power iran derives from supporting proxies like hamas, hezbollah, the houthis in yemen and the assad regime. so when supporters of the deal, mr. president, ask what is the alternative, there is a simple answer. political leadership. it is the next president and the next congress that will have to deal with the consequences of this deal. and if we're united in ending iran's nuclear program, we can make clear to the iranians that
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their weapons program is simply unacceptable. remember, it was the sanctions enacted by congress over the objections of president obama. many people have forgotten that. he didn't want the sanctions that he ended up getting. that caused sufficient concern within the regime to compel the supreme leader to allow the negotiations in the first place. that's why throughout the previous congress and the beginning of this congress i attempted to pass additional sanctions and made a commitment to a strong deep collar torrey policy -- declaratory policy against iran, what some of our colleagues may deem necessary through purr sewell -- through pursuing of legislation. but congress alone cannot provide presidential leadership. it can provide for the defense capabilities required to contain and combat threats like iran.
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it can reassure regional allies like israel that this executive deal is not a treaty and can be revisited. and when iran cheats on this deal, we can resolve to use the tools available to us to stop its nuclear weapons program. in short, congress can lay the groundwork for the next president but congress needs real presidential leadership too. just this morning we saw reports that iran's supreme leader had ruled out any real are a -- rapproachement with the u.s. we saw their desire to see israel cease to exist in the coming years. against that backdrop we have the president's deal with iran before us. any objective net assessment of this deal must conclude that it will strengthen the supreme leader's regime. no question about it.
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any objective assessment would also include that america and her allies will be made less safe by the president's deal with iran. well, certainly that's the conclusion i've reached. this is the conclusion many democrats have reached. this seems to be the conclusion many of the american people have reached as well. i wish this was a deal i could support, but it isn't. and i would urge colleagues to join me and many others in voting for the resolution of disapproval. in fact, we know that there's a bipartisan majority of the united states senate in opposition to this deal. we know that already. we know there's a huge majority of americans who oppose this deal. we know that every single democrat who's come out for the deal has immediately started making excuses about how we need to get tougher with iran.
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every single one of them. so that's what's before us, mr. president, and it will be before us until next week. and with that, i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president, i would just ask -- the president pro tempore: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: is the minority leader of the senate planning to speak or has he decided not to? very good. well, thank you. first of all, i want to thank our leader, and i want to thank senator reid for allowing us to come to this vote without a motion to proceed so we can begin this debate in a sober and responsible manner. i also want to thank the leader. i know that many members on the other side of the aisle were concerned about maybe nefarious amendments being a part of this
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debate on the front end. i want to thank you for the way you have set this procedure up so that we're focused only on the resolution of disapproval. that's something that i know the other side had wanted, and i appreciate you setting it up in that manner. i also want to thank senator cardin. i want to thank him for being such a tremendous partner on the committee itself. i want to thank him for his diligence in making i know what was a tough decision on the substance, but i really appreciate his ability and the way he worked with us to ensure that we even have this debate and we have this opportunity to vote. and let me just step pack and refresh -- back and refresh people's memory. i know there has been a lot of discussion and there are some who purposely tried to confuse what is happening here, but the fact is the president decided long ago that he was not going to pursue a treaty, that he instead was going to pursue what's called a nonbinding political commitment, nonbinding political commitment, and he was
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going to go directly to the u.n. security council for approval of that. as a matter of fact, he has already done that. in the course of discussions, we realize, just as the leader mentioned, that it was actually us that brought iran to the table. we had four tranches of severe sanctions that, as was mentioned in most cases, was objected to by the administration, but it's those sanctions and then the international community agreeing with those sanctions that brought iran to the table in the first place. and so we had discussions. we realized that we understand the president planned to do this with an executive agreement. and by the way, i think everyone understands that when the president does that, it's only binding on his administration. it's not binding on future administrations, whereas a treaty which goes through a whole different process is binding on future presidents. because we had played such a role, we ended up with the iran
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nuclear review act agreement, and this agreement has put us in the place now to debate this issue and to decide as a body whether we want to approve it or disapprove it. and so i want to thank senator cardin for his efforts in making that happen. i want to thank all the senators in this body. 98 of them. one was missing that day. that voted to put us in this place. as a matter of fact, i think all of us know that if it weren't for that, we would be having no discussion. this would have already been implemented. the president already went to the u.n. security council. and it's this pause that has allowed us to weigh in this way on behalf of the american people and to express whether we approve or disapprove of this agreement. now, let me say this. when the president began back in 2012 and he said that he was going to negotiate with the p-5 plus 1 on this iranian nuclear deal to end their nuclear program, i thought that's outstanding.
