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tv   Senator Bill Nelson on Iran Nuclear Agreement  CSPAN  September 3, 2015 10:13pm-10:37pm EDT

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proudly proclaimed under this year we will have anywhere any time 24/7 access to iran's nuclear facilities. as a turns out, under this deal inspectors will be forced to wait up to 24 days for access to suspicious sites once they ask for access to suspicious sites. that is a brand-new definition of "anywhere, any time." possibly you can have access in 24 days, and obviously lots of things can and would change in 24 days. militarily, the president said we would disclose and find the possible military dimensions of the research and where iran's illegal nuclear program headed. the president said this information is critical to knowing what iran's true breakout potential and their true intentions would be. under this agreement, however, the option of examining the
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possible military dimensions of iran's nuclear program is off the table. sanctions, the administration said is that removing all sanctions was a nonstarter until iran demonstrated that it's complying with the agreement. a little over a year ago, in march 2014, secretary kerry said iran's not open for business until iran is closed for nuclear bombs. however, we know now that iran will in fact be open for business much sooner than that, this deal will not only allow them to be open for business but they'll be rewarded with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sanctions relief, return of assets that didn't have to be returned. and under this agreement, all sanctions, even those related to arms, missiles and proliferation
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will be removed. not be suspended. these will be removed. we have some of the most aggressive arms suppliers in the world in iran now being given access is to all kinds of arms that they couldn't get legally or easily up till now. all economic and banking sections as well as those imposed on transport, on insurance, on petrochemical industries and valuable materials will be removed. dismantling, the president said that iran would have to dismantle its illegal nuclear program. in december of 2013, the chief negotiator wendy sherman told pbs that a final agreement should include -- quote -- "a lot of dismantling of their infrastructure." end quote. yet under this deal, we're seeing that iran's program will in fact almost all be preserved, not dismantled. the length of the agreement, the p-5 plus 1 initially speculated and stipulated that iran must
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accept restrictions on its nuclear program for 20 years plus another 25 years, and then later they said 20 years plus another 10 years. finally their last offer was just 20 years, which was in the end reduced to 10 years. and i think over the next 60 days as people read the fine print of the agreement, they might find out that it's even less than 10 years. but they certainly know now that it's not 25 -- 20 years plus 25 years, mr. president. this is a bad deal for the united states and one that will embolden our enemies, jeopardize the security of our allies, further lead our friends to not believe they can trust us, and our enemies not to be afraid of us. what worse place could we be in in a dangerous world than that? the stated goal of the negotiations was to ensure iran never develops the capability to
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produce a nuclear weapon. why he want, the president agreed to a -- yet, the president agreed to a deal that does just the opposite. by allowing iran to become nuclear weapons-capable and failing to provide for any time, anywhere inspections, this deal gives iran a free pass to cheat at its military sites and no access to u.s. inspectors. meanwhile, just last week iran continued the calls for the destruction of israel. these are the people we just allowed, are all lowg in the process to more weapons and to become nuclear weapons-capable. just last week iran called, as it has for decades, for the destruction of israel. and the death to america. in fact, as iran's supreme leader stood by calling for the need to fight the u.s., even if there is an agreement. i don't know that we've ever entered into an agreement with another country before that while we enter into the
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agreement they say and by the way, no matter whether there is agreement or not, we want to continue to see the u.s. as an enemy that we need to fight. this deal undermines the security of our friends and allies, it legitimatizes iran's unapologetic sponsorship of terrorism throughout the middle east. interesting what could be included, by the way, mr. president, what couldn't be included. iran has repeatedly refused to abide by international agreements that require inspection of nuclear facilities, details of facility designs, acquisition and production of nuclear materials and what makes us think that iran is going to change that behavior now? the negotiations themselves should lead us to believe that the old iran is still the new iran? this is a bad deal, it's a deal that just hopes that in the next eight or ten years, the iranian government totally changes, the iranian attitude totally changes, our relationship with
