tv Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid D-NV on the Iran Nuclear Agreement CSPAN September 8, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EDT
praising this clown show that donald trump is putting on. when you listen to him carefully, he has nothing much to say about policy. when he does talk and he says i am for keeping the minimum wage because we have to compete with other countries, what is he talking about? seven dollars an hour competing with china? he doesn't say much. his advisers will do the job -- what is he going to do with the people in congress whose constituents put them in for years on end? he has to deal with them. this idea of hiring people to do the job, that is what the president already has in place and look at the mess we are in with the deadlock in congress. in celebrity.d he happens to be the celebrity of the time and it scares me
that we are that shallow that we don't demand more from him. he talks about lack of judgment in hillary clinton using the server. what about his lack of judgment? he's been times of thousands of dollars trying to prove the president was not born in the united states. -- he washat thinking, what am i doing, i'm already bored. he is being applauded as the next president of the united states. host: let's hear from sammy in paris, texas. caller: i want to do nothing congress to get up and do something. here in texas, we are a big state. our roadways used to be very good.
all we want to do is go -- vote on issues that have already been decided and what the supreme court. host: what would you like them to focus on? i would like to focus on fixing the infrastructure for texas. i am in houston right now. it is just a mess. traffic is terrible and it's dangerous. not?ve the money, so why we are not doing -- the congress
is not doing its job. dan in oakland, california democrats line. caller: i'm calling about the iranian nuclear deal. had caller: everybody's a couple months ago everybody said iran has nuclear material to be making bombs now almost. and so i think that the deal gets that material out of iran now is better way to go than be worrying about 10 or 15 years from now. host: ok. from oakland, california, thanks for the call. thank you talk about the iran deal. in washington right now minority leader harry reid is scheduled to speak at an event at the carnegie endowment for international peace, the topic the iran nuclear agreement. this is a planned topic and speech he's scheduled to give. we'll go to that event now.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> good morning, a few people settling in. my name is george, vice president for studies here at the carnegie endowment. it's my pleasure to welcome all of you back from the end of summer, lamentably, and the beginning of the work year here in washington, but we have a great occasion which we are honored to present to you to start it off. and that is an address by senate minority leader harry reid. and to introduce senator reid we have a dear friend and former colleague of his, congressman howard berman, who is also a friend of ours. we had the pleasure and honor of working together on a number of issues when he was chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. he's still very active in international affairs. so it gives us extra pleasure to
ask congressman berman to come up and introduce senator reid. congressman berman: thank you very much, george. just before i introduce the peaker, i just want to let our host know that, host of carnegie, that really how incredibly valuable your work has been to me during the 30 years that i was on the house foreign affairs committee. issues like nonproliferation, arms control, u.s.-soviet can and then u.s.-russia relationship. so many other issues. your writings and our -- your testimony, our conversations really helped shape my own outlook on a lot of key foreign policy issues. i owe you a lot. a special shout out to the great ople these days who are --
whenever i google members of congress with me never went to russia without stopping to get an analysis. in any event i'm honored today to be asked to interdues your speaker who has been my friend for 33 years. senate democratic leader, harry reid, we worked together since he and i came to the house in 1983. we sat next to each other for four years on the house foreign affairs committee before he was elected to the senate in 1986. and as you know, the senator served as majority leader from 2007 through 2014. and he remains the democratic leader during this, his last term in congress. what most don't appreciate is
the skill that goes into garnering the mantle of leader and majority leader in the u.s. senate, and holding on to it. senator reid's commitment to a progressive agenda, his knowledge of the issues, and the parliamentary rules, his attention to detail, and his ability to handle the outsized personalities of his colleagues. are legendary. he fights tenaciously for that which he believes and he produces the defendant compromise when that is the only sensible course. relevant to discussion this morning, senator reid during all his years and to this day has given very special attention and focus to the u.s.-israel relationship. fighting as strongly as anyone in the congress for the survival and security of the state of israel.