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as a matter of fact, if the president can do that and if he had have done that, i'm sure we would have had 100 votes in favor of that. as a matter of fact, in other instances, he mentioned that he wanted to dismantle their nuclear program. and again, as the leader has mentioned, had he achieved that, none of us would be debating this issue. we would be thrilled with that outcome. but it was very evident that that was not the course of action that was being pursued. when we had the first agreement, the jopa. and then we had another round which further, as you know, we had additional concessions. and finally, we got to the point where we all realized that what was happening, instead of a dismantling or instead of ending iran's nuclear program, what this agreement does if we were to approve it, it agrees to the industrialization of their nuclear program. we have a state sponsor of terror, and this agreement is agreeing, approving the
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industrialization of their program. i think everyone knows one of the great fallacies in this deal is not only with our approval are they industrializing their program, but in nine months, all of the -- all of the leverage shifts. in nine months, this state sponsor of terror that has a gross domestic product, their country has a $409 billion economy, $409 billion. and in the next nine months, this country is going to get about $100 billion. that's not been disputed. and so think about it. 25% of their economy is going to be given to them in one year. think about an $18 trillion country like our if we were to get $4 trillion or $5 trillion, what we would be able to do with those resources. and over that nine-month period, regardless of what they do with p.m.d., regardless of what they do with other issues, the rest of the big economic sanctions are going to be relieved. and so their economy is going to be growing, they're going to be
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cash rich, they're going to be a much, much stronger country. i think it's probably important to talk about who we're dealing with here. i know there has been -- i know senator cotton has alluded to this before, as have many others, but most of us when we went to baghdad through the years sat down with general odierno, and on his coffee table he would have in front of him all of the devices that iran was using to kill and maim our soldiers. i think you remember there was actually a rush at one time to rush out humvees to try to protect our soldiers from having their limbs and body parts dismembered. and once we did that, what the iranians did, they developed another -- another device, and it was made of copper, and when it exploded, it would go through any type of metal, and what it was used for, it was used to kill americans. it was used to dismember them. as a matter of fact, when you see people in tennessee or in
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wyoming or in kansas or in other places walking up and down the street with prosthetics, that was iraq. that was iran that was responsible for the dismembering of so many americans. they're the same people, by the way, that are supporting assad right now. an amazing thing, where the irgc, which is the arm that directly reports to the supreme leader, they are actually the shock force in syria right now that is keeping assad afloat. the ranking member and myself went over recently to see a display by the holocaust museum and a gentleman named caesar, a gentleman named caesar had documented what assad with iran's support is doing to everyday syrians in the country. what they are doing is torturing people as we sit here. as a matter of fact, i wish you could see the pictures. they're actually amputating people's genitals.
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as we're sitting here in this comfortable setting, iran is supporting assad's ability to do that to his own people. and we see on the tv screens what's happening. and people are flooding out, flooding out from syria, flooding out from iraq to get away from what's happening right now in the middle east. we know that hezbollah, another arm of iran through one of their proxies right now is destabilizing lebanon. we know that hamas is being supplied rockets, sophisticated rockets, i might add, from iran to be able to shoot into israel. and we know going to bahrain where we have thousands of troops there to keep the strait of who are mute open, we know that in bahrain, they are supplying terrorist organizations there to disrupt that government and cause harm to the people who are serving us. so this is who we're dealing with. the greatest state sponsor of terror that we know -- we only named three, by the way.
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we named syria. we name sudan, and we name iran. so obviously, when we work through the first agreements and in the interim agreements where we agreed to enrich, that was quite a shock to most of us. and then they went through the first big round to reach this comprehensive agreement, and in that agreement addressed a number of the issues that the leader just laid out. but prior to going to geneva, there were still in this final round some issues that needed to be addressed. i had one of those few calls with secretary kerry where i felt like he was listening. talked to him at length. i told him secretary kerry, a lot of people are going to have difficulty ever approving a deal that allows iran to industrialize their program like this, but how you finish these last pieces, how you finish that is going to say a lot
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qualitatively about how we really plan to implement this deal. and at that time, of course, we still had the issues of previous military dimensions. some people call it possible military dimensions, but we know they were developing a nuclear weapon. and as you know, i mean, you have certainly heard orally the presentation regarding how we're dealing with parchin. it's really pretty amazing after the a.p. report came out how this has actually survived late-night comedy. we know that if the iaea gives a report on iran's previous military dimensions, i think you know iran is supposed to be supplying the iaea information and access to scientists regarding what they were doing, but regardless of what the quality of this is, if it's a d-minus report or an a-plus report, the fact is they still get the sanctions relief that
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they're seeking over the next nine months. in addition to that, the inspections process. we've all had concerns about the fact that you have to wait 24 days. by the way, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the 24 days. that is after the iaea raises a concern. that is after iran responds to that. some people have written it could take as much as 40 to 45 days for this to occur. but then there is a 24-day period. our leader referred to the ir-1's. iran has done a masterful job because they have gotten the p-5 plus 1 to focus on their ir-1 centrifuges. 19,000 of them they have. they're antiques. truly, they're antiques. and what they have going on right now is a development of ir-2's, ir-4's, ir-6's, ir-8's. i would ask -- i would ask you
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to go down and let some of our intelligence people tell you the speed, the difference between the i rch-8 and the ir-1. and let me just say to you without giving away any classified information, in a room, in a room the size of where i'm standing to this back wall, iran and something -- and actually much closer this way, iran could actually do the equivalent in a small room like that of 720 ir-1's. and so for our ability again for the 24-day inspection process to detect in very small areas of iran, a very large country, this type of thing is going to be very difficult. so i talked to secretary kerry about those two things, and i'm sorry. i feel like we totally punted on those issues. and then for good measure, as has been mentioned many times, we threw in the lifting of the
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conventional arms embargo. i mean, where did that come from? what did that have to do with the nuclear power? we threw in the lifting of ballistic testing in eight years. again, what was that about? and then with some really special and peculiar language, meant, i think, to confuse, we have lifted immediately their ability to test ballistic weapons. so let me just say again, all of this, all of this we know is being done with a country that has no practical need for enrichment. they have one nuclear reactor, one. they could buy enriched uranium so much cheaper on the market. they have absolutely no need for 19,000 centrifuges. they have no need for an underground facility to protect from bombing. they have no need for the facility at arac that produces