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them totally changes, and just hopes that in the interim between the time that we have that hoped for change, the iranians don't cheat. this is a hope, not a strategy, and it is a hope, not a strategy that we let the world much more destabilized on top of. after months of negotiations, iran hasn't released a single american prisoner or they haven't announced any intentions to do so. the iranians, the russians, the chinese, the syrians -- or at least syrians that still are controlled by assad may like this deal, but this is a bad deal for the united states of america. it's a bad deal for world stability. it is a bad deal for our friends. and frankly, i think that the law that the congress passed that now gives the congress of the united states 60 days to look at it will turn out to be 60 days that the president himself is about to find out
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what's in the deal that he and the administration signed. this is a serious matter for every member of the senate. i was asked earlier today are you going to -- are you going to lobby members of the senate as to how they should vote on this agreement when it came up. i said i'm going to do everything i can to talk about the real shortcomings of this agreement, the destabilizing of this agreement, but every member of the senate is going to have to answer for this agreement and this vote for a long time. members of the senate on their own are going to have to decide what side of this to wind up on, and, mr. president, i predict that a majority and maybe a substantial majority in the senate will wind up understanding that this is a bad deal for america and a bad deal for the future of world security, and i wou mr. preside? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i
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rise to announce my decision on the iranian nuclear agreement. the joint comprehensive plan of action. this decision of mine comes after considerable study of the issue, as have our colleagues in the senate taken this quite seriously. i have talked with folks on all sides of the issue. these include colleagues as well as constituents. it includes experts on the middle east and central asia, arms control experts, foreign allies, and as we say in my constituency, it includes just plain folks. i want to say that secretary moniz, a nuclear physicist, has been especially helpful.
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needless to say, i wish that the three americans jailed in iran and bob levinson, a former f.b.i. agent missing in iran for rateight years, i wish they had been a part of this agreement to return them. the levinson family in florida is anxious for information and help to return bob. this is personal for me. i'm a strong supporter of israel, mr. president, and i recognize that country as one of america'america's most importan. i am committed to the protection of israel as the best and right foreign policy for the u.s. and our allies.
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and, mr. president, i am blessed to represent florida, which also has among our citizens a strong and vibrant jewish community, including many holocaust survivors and holocaust victims' families, some of whom i have worked with to help them get just compensation from european insurance companies which turned their back on them after world war ii and would not honor their insurance claims. in our state, we're also proud to have a floridian, a former u.s. and miami beach resident, as the israeli ambassador to the u.s. ambassador ron durmer grew up in
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miami beach. his father and brother are former mayors. he is someone i've enjoyed getting to know and have had several conversations over the years and recently spent time talking to him about his opposition to this joint agreement. i acknowledge that this has been one of the most important preparations and will be one of the most important votes that i will cast in the senate because of the foreign and defense policy consequences, both huge for the u.s. and our allies. and unless there is an unexpected change in the conditions and facts before the vote is called in september -- and it will be called on the very first day that we return in september -- unless there is an
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unexpected change, i will support the nuclear agreement between iran and the p-5 plus 1, which are the u.s., u.k., france, russia, china, and germany, because i am convinced it will stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon for at least the next 10 to 15 years. no other available alternative accomplishes this vital objective. the goal of this almost two-year negotiation culminated in this deal, the goal was to deny iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. this objective has been fulfilled in the short-term. for the next ten years, iran
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will reduce its centrifuges, the machines that enrich the uranium, by two-thirds. they'll go from more than 19,000 centrifuges to 6,000. only 5,000 of those will be operating, all at natanz, all the most basic models. the deeply buried fordow facility will be converted to a research facility. no fissile material can be stored there. for the next 15 years, iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium, which currently amounts to 12,000 kilograms, enough for ten bombs, will be reduced by
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98% to only 300 kilograms. research and development into advanced centrifuges will also be limited. and, taken together, these constraints will lengthen the time it would take for iran to produce a highly enriched uranium for one bomb -- the so-called breakout time. it will reduce it from two to three months that they could break out now to more than one year. that is more than enough time to detect and, if necessary, stop iran from racing to a bomb. iran's ability to produce a bomb using plutonium will also be blocked under this deal. the iraq reactor, which is