he, like i, believe that support for the joint comprehensive plan of action is not only in america's security interest, but it is in israel's security interest as well. what's not well-known is that the critical strategic work that then majority leader reid played from 2009 through 2012 in ensuring that binding far reaching sanctions were enacted and done so in a way that maximized president obama's ability to put together a far-reaching international coalition in support of sanctions. he wasn't the author of these sanctions bills. his name doesn't appear in the newspapers and discussions about him, but he was seized with the critical importance of preventing iran from having a nuclear weapons capability, and
devoted great time and leadership to making this happen. it's not often a house member gets a call from the senate majority leader to discuss legislative strategy on a bill not authored by that senator, or makes himself readily and easily accessible to a house member to ensure a positive outcome. on this issue senator harry reid led not in name but in taking the steps that only a majority leader can take to ensure that the effort was successful. i'm very proud to introduce enator harry reid. you mayreid: as some of
know i hurt myself on january 1 is it and basically blinded myself in one eye. doing my exercise. as senator mikulski said in our first meeting when i came back to the congress, she said to everyone there, i told you, i said it all my life, exercise will kill you. so anyway here's the deal. i can't see out of my right eye, but it does let light in. so i got some new glasses and we are going to try for the first time, i got a new pair of glass, we'll see how it works. the light here seems to be just about right. if i have to go back to my dark glasses you'll know why. so, howard, thank you very much. we are friends, we always will be friends. we bonded as freshmen in a very
large class that tip o'neill had to deal with way back in 1982. he's a superb legislator, he was noted as great legislator in the california legislature, but back here when history books arity hen during these three decades he served, howard berman will be part of that conversation. i'm so grateful he came from california toint dues me tafmente there's no one i would rather introduce me than my friend, howard berman. i also want to thank the carnegie endowment and your president, burns, he has a remarkable career and record and i'm grateful that he is somebody that i speak to and somebody hat i like a great deal. he is -- most is out of the public eye, i understand that. he's known around this city and
around the world as someone that has worked really hard to keep the world safe from a nuclear armed iran. so thank you, bill, even though you aren't here. george, thank you for filling so ably in. when the senate is gaveled into session in just a few hours, a debate has ignited passion from tehran to tel aviv, from beijing to berlin and from coast to coast across our great country will take center stage in the world's greatest deliberative body. the question at hand is no small matter. is the agreement between iran and the international community led by the united states the best pathway to peace and security for america, israel, our partners, and interests? i believe the answer is unquestionably yes. today i'm gratified to say to my fellow americans, our
negotiating partners and allies all around the world, this agreement will stand, america will uphold its commitment and will seize this opportunity to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. while the formal debate begin this is afternoon, the private negotiation that brought us to this point have been going on for years. and the public's review of the agreement has been going on for months. and during that long period president obama and secretary kerry were clear in their goals. above all the united states will not allow iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. the united states also would not sign any agreement that takes iran at its word or relies on trust iran has not earned. the most difficult crossroads of this time concerning a technical negotiation, president obama and secretary kerry made clear that the hard choices belonged not to us but to iran.
but now it's our turn. now the united states has a choice to make. we can enforce an agreement that forces iran to walk away from any nuclear weapons program, or walk away from that agreement. and assume responsibility for the consequences. we can take the strongest effort ever toward blocking iran from getting a nuclear weapon, or block the agreement. and ensure iran will have a fissile material it needs to make a bomb. in the matter of months they'll be able to do that. we can't have it both ways. make no mistake, blocking the bomb, blocking the agreement are two distinct choices that lead to very different futures. i spent a lot of time talking, listening, thinking about the various elements of this agreement, so have my colleagues. i have heard from nuclear scientists, intelligence community, military leaders.