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plutonium. many people have said if iran wants to have the ability to deal with medical isotopes, they want to show to the rest of the middle east that they are sophisticated. do you know how many centrifuges they would need to do that? 500. so what has all this been about? i mean, they have put their people through -- through such grief, such economic depravity. they have been isolated from the world. they are a rogue community, and they have done all that to create a program that has, as we know, only one need, and that is so that they can develop a nuclear weapon. so look, i -- i'm very disappointed with where we come up, and i'm disappointed to add this as another problem. we're doing all this without a strategy in the middle east. i wrote an op-ed in "the washington post," not that anybody reads them, to talk about my disapproval of this deal, and when you think about it, one of the great tragedies -- and again, we're
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seeing it play out on television. john mccain has been so good at talking about this issue. but what we're seeing play out right now is no strategy in the middle east. it's the greatest humanitarian disaster of my lifetime. so what's going to happen without any strategy to push back against iran, to push back against what they're doing in syria, what they have been doing in lebanon, what they're doing in yemen, what they're doing in bahrain, what they're doing certainly against israel in hamas, without a strategy this is going to be the de facto strategy. let me remind you again in nienl months all the leverage goes away. right now we have leverage over them. in nienl -- nine months they have all their money. the sanctions are relieved. many of you read statements by the supreme leader and others that said if we try to put sanctions on them for their
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terrorist activities, for violations of human rights or other activities, you know what they're going to say? they're going to say i'm sorry. you're violating the agreement. remember, this president has tried to obligate not just us from putting additional sanctions in place, but he's tried to keep state and local governments from putting sanctions in place. so he's actually acting as a buffer against those people in good conscience that would want to push back against the terrible human rights activities that are taking place and certainly the terrorism that is being exported. again, this is going to be our strategy. think about it. in a year before the next president takes office, we want to push back because iran is supplying additional arms to assad, as it appears russia is doing right now. we want to put sanctions in place to push back against that. what is iran going to say? well, we're just going to begin
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development of our nuclear program. or what if we say we know you're in violation of this program, and, therefore, we're going -- the nuclear program. therefore, we're going to put sanctions in place. what are they going to say? we're just going to resume the nuclear program. in nine months literally the leverage shifts from us to them. we're going to be very reticent to challenge them on any violations of this agreement. candidly, we're going to be reticent to push back against the things that they are doing to destabilize the region. let me just close with this. i appreciate the leader setting up this debate in this way. i appreciate senator reid allowing us to do this. i appreciate that 98 senators have said, look, this is probably the biggest foreign policy issue that we're going to deal with during our time here in the united states senate. and i hope that what is going to
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happen is we will continue over the course of the next several days to express our approval by some, our disapproval by more, a bipartisan majority. our disapproval and the reasons that some approve this. at the end of the day what i hope is going to happen is that since all 98 senators in this body said that they wanted to debate this and they wanted the opportunity to vote up or down on the substance of this deal, i hope we'll have enough colleagues in this chamber that will agree that because it's the biggest foreign policy issue of our day, because 98 senators stood up and said no, mr. president, you cannot implement this deal until we express whether we approve or disapprove this deal, i hope that we'll have far more than 60 senators that will agree to allow us to get to final vote so
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everybody in this senate can be accountable. this is an important issue. i thank you for the time to be able to discuss it in this way. and with that, i'll yield the floor to i thought senator cardin, but it looks as if maybe senator durbin. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the president pro tempore: the majority leader. mr. cornyn: i ask unanimous consent that the senator from arizona be recognized and that i be recognized following his remarks. mr. durbin:, mr. president, reserving the right to object. the president pro tempore: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: would the senator from utah, the presiding officer, advise the senate if we are operating under a unanimous consent as to time allocations. the president pro tempore: at this time the time is equally divided. mr. durbin: between which hours?
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the president pro tempore: from 10:00 until 5:00. mr. durbin: would the presiding officer be kind enough to tell me how much time has been used by the republican side since 2:15. the president pro tempore: roughly 45 minutes. mr. durbin: i do not object. the president pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. corker: if i could, so i'm really glad the distinguished leader of the armed services committee is going to speak next. he's got probably more knowledge of the middle east than almost anybody in this body. but it was my understanding we were going to rotate back and forth. and we actually have people who have -- senator reid had asked to speak. he decided not to do so. senator cardin was going to speak. and we were going to rotate back between republicans and democrats.
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senators had signed up for time, and thafers -- that was the way it is to be. it wasn't going to be just republicans on the floor and then democrats. but it may be that are the whip would like to alter that status. mr. durbin: we have senators on the democratic side prepared to speak when you're ready to yield. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i say to the senator from illinois, i'd be more than happy to yield to any speaker on the other side. i was under the impression that we were going to be going back and forth. i think that would contribute to the debate. so if the senator from illinois or the senator from hawaii or if anybody wants to speak, i'd be glad to yield. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: i'd ask unanimous consent that the time be equally divided between the sides of the aisle and that following the recognition of a speaker on our side, an opportunity be given to the speaker on the democratic side to speak, and we alternate
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back and forth using the time that is allotted for the debate. mr. durbin: reserving the right to be object. the republican side has already used 45 minutes. i hope that you're saying that between 2:15 and 5:00 the time will be equally divided, and we will rotate from one side to the other. the president pro tempore: i'd ask -- mr. cornyn: i ask to amend the request. mr. mccain: mr. president, am i recognized? the president pro tempore: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: again i would say to the senator from illinois that the usual way that i've seen around here for many years is one side and then the other side. if the senator from illinois wants to stack up all of his time on that side so there's no back and forth, i don't think that's the intent of what we're trying to achieve here. mr. durbin: i'd say to my friend from arizona i told you we have democratic senators
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prepared to speak. when you're ready to give up the floor, we'll be glad to recognize our democratic senators. mr. mccain: we've been in since 2:15. their schedules are very crowded, but i would hope that maybe one of them could wander over and speak. mr. durbin: my friend from arizona, we have a democratic senator prepared to speak at this moment. are you prepared to yield? mr. mccain: prepared to speak at this moment? i yield to whatever senator decides to speak. mr. schatz: mr. president? the president pro tempore: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: thank you. a president of the united states once said of his nation's enemy that we cannot wish away the differences of our two societies and our philosophies but we should always remember that we do have common interests and the foremost among them is to avoid war. in pursuing that cause, he said we will be prepared to protect our interests and those of our friends and allies. but we want more than deterrence. we seek genuine cooperation. we seek progress for peace.