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currently constructed, could produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs every year. it will be redesigned to produce no weapons-grade plutonium, and iran will have to ship out the spent fuel from the reactor forever. iran signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in 196, i-- in 1968, in which they agred they would not pursue nuclear weapons. iran has re-aforme reaffirmed ts principle in this joint agreement. iran also says they want to eventually make low-grade nuclear fuel, as other n.p.t.-compliant nations do, in order to produce electricity. if they comply, they will eventually be allowed to do so under this
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joint agreement. and our expectation is that in 15 years, when iran can lift the limit of 300 kilograms of low enriched uranium, if they not have cheated, they will continue to abide by their n.p.t. obligations and use their fuel only for electricity and medical isotopes. if they deviate from those civilian purposes, then harsh economic sanctions will result, and very possibly u.s. military action. mr. president, the world will be a very different place in 10-15 years. if we can buy this much time instead of iran developing a nuclear bomb in the near future, then that is reason
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enough for me to vote to uphold this agreement. and if the u.s. walks away from this multinational agreement, then i believe we would find ourselves alone in the world with little credibility. but there are many more reasons to support this agreement. the opponents of the agreement say that war is not the only alternative to the agreement. indeed, they as articulated by the israeli ambassador, say we should oppose attempt by refusing to lift congressionally imposed sanctions and the result will be that the international sanctions will stay in place, that iran will continue to feel the economic pinch, and therefore, iran will come back to the table and negotiate terms
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more favorable to the united states and our allies. but, mr. president, if the united states kills the deal that most of the rest of the world is for, there's no question in this senator's mind that the sanctions will start to erode and they may collapse altogether. we just had a meeting with all the p-5 plus 1 ambassadors to the u.s., and they reaffirmed that exact fact. sanctions rely on more than just the power of the united states economy. they depend on an underlying political consensus in support of a common objective. china, russia, and many other nations eager to do business with iran went along with our
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economic sanctions because they believe they were temporary and a temporary cost to pay until iran agreed to a deal. that fragile consensus in support of u.s. policy is likely to fall apart if we jettison this deal. and so i think it's unrealistic to think that we can stop oil- hungry countries in asia from buying iranian oil, especially when offered bargain basement prices. and it's equally unrealistic to think that we could continue to force foreign banks that hold the iranian oil dollars, banks in china, india, japan, south korea, and taiwan, that have
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sequestered the iranian oil dollars, it's unrealistic to expect that they will hold onto that cash simply because we threatened them with u.s. banking sanctions. how will such threats be taken seriously when those countries, taken together, hold nearly half of america's debt, making any decision to sanction them extraordinarily difficult? so killing this deal by us rejecting it means that the sanctions are going to be weaker than they are today, not stronger. and the united states cannot simply get a better deal with iran with less economic leverage and less international support. that is a fact that we are having to face. and, of course, if we rejected
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it and if the sanctions crumbled, all of this would probably happen while iran would be racing to build a bomb. without this deal, iran's breakout time could quickly -- quickly shrink for months to a handful of weeks or days. it's reasonable to ask why iran would agree to negotiate a delay in their nuclear program that they've advanced over the years at the cost of billions of dollars. the simple answer is they need the money. the iranian economy is hurting because the sanctions and iran's supreme leader needs to satisfy rising expectations of average iranians who are restless to have a bigger slice of the
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economic pie with more and better goods and supplies. so they have an interest in striking a deal. but does that mean we trust iran's government? no. not at all. the iranian leadership -- the iranian religious leadership encourages the hard-liners there to chant death to america and death to israel. therefore, this agreement can't be built on trust. we must have a good enough mechanism in place to catch them when and if they cheat. in other words, don't trust but verify. i believe the agreement sets out
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reasonable assurance that iran will not be able to hide the development of a bomb at declared or undeclared sites. the international atomic energy agency inspectors will have immediate access to declared sites -- the nuclear reactor, the facilities at natanz and latordo, and the next 20 to 25 years inspectors will have access to the entire supply chain including iranian mines and mills and centrifuge facility, and storage sites. that means inspectors will catch iran if they try to use the facilities we know about to build a weapon or if they try to divert


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