i have listened to diplomats and experts. i have been briefed by secretary kerry and undersecretary moniz and a ects nuke already physicist who knows almost as anyone else the science behind the agreement and agreement itself. i heard from ardent supporters and passionate opponents. i talked with nevadans from all walks of life. i spoke with israel's leaders. prime minister netanyahu, ambassador dermer, and i have read the text of this long agreement and i have read it very carefully. and-n my my years can i not think of another debate with so much expertise, passions, and good faith on both sides. it's clear to me and to overwhelming majority of my caucus that this agreement gives us the best chance to get rid of
one of the worst threats in this world, a nuclear armed iran. in fact, i believe the agreement is not just our best chance to divert what we fear most, i fear it's our last best chance to do so. before i explain why, let me first acknowledge some of the people who helped us get to this historic moment. i mentioned president obama and his cabinet secretaries which achieved a remarkable diplomatic breakthrough. i also want to acknowledge my colleagues led by senator bob menendez who helped set the stage for those negotiations by rallying the senate and the world behind sanctions that brought iran to the negotiating table. i also acknowledge senators cardin and corker for their leadership. they did a great job. the legislation they wrote created the process to review the agreement in congress. i support this agreement and the united states senate will support president obama for two
simple reasons. number one, pp this agreement will do a tremendous amount of good. and number two, blocking this agreement would lead to a tremendous amount of bad outcomes. he bottom line then is this, enforcing this agreement will prevent the thugs -- the things we must dread. thugs, i'm sure of that. but undermining it would prevent these very same dreadful consequences. those consequences are, in fact, totally unacceptable. we all recognize the threat iran poses to israel. powerful weapons, hateful words, anti-semitic smears, and pledges of jewish state's destruction.
no one can underestimate this menace and no one should dismiss how much more dangerous iran would be in this regard if it were to have nuclear bomb. we also recognize the threat of iran revolutionary guard corps, the threat from iran's support for hezbollah, assad. my little en and teleprompter friend is slow there. brazen human rights violations to its own people and americans it holds political prisoners, and those who disappeared. we recognize the danger that iran poses to our allies, our interests, and our own troops. and of course can can diplomats serving around the world are a peril every dave their lives in the middle east, certainly. -- every day of their lives in the middle east, certainly. no one is blind to the threat iran poses.
again, no one should forget that iran would become a threat of an entirely different magnitude if it were to ever have a nuclear weapon. i can't think a single challenge in the region that wouldn't get worse in that nightmare scenario. that's why our goal first and foremost must be to keep iran from getting its hands on one of those nuclear weapons. or building one. we have no allusions about the iranian regime which is exactly why when we are presented with the best way to stop its nuclear ambitions we must not let that chance slip through our fingers. we support and enforce the agreement we have reached. the agreement congress now assumes responsibility to review does a better job than any other proposal of reducing iran's chance to get a bomb. when our negotiators came to the table, they did so with andrew carnegie's advice in mind. the man who in 1910 gave his name and fortune to this
institution once said, and i quote, our duty is with what is now practicable now, with the next step possible in our day and generation. in our day we know it's not practical to bomb away knowledge of how to build a nuclear weapon. so our negotiators said even though we cannot take away the way to build a bomb, we can take away the ingredients and use of equipment to cook one. that's what we are doing. not only if the united states upholds -- only if the united states upholds and enforces its agreement. the good news is this agreement does more than takeway ivan's ability to build a bomb. it gives us the ability to catch every move through strict limits and entrucive inspections, the agreement takes away iran's material and iran's ability to make more of it. this agreement takes away iran's ability to build any facilities or fissile materials secretly
and with impunity. the agreement iran signed prohibits from pursuing, building, or having a nuclear weapon ever. there is no expiration date on that commitment. it's not grounded in trust. this is isn't a peace treaty out of the goodness of our hearts. if we trusted iran we wouldn't need the video cameras and inspectors and all manner of technology to make sure iran supply complies. we are not asking -- iran complies. we are not asking iran to promise anything and taking it at its word. we are demanding prove to us it is complying with every last letter of this agreement. before it gets sanctions relief, iran has to take specific actions. if it doesn't happen as some fear sanctions will be imposed on iran. we have done everything possible to make sure that if iran cheats we'll know quickly and we'll act immediately and with the international community behind
us. that makes us safer. that makes israel safer. that makes the world safer. that's what nuclear experts around the world know, what diplomats know, and the overwhelming majority of my caucus knows. that's why this agreement will stand. and to make sure this agreement succeeds, congress must provide the oversight to ensure monitoring and enforce verification. at the same time, congress must continue to hold the line against iran and arms tracking, funding against terrorism, and demanding a return of americans who have been taken prisoners and those who have disappeared. parties that were never meant to be part of this negotiation must never, never be forgotten. this agreement offers a number of different ways to cut off iran's path to a bomb. there is on the other hand one sure-fire way to open iran's path to destruction and that is to reject this agreement.