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it was president reagan who seized the opportunity during the cold war and president george h.w. bush who carried it forward. together they achieved commitments from the united states and the soviet union, enemies through and through, to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, bringing us closer to a world free of the threat of nuclear annihilation. it ingrained in us a tradition of pragmatism. the idea that even with countries we deep lip distrust -- we deeply distrust and whose behavior we abhor, we cannot ignore the opportunity to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. the joint comprehensive plan of action that the united states negotiated with iran and the other members of the p-5 plus 1 preserves that tradition to seek progress for peace. this deal is not perfect, as the chairman of the foreign relations committee so abley explained. we had to make concessions. that's because it was negotiated
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between sovereign countries pursuing diplomacy and not unconditional surrender. i hear complaints about one provision or another, and some of those criticisms are valid. but we don't have the luxury of sending our negotiators back to vienna. if we do that things will fall apart. every ambassador from the p-5 plus 1 made clear that the sanctions that brought iran to the table would be up ended. we would be isolated diplomatically and iran would get most of its money too. of course we could levy harsh unilateral sanctions ourselves, and that would be emotionally satisfying to many. but they won't bite. they did not when iran went from only 300 centrifuges to more than 18,000. and they won't now. the question in this debate is whether to approve the deal or to dump it. there is no door number three.
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we don't need to feel resigned because as a deal it's quite a good one. experts in the nonproliferation race affirm it is a strong deal. it blocks each one of iran's pathways to the bomb and places its nuclear program under strict international supervision. there is no alternative to this agreement, certainly no military option that eliminates 98% of iran's fissile material or two-thirds of its p operating centrifuges. i want to grant that critics make a persuasive argument that have more to do with how we view iran than how we view this deal. first they say that it places too much trust in iran. but the opposite is true. this agreement is not based on trust or shared values, and we have no reason to assume that iran will comply with its terms in good faith. that's why the agreement adopts a robust inspections and
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verification regime that will be in place for up to 25 years. we will be monitoring iran's entire nuclear supply chain from uranium mining, milling and enrichment to the manufacturing and replacement of centrifuges. so we will know if iran is diverting uranium or centrifuges to secret facilities. if iran does try to break out to acquire the bomb, all options remain on the table to stop it, including the use of military force. and because the agreement provides us more information about iran's nuclear program, our military options will be more effective and have the backing of the international community because we will have exhausted diplomacy first. the other concern, and i think this is a valid one, is that this deal should not be overstated in terms of its impact on our priorities and alliances in the region. it's important on the nuclear issue, but in october we will have many of the same challenges in the middle east that we have
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in september. iran is still the world's leading state sponsor of terror, and nothing in this deal will deter us from, woulding to contain iran's regional aspirations including its superpowers of hamas and -- its support of hamas and hezbollah. i want to personally offer some words to those americans who love israel with a personal passion and commitment that i share. your skepticism is well earned and based in faith and history, based in familial relationships and culture. it is core to who we are. you want to know rightly what happens next. what is the united states prepared to do to protect loved ones in a dangerous neighborhood? whether one supports this deal or not, we can all agree that america's commitment to israel remains unshakeable and we will continue, democrats and republicans united, to stand with israel. even as we work to restrict
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iran's nuclear ambitions, we will continue to thwart hamas and hezbollah. we are committed to cooperation with israel on intelligence and security at the highest levels ever and continuing to ensure that israel's qualitative military edge is protected. when this debate is over, we must find new ways to enhance our joint efforts to counter threats that endanger israel every day. mr. president, we are debating what may be the most important foreign policy choice of the decade. ouring decision will have consequences for the security and the stability of the new middle east. if congress chooses to oppose this agreement, we will witness an unraveling of the international sanctions that brought iran to the negotiating table, with iran moving ever faster towards the bomb and our country left with few choices besides another war in the middle east. we have shown as a country that we have the will to protect ourselves, our allies and our
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interests, using military force when truly necessary. we will continue to stand with israel despite whatever temporary disagreements our governments may have. we don't underestimate or understate the challenges that we have in the role of our military, in shaping events for the better. but in this instance, with eyes wide open, we ought to pursue peace first. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the president pro tempore: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i want to thank the majority leader and the senator from kentucky for conducting this debate on this agreement with the seriousness and gravity that it deserves. in doing so, he has acted in the best traditions of the senate, and i thank him for it. i'd like to thank my colleague, the senator from tennessee, and the chairman of the foreign relations committee, who i believe just gave a very eloquent presentation of the situation as we are debating today. today begins the culmination of a monumental debate that our
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nation has conducted for the past three months. this debate is not about whether we support diplomatic solutions to international challenges or whether we're willing to negotiate with the iranian regime or whether we should go to war with iran. that's not what this debate is about. despite the president's sad partisan attempts to make it so. it's always preferable to solve international problems without resorting to military far as, but the ultimate test of any diplomacy is not merely whether it avoids the use of force but whether it secures our national security interests. put simply, i believe the joint comprehensive plan of action fails this test and it fails by the very criteria that the administration itself once laid out as a good deal. three years ago, obama -- president obama said the goal of negotiations with iran was to --
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quote -- get iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by u.n. resolutions that have been in place. that's what the president said. the deal we will accept is that they end their nuclear program. it's very straightforward. the reality of the deal doesn't require iran to end its program. it simply suspends it for a couple of -- for a period of years. as the president said in april, iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demanded to do so. contemplate that. iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demand it to do so. unfortunately, the administration's concessions didn't stop there. on november 24, 2016, secretary kerry said there is no right to enrich. we do not -- we do not recognize right to enrich. however, in the final deal, the administration not only conceded the right to enrich, it also
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allowed iran to maintain an industrial scale enrichment capability that would only grow in size and sophistication. on the issue of fordow, the once-covert nuclear facility that was built deep into a mountain, president obama said in december, 2013, that iran had no need, no need for such a facility if all it sought was peaceful nuclear energy. and yet the final deal allows iran to maintain nearly a thousand centrifuges at fordow and conduct nuclear-related testing there during the entire life of the agreement on the issue of iran's breakout capacity. president obama said in december, 2013, that in the deal he envisions the iranians -- quote -- as a practical matter do not have a breakout capacity. here, too, the administration reversed itself, conceding to a breakout capacity in establishing the arbitrary
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standard of one year. similarly on the so-called possible military dimensions or p.m.d. of iran's past nuclear activities, secretary kerry said this april they have to do it, it will be done, it will be part of a final agreement. it has to be. two months later, two months later secretary kerry reversed himself, saying -- quote -- "we're not fixated on iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. we know what they did. we have no doubt. we have absolute knowledge. you know, my friends, this kind of hubris is astonishing. i know of no intelligence professional who would share that level of certainty, but perhaps secretary kerry's reversal is because the final deal does not require iran to resolve the p.m.d. issue prior to receiving sanctions release. furthermore, the chief of iran's
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atomic energy agency has said sanctions relief will proceed regardless of the resolution of the p.m.d. issue. that was the chief of iran's atomic energy agency. the mechanism to resolve long-standing international concerns about the possible military dimensions of iran's nuclear program is contained in a side agreement between iran and the iaea, which neither the administration nor the congress have seen. get this -- there's an agreement on inspection and verification that this congress, before we vote, will never have seen, the american people will never have seen. how in the world, on the most important aspect of any agreement, a verification, the provisions for which are not known to the members of this body. that alone, that alone is a
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reason to demand, to demand what are those side agreements? maybe they're nothing. maybe they're something we would approve of. we don't even know what in the world we are. the administration provided a classified briefing on what they know to be in this side agreement, and suffice it to say i think most of us even on both sides of the aisle would agree that that briefing, one of the more bizarre and disturbing aspects of this deal. they called it unconventional. that's generous. what's more, the inspections of iran's facilities will be conducted by the iaea, the international atomic energy agency. there will be no americans allowed on the ground, and the details of how these monitoring activities will occur are contained in another side agreement between the iaea and iran. here's the problem. verifying that iran is not cheating on this deal requires a
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full accounting of the possible military conventions of iran's nuclear program. to verify that iran has ceased its nuclear weapon-related activities necessarily requires that we know the full extent of these past activities, the personnel, facilities, equipment and materiels used and over what time period. we do not have that information. president obama has said that this deal is based on verification, not trust, but the means of verification are in many cases suspect. this presents a major problem. we will vote in the coming days on the iran deal, but we cannot even read certain foundational documents pertaining to how that verification will occur, and our own government is not even a party to those agreements. i find that deeply troubling. it may account as more americans know more about it, the
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overwhelming majority of americans who do not approve of this deal. even more troubling, however, is that the administration also conceded its long-standing and repeated promises that its diplomacy was limited exclusively to the nuclear five. for nearly a decade, an international arms embargo has significantly hurt iran's ability to build up and modernize its aging military. not long before the deal was announced, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff before our committee, general dempsey, told the committee on armed services, under -- quote -- "under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on iran relative to missile capabilities and arms trafficking." is there anything in this agreement that does that? in fact, the opposite. in five years, the international arms embargo against iran would be lifted, freeing up the regime to require advanced conventional
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military capabilities such as fighter aircraft, air defense systems and antiship missiles. with billions of dollars in sanctions relief, iran is sure to find plenty of states that are eager to sell those weapons, especially russia and china. in eight years, the agreement would legitimatize and accelerate iran's development of ballistic missiles, including icbm's, whose only conceivable military purpose would be to deliver nuclear weapons. this concession was made even as the director of national intelligence concluded earlier this year, and i quote -- "iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering w.m.d. -- that is weapons of mass destruction -- and tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the middle east. in this way, the administration's iran deal not only paves the islamic republic's path to a nuclear capability, it also furthers that regime's emergence as a
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dominant military power in the middle east. this has direct and dangerous implications for the united states, especially our armed forces. after all, the ultimate guarantee that iran will not get a nuclear weapon, it's not 109-page document. it's the capability of the u.s. military to do what is necessary to prevent it if all else fails. the administration says that the military option will remain on the table if iran violates the agreement, and that is true, yet the agreement itself would enable iran to construct the very kind of advanced military arsenal that could raise the cost of employing our military options should it become necessary. in short, if this agreement fails and u.s. service members are called upon to take military action in iran, their lives clearly would be at greater risk because of the terms of this
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deal. as we debate the technical details of this agreement, this is the bigger picture that we must stay focused on. the strategic implications of this agreement from nuclear proliferation, regional security and the balance of power in an increasingly chaotic middle east. this has been the focus of our oversight in the committee on armed services, and from this perspective, this bad iran deal only looks that much worse. iran's not just an arms control challenge. it's a geopolitical challenge. for years, many of us have urged the administration to adopt a regional strategy to counter iran's maligned activities in the middle east. the senator -- the chairman of the foreign relations committee pointed out what has been done by these i.e.d.'s that sewell
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main i sent to -- that suleimani sent to iraq to attack our military. there is no evidence of it. instead, we have watched with alarm as iran's military and intelligence operatives have stepped up their destabilizing activities in iraq, syria, lebanon, yemen, gaza and elsewhere. iran did all of this under the full pressure of sanctions. now iran will receive tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief. to be sure, a good amount of that money will go to iran's priorities, but much of it will also surely flow to iran's revolutionary guards corps and quds force, groups that as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff also mentioned were responsible for the deaths of several hundred u.s. service members. this will have enormous consequences for stability in the middle east and for america's credibility. for decades, republican and democratic administrations have sought to contain the maligned