as i mentioned, the second reason i support this agreement is because of what happens if we walk away from it. that would leave iran with no limitation on nuclear weapons program in the united states, with no leverage to do anything about it. if we walk away from the agreement we helped secure, think about what happens the very next day. iran gets to keep as many center fugse as it wants and build as many more as it would like. iran gets to build its stockpile, the kind of uranium and plutonium you need to build a bomb. iran gets to test more advanced technologies, bring it closer to a bomb. to do so as quickly as it wants. when those weapons are ready, iran gets to point them at israel or worse, on its threat to wipe israel off the map. iran also gets to kick out the inspectors and hide all this from the world. forget worries about 15 or 20 years from now.
all this would happen tomorrow. if we walk away from this agreement, the international sanctions regime will fall apart, meaning the congress impose to bring iran to the table disappears from our arsenal. sanctions don't work if it's our ideal law. the world has to be on the same page. here's why. america doesn't do business with iran. we haven't for decades. but other countries made their own economic sacrifices in the name of pressuring iran and now they want to buy iran's oil and trade with it. so as much as we like for sanctions that brought iran to the table to also bring iran to its knees, it's only with international cooperation that sanctions actually work. like it or not, we need our partners in this effort. and our partners have told us in no uncertain terms that the united states walks away or walk
away alone. sanctions have isolated iran and brought us to this moment, but if we squander it and turn our backs on international partners, it is we, the united states, who will be ice rate lathed -- will be ice rate lathed. -- who will be isolated. put it all together, what does it mean if america blocks this agreement instead of iran's pathway to a bomb? it means iran gets more money and more impunity to develop a nuclear weapon. it means we get far less scrutiny and far less secure. it means we'll have to put ourselves at a disadvantage at the very moment we let iran become more dangerous. of course we still have a military option. president obama has made crystal clear that's a fact. but military strikes cannot solve this problem nearly as effectively as the solution before us today. clearly a military option could
also come with significant costs and risks for both israel and the united states. after all, that's why diplomacy is our first resort and military option our last resort. that's why i believe blocking the away would actually achieve the opposite of what opponents intend. instead of being tougher on iran, voting yes on the agreement is voting on a smart international sanctions regime against inspections, against international requirement that iran backs the nuclear weapon in any -- -- backs off the program in any way. blocking this agreement pushes iran closer to a bomb than farther away. that's a fact. general scole croft -- scowcroft, national security expertise who served four republican presidents, said we would be sowing further turmoil
in the middle east rather than seizing a chance and responsibility to stabilize it. that would be a tragedy of our own making. one we cannot allow. i respect greatly the concerns i have heard about what this agreement means for israel. i believe this agreement makes israel safer and in no small part that's why i support it. over my decades in the senate, my support for the safety and security of the israeli people has been at the corps of my views on the middle east. national security of the united states. it from dinners i attended 50 years ago with my girlfriend to the history of my own wife's family, my support for the state of israel and the jewish people has been personal and unimpeachable, and i have not been afraid to disagree with the president of the united states when it comes to israel. when the administration opposes congress passing specific
sanctions. we must build on our firm commitment to make sure israel can defend itself, take more money, more military support, but we must provide the one true democracy in the region and one and only jewish state in the whole world with resources it needs. the united states must also maintain staunch support of israel. including a veto in the united nations for a resolution that isolate israel and make it less secure. i read closely a letter the -- secretary kerry sent to the senate early in september. that letter leaves out a number of important steps that the united states would take for israel's security. one of those steps is take israel's military edge. another is negotiating a nuclear iran understanding on military systems. and another step is continuing to work with israel on joint
efforts to deal with shared threats as well as confronting conventional and asymmetric threats. which is ly reviewed, why additional security systems and assurances to israel. after looking at the letter and the legislation, i plan to work with the white house and with both democrats and republicans to guarantee that the united states is doing everything possible to protect the safety and security of israel. the administration's promise, we'll continue funding the missile defense that has already saved so many israeli civilian lives. to destroy the tunnels that have been used to terrorize israeli citizens. now, after all good this agreement will do in blocking iran's pathway to a bomb.