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influence of the iranian republic of iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapons capabilities. our allies and partners have entrusted much of their own security to the united states because they believe that our commitments were credible. in this way, america's role in the region has been to suppress security competition between states with long histories of mistrust and to prevent that competition from breaking down into conflict. i fear this agreement further undermine our ability and willingness to play that vital stabilizing role. our allies and partners in the middle east have increasingly come to believe that america is withdrawing from the region, and doing so at a time when iran is aggressively seeking to advance its geopolitical ambitions. now we have made a deal with iran that will not only legitimatize the islamic republic as a threshold nuclear state with an industrial
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enrichment capability but will also unshackle this regime in its long-held pursuit of conventional military power and may actually consolidate the islamic republic's control in iran for years to come. the dangerous result is that our allies and partners will be increasingly likely to take matters into their own hands, and indeed, we already see evidence of that. these fateful decisions may well manifest themselves in a growing regional security competition. new arms races, nuclear proliferation and possible conflict, all of which would demand more, not less, u.s. leadership and presence in the region. ultimately, this is what i find most troubling about the iran deal. it embodies and will likely exacerbate the collapse of america's global influence that is occurring under this
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administration, and indeed has so often been catalyzeed by its policies. just consider, just consider, my colleagues, how much more dangerous our world has become. a maligned form of russian influence is expanding in europe and eurasia. vladimir putin is using 21st century weapons to further his 19th century ambitions of russian empire, most dramatically in ukraine where putin seeks to annex the territory of a sovereign country. our president goes to estonia and days later russia be a ducts an estonian agent on estonian territory. what message does that send? china's leaders also appear to be emboldened. our president visits asia and the next week china escalates tensions with a u.s. partner in the south china sea. our president visits alaska and five -- for the first time, five
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chinese war ships show up in the aleutians, violating the 12-mile limit. meanwhile, china continues its military modernization while building and militarizing land features in international waters. again, there's no determination. cyber attacks against our nation are increasing in regularity and the severe. in just the past year, we've been attacked by north korea, iran, china and russia and the administration does, what? nothing. and there is no deterrence so the attacks continue. we've watched the hard-won gains of our men and women in uniform melt away in iraq. following the president's decision to withdraw all of our troops in 2011, over the objections of his military leaders and commanders on the ground. and, of course, there's the conflict in syria which claimed 220,000 lives and counting, spawned the largest and most threatening terrorist army in the world, involved the repeated use of weapons of mass
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destruction, destabilized the entire middle east and led to the largest refugee crisis in europe since world war ii. there is no one who is not deeply moved by the picture of the three-year-old baby on the beach. my friends, that is a direct result of obama's foreign policy and have no doubt about it. amid all of these growing threats, for four years now, the budget control act and sequestration have cut our military by hundreds of billions of dollars for no strategic rationale whatsoever. congress has unfortunately been complicit in this disaster, but if the president showed as much personal engagement and willingness to compromise with republicans as he did with iranians, we could repeal the budget control act, end sequestration and fund the government tomorrow. and through it all -- through it all, my colleagues -- what have we heard from our president?
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we've been told that america's influence is limited, as if that is not always the case. we've been told that there are no good options to the challenges we face, as if there ever are in the real world. we've been told that we cannot solve every problem in the world as if that an solvers us from every -- absolves us from ever attempting to solve any problem. we've been told that the administration's worst failures are always someone else's fault and that no policy of theirs, after six years in power, is ever to blame. and we've been told that the only alternative to our current mess of a foreign policy is war. and that anyone who disagrees with this president, republican and democrat, they make no distinction, is a warmonger. is a warmonger. again and again, where there should be leadership and statesmanship, there is only a
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parade of truisms and defeatist rhetoric and strawman arguments and partisan attacks. this has tainted and cheapened our national discourse as evidenced by the fact that, unlike past landmark diplomatic agreements, this one will likely come into force on a party-line minority vote. let me emphasize that. this iranian deal will likely be rejected by a bipartisan majority of both houses of congress. if there is a precedent in american history for such a thing, i cannot think of it. indeed, a recent poll -- pew poll found that only 21% of americans approve of the iranian deal. this has also diminished our standing in the world. our words ring hollow, our reassurances fail to reassure, our warnings are not heeded, our red lines are crossed, our moral influence is being discredited
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and tarnished. americans sense this and so do our adversaries. they perceive it as weakness and it is provocative. we need leadership, a strategy and policies to address this crisis in our foreign policy, especially the broader threat posed by iran. this larger response should include, among other steps, increasing sanctions against iran for its malign activities in the middle east and its human rights abuses, new security assistance for our allies and partners in the region, and once and for all, eliminating the specter of sequestration. this congress should take up this effort with new legislation. i look forward to working on it with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. that time will come. however, the question now before this body is whether to disapprove the administration's deal with iran. i will vote "yes." i disapprove of this deal because it would not cut off
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iran's path to a nuclear weapon. it would pave a new one. i disapprove of this deal because it would legitimize the islamic republic as a threshold nuclear state with an industrial enrichment capability that will grow unfettered after the key terms of the deal end. i disapprove of this deal because it unshackles tehran's pursuit of conventional military power. i disapprove of this deal because it rests on the assumptions -- the hope, really -- that in a decade or so, we may be dealing with a better iranian regime. and yet the deal itself will likely strengthen the current iranian regime. this deal is not in our national security interest and congress and the american people should reject it. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president, if i could just to speak to -- the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: okay. as has been said, the time is
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equally divided and obviously republicans have spent a great deal of time on the floor. the order, just for people on our side that are coming and going on our side, we know the next speaker is senator feinstein. but it was a preagreed order of hatch, cornyn, barrasso and gardner. it's my understanding that we may only have about 15 to 20 minutes of time left on our side until 5:00. and i just say that for the convenience of members. i don't know if the president -- mr. president, if you could tell us how much exact time we have on this side. the presiding officer: the republicans have approximately 10 1/2 minutes remaining. mr. corker: i say that for the convenience of people on our side who may come and go. that's the order and i know that obviously -- how much time does the democrat side have?
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the presiding officer: the democrats have approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes. mr. corker: okay. so just based on the process that was put forth by the minority whip, obviously we'll have maybe one more speaker over here. i assume that you'll have democrats to fill the time on your side until 5:00. i just wanted to make that known to people. thank you. mrs. feinstein: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: mr. president, i rise today in strong support of the nuclear agreement with iran. i do so because i believe this diplomatic achievement provides
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the only option that prevents iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. i'd like to take just a moment to say thank you to our negotiating team and commend them on a job that i believe is -- was well done and to thank them for their concerted effort to explain the agreement to the congress over the past two months. i've been in this body for a long time. there have been many different agreements. i can never remember a time where this senate has been briefed more assiduously than it has with this agreement. and as you know, mr. president, we sat this morning for two hours and listened to the top heads of our intelligence agencies discuss with us the particulars of this agreement. american negotiators have worked with negotiators from the world's major powers -- the united kingdom, france, germany, china, russia and the e.u. -- and reached an agreement that will prevent iran from
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developing a nuclear weapon for at least the next 15 years. and i believe longer. i can't emphasize this enough. the agreement represents the world coming together to put an end to iran's nuclear program. by contrast, if the senate disapproves this agreement, we are on our own. as of last night, 42 senators have announced their support for the agreement. in practical terms, that means that the congress will resident -- the senate will not disapprove this agreement. we have conducted a full review and the opponents of this deal have failed. but the opponents are still holding out the false hope that there can be a better deal. let me be clear. there is no better deal. no one, no state, no leader has proposed one. the only alternative to the
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agreement we now have is no agreement at all. should the congress reject this accord, the united states, which led this effort, would be deserting our allies and negotiating partners. that's because this is not just an agreement between the united states and iran. it's an agreement between the world's major powers, the largest, most powerful nations in the world, and iran, and it is the one approved by the 15 members of the united nations security council. brent scowcroft, someone i know well, see annually, and the former national security advisor to president george h.w. bush, recently wrote -- and i quote -- "there is no credible alternative were congress to prevent u.s. participation in this nuclear deal. if we walk away, we walk away alone."
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i think it may be helpful to remind my colleagues and the american people how we got where we are today. first of all, preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon has been a long-standing and bipartisan national security objective. in 2003, europe led the first effort to halt iran's nuclear program. the next decade saw five separate major rounds of failed negotiations and an ever-advancing iranian nuclear program. iran went from having a few centrifuges spinning to being a threshold nuclear power. following the revelation that iran was installing centrifuges at natanz last decade and disclosure in 2012 by our government and allies that iran was turning a mountain near gohm into a deeply buried centrifuge
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chamber, iran has seen sanctions escalate and felt international isolation. but its nuclear enrichment continued and advanced. the united states, with strong support from this chamber, led an effort to install devastating multilateral sanctions are with the goal of bringing iran to the negotiating table. those sanctions were effective because they were supported by the world's powers and importers of iranian oil. in fact, the united states doesn't do much business with iran. we don't import iranian oil. and united states banks don't process iranian financial transactions. unilateral united states sanctions are of little value by themselves unless we're willing to sanction allies' banks. indeed, multiple u.n.
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resolutions, e.u. sanctions and the cooperation of our partners and allies successfully pressured iran over its nuclear activities. over time, the international sanctions that we helped build and continually enforce reduced iranian oil exports from 2 1/2 million barrels per day to less than 1 million. reduced the number of countries that import iranian oil from 23 to 6. prohibited iran from repatriating more than a hundred billion in foreign currency. reduced iran's g.d.p. by nearly 6% in one year, caused major inflation and basically ended international investment in iran's economy. and the sanctions worked. iran elected a reform government with a new president to
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negotiate an end to the sanctions and revive its economy. and despite its doubts, iran sent a negotiating teaming to meet with the governments of the p-5 plus 1 nations. in november , we signed the interim agreement that froze and even reversed iran's nuclear program. according to the iaea and various intelligence, iran has abided by the agreement for more than one and a half years now. as we all know, in july, 2015, the partner 5 plus 1 signed an agreement officially known as the comprehensive joint agreement on action. it is the result of years of careful diplomacy. it was only possible because other nations abided by their
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sanctions at their own economic sacrifice. they believe that these sanctions worked, have achieved their result, and now should be suspended as iran dismantles much of its nuclear infrastructure. these countries which were so critical to our ability to impose sanctions have told us directly they won't go back to the table to negotiate a new deal. to my colleagues who plan to vote in opposition to this agreement, i hope they've thought long and hard about what message this would send to the world. the consequences of rejecting this carefully negotiated deal would reach far beyond iran. i would signal that the united states isn't willing or able to lead the world in confronting global challenges.