after all the dangers by letting iran go more dangerous. after all the assurance that is our commitment to israel's security is stronger than ever, after all that, some will say they want a better deal. but there is no such thing as a better deal. there is no plausible alternative. there is no better deal. opponents of this agreement talk often about how very real the iranian threat is to israel and the region. it absolutely is. but for all the talk about what is real, the idea that we can somehow get a better deal is imaginary. diplomats, science, counterparts tell us it's fantasy. the agreement before us is a result of manyiers of hard work. we live in the real world and in the real world this really is the best option to keep iran from a nuclear bomb.
let me say a little about the details getting this done. the senate has an important oversight. we voted to give the senate that role. we voted to consider three positive outcomes. no action at all. a resolution of approval. or resolution of disapproval. it's absurd to argue as some are doing now that by voting for process with three possible and very different outcomes, the senate somehow obligated themselves to vote to advance a specific outcome. we did no such thing. i hope we request avoid the usual and unnecessary procedural hurdles. i have offered senator mcconnell the chance to go straight to a vote on pass afpblgt resolution, but of course as he's done many times in the past, everything of importance in the senate
requires 60 votes. so passage will require 60 votes. there is no precedent in recent history for an issue of this magnitude giving consideration of the senate without having to secure 60 votes. this is not about how one is flawed. this is precedent dating back for decades now. finally, what are the many important things at stake here? american leadership is one of them. after convening our international partners in a common calls, rallying the world behind tough sanctions after negotiating, negotiating, and negotiating some more, the way america acts now will inform the way we are viewed on the world stage and the credibility with which we can negotiate in the future. if america reneges on this agreement, we'll lose more than the compliance add ver say airry. we can lose the confidence of our allies. america led the negotiations to stop the iranian nuclear
program. now it's time for congress to reaffirm america's leadership by supporting this agreement. we cannot and will not allow iran to have a nuclear weapon. neither the united states, israel, or volatile middle east or anyone in the world can take that risk, that danger. i believe it's our responsibility to avoid that threat. so let's heed andrew carnegie's remind every of our duty to respect what is practical and respond with pragmatic solutions. solutions like the one before us. as he said, when a statesman has in his keeping the position and interest of his country, it is not with things as they are to be in the future, but with things as they are in the present, right now, close quote. the agreement on the table at present is a good one. it is our best chance to ensure iran never builds the worst weapon on earth. i'll do informing my power to
make sure it is enforced and effective. to make sure we are safer and more secure in our day and generation and days and generations to come. thanks, everybody. [applause] george: don't worry about those glasses. these work well. you have time for brief conversation? senator reid: yeah. thanks. george: that was a very powerful brief for the agreement and description of the process. if you now look out over the next few days, do you have a sense that ultimately it's going to work out in terms of when the
congress has its say that the deal must be blocked at least at this point? senator reid: as i said in my remarks it's clear that the senate's going to reject this agreement. there are a few dissenting votes. we'll find out how many we have. four senators have not made a public decision. may have already done it. so we expect development very soon where everybody stands. we as everyone knows, we have votes to make sure that the president's veto, if necessary, will not be overridden. george: you alluded to this but i want to draw it out a little bit. i think a lot of us who worked on this have been puzzled about what the theory is that if the congress were to block this deal, what positive effects over time would come from that.