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since the agreement was reached, i've spoken with many diplomats or statesmen. they are scratching their heads, wondering why the united states congress is lining up with iranian hard-liners in opposition to this agreement. instead of siding with the u.k., france, germany, russia, china, along with other members of the u.n. security council. last week, saudi arabia announced its support for the agreement. foreign ministerial jabir concluded his country's support by saying this -- "this agreement will lead to the stability in the region by preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear capability" -- end quote. during the august recess, a former head of state from one of our closest allies sat me down and said to me, ,"you know, we
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are one of the nations you trust the most. we follow your leadership. we've agreed to the deal and now your congress wants to back out. why should we ever follow you again? many diplomats i've spoken with have echoed the prim minister's -- former principal prime minister's comment. if we reject the agreement it will be unlikely the world will follow us in negotiations in the future and i believe the executive foreign policy obligations and responsibilities of the president of our country are diminished. our ability to lead against global threats, to be the indispensable nations ends. many senators i understand don't support our president but by supporting this agreement we
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also undermine the ability of any future president to speak for the united states and carry out his or her constitutional role in conducting foreign policy. i've been involved in national security issues for many years, and i can't recall a time in recent memory when the world was united to this degree on such a complex issue. even russia and china are with us. we shouldn't squander the the opportunity. many of my colleagues have already described the terms of the agreement and how it prevents intrusive for the agreement. for me, the secretary of energy, moniz, are particularly persuasive. as we all know he is a distinguished physicist from m.i.t. and played a crucial role in the negotiations. he is a true expert of
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unimpeachable integrity and knows the world. he has said over and over again and i've heard it personally at least five times that every pathway to a bomb, plutonium, uranium, and coal vert, is blocked by this deal. it blocks iran's pathway to a bomb at natanz by reducing centrifuges by two-thirds from 5,000 to 600 over ten years. it reduces the stockpile of enriched uranium by more than 300 kilograms of 3.6% for 15 years, not enough nuclear material for a single weapon. it requires intrusive iaea negotiations, inspections,
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careful labeling and storage for 20 years. and it requires iaea inspections for 25 years of iran's entire nuclear supply chain. the agreement blocks iran's plutonium pathway to a bomb at iraq by modifying iran's only heavy water reactor so that it cannot produce weapons grade plutonium and regulates all spent fuel to be processed for plutonium to be shipped out of the country. the agreement blocks iran's culvert pathway by requiring 47 iaea access -- 24/7 iaea access to sites for 25 years. empowering the iaea to use its most advanced monitoring techniques and equipment to
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ensure iran cannot tamper with its devices or evade nuclear monitoring. it guarantees the iaea access to any suspected -- suspected nuclear site within 24 days, including military facilities and providing access to all of iran's nuclear sites under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty permanently. most notably, it imposes a perpetual prohibition against iran ever seeking, developing, or acquiring a nuclear weapon. the terms of this agreement are unparalleled. the iaea has never had this kind of access to any country. as device chairman of the committee, i have looked at this issue carefully. as you know, mr. president, as late as this morning. i can say that if iran doesn't
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comply with its obligations, we will know about it and we will be rabel to snap back the sanctions that -- be able to snap back the sanctions. the administration has provided with documents to verify the measures in this agreement. at an unclassified level, the executive branch has written -- and i quote -- "the united states is confident that it will be able to verify that iran is complying with its commitments under the jcpoa including its commitment not to pursue a nuclear weapon." the senate has also received a classified annex to the assessment from the intelligence community which i think my -- some of my colleagues have reviewed and i hope everyone would. the senate intelligence committee has met with the heads of the u.s. intelligence
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agencies as i just said as recently as this morning to receive testimony and ask questions on our ability to ensure that iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement. from the reports and those hearings, i am very comfortable saying that the culvert path to a bomb is closed, period. i recognize that this agreement doesn't address other problems, the united states, and international community have with iran. iran continues to support terrorist groups, prop up assad and initiate instability. and it is improperly detaining american citizens. these are of course reprehensible things and we continue to oppose them but the nuclear armed iran would dramatically compound these
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problems. in my view, this agreement presents us with an opportunity to begin a broader discussion with iran. as iran hopefully will become more integrated to the global community, gives up some of its bad ways, we contest that iran will move toward joining the community of nations, rejecting this agreement will only strengthen the hard-liners who lead the chants of death to america. 88% of iranians are under the age of 54. 41% -- 41% -- are under the age of 25. they defied predictions and elected a moderate replacement for action minimum ajawed. clearly this agreement won't change iran's behavior overnight and it would be unrealistic to
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expect iran's cooperation on every issue. but it would also be foolish to throw the opportunity away and to give the hard-liners another reason to turn their backs on reform. more importantly, i am not willing to cede america's leadership, to reject this nuclear agreement, or ignore the possibility of resolving the issues' crises in the myth of a better deal. there is no better deal. for these reasons i join the large numbers of diplomats, scientists, retired u.s. flag officers, rabbis, national security experts, and intelligence professionals in supporting this agreement with iran. i urge my colleagues most sincerely to oppose the resolution of disapproval and support this historic agreement.
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thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i listened carefully to the eloquent remarks of the distinguished senator from california, all the country has -- if only this country embraced this deal. and i didn't hear once mentioned the nation of israel. our most significant and important ally in the middle east. and because, in fact, they do not approve of this. as we heard from the prime minister several months ago, this paves the way for the nuclear weapon, it transforms policy which would deny iran a nuclear weapon and paves the path for a nuclear weapon. but as we are contemplating this debate, i decided it was important to me to visit -- to me to visit with rick kupke of
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texas. he was one of 53 americans who were held hostage and held for 14 months in iran at the time of the iranian revolution. he in an interview with one of our newspapers in fort worth when he was asked about this deal with iran, he said this is probably the worst agreement of this kind i've seen in my lifetime. this is an experienced, seasoned foreign service officer. i don't know why they think the iranians are going to abide by any agreement. they never have. and so i approach this agreement between president obama and the regime in tehran with a tremendous amount of skepticism. but, you know, this debate shouldn't be a partisan one and i worry that it is quickly becoming partisan based on the stated intention of the minority
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leader, senator reid from nevada, to actually filibuster and prevent an up-or-down vote on this disapproval. this is being encouraged by the president of the united states. just a short time after the president himself signed a bill, a bipartisan bill with 98 votes in the senate which sets up the procedure by which this resolution will be voted on, the president and the minority leader and apparently many democrats are tempted to filibuster this most important national security issue that i've confronted and seen since i've been in the senate and many would say during their lifetime. and the president is really taking the low road, i'm sorry to say. he's claimed those chanting death to america in iran are -- quote -- "making common cause with the republican caucus."
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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


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