you suggested that the arguments -- you deal with a lot of your colleagues. do they articulate why blocking it would lead to some kind of better outcome? or is it just an assertion they don't argue? senator reid: your question is, is blocking -- george: do people who want to block -- senator reid: this is a resolution of disapproval. so -- we will block that. george: right. but the argument of and the whole process is basically for those who want to block the agreement going forward. the jpcoa. so -- senator reid: as i said. we have three choices, do nothing, to approve it, or disapprove t those are the choices. i think those of us who believe that we should not approve this
proposal is one that recognizes that as -- if we do, as i said in my remarks, we are alone. sanction also no longer be effective. we'll be able to have some sanctions, but wleerned a long time ago that going it alone doesn't work. that's why -- we made some sacrifices in blocking this agreement, economically, but other countries made significant sacrifices also. as i indicated here, they want to begin trade relations with iran. it's a country of 50 million people. there is potential there. and that doesn't take away from the fact we got a lot of work to do. this agreement that we have, the opportunity to affirm, does nothing but stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. that's the purpose of it. it doesn't stop other things.
we will continue to assert our influence and power to make sure that their meddling in other places will be at a relative minimal. but we and our allies agree on that. what our allies don't agree on is the fact that if we reject this agreement, they are out the door. think about this. china, russia. they are with us on this. i think that we should quit while we are way ahead. george: there is a theory, this has to do in leverage, there is a theory some way which is, ok, even if the rest of the world starts doing trade with iran, because the u.s. economy is so important, we have national sanctions that can block other companies from other countries from doing financing through the u.s. with that leverage that's the u.s. is alone, we can somehow impose our will on others to go
-- i guess my question is -- senator reid: we tried that. we tried that. didn't work. why do you think it was important that we got -- had the countries involved in the negotiations, we needed them. otherwise it's meaningless to us. a lot of this money's held up in banks. not all our banks. other banks around the world. and we try that alone, i repeat, it didn't work. it helped a little bit, but certainly didn't bring them to their knees. it they didn't even bend at the waist. george: we have to cut it off now. i'm seeing you have to get back to do the urgent business we were alluding to here as things are happening. so we are very grateful. senator reid: i appreciate very much i don't have to answer questions about the pope coming. i don't have to answer questions about the budget deal, highways, about cybersecurity. i'm glad to leave also.
>> wrapping up with senate minority leader harry reid. just before he started his remarks we learned that west virginia senator joe manchin announced he will vote in opposition to the nuclear agreement with iran. the associated press writing, manchin says the identifyian regime shows no signs of changing its behavior and deal involving world power does nothing to guarantee that behavior changes. the deal already has the necessary votes in the senate to sustain the president's veto of the resolution of disapproval. 38 democratic and independent senators backing it. senator manchin joins senator schumer of new york, menendez of new jersey, and ben cardin of maryland becoming the fourth democrat opposing the deal. five senators remain undecided. senators collins, blumenthal, cantwell, peters of michigan, and oregon's ron wyden.
focus on iran and the nuclear agreement will continue throughout the day today across the c-span networks. congress takes up the debate on the nuclear deal this week. the senate today, the house later in the week, and later today we'll gi bring you discussion on the technical and political aspects of the negotiations that led up to the deal. hosted by the intersnarble crisis group and the plowshares fund. among those taking part, ambassador thomas picker, and former national security advisor, samuel burger. live at is:00 p.m. eastern on our companion network c-span3 today. here on c-span we'll be live at 1:00 eastern with republican presidential candidate lindsey graham, south carolina senator is the luncheon speaker at the national press club. he is expected to talk about the iran nuclear deal also. you can see his remarks right here on c-span. again, starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern. as we mentioned the house and senate are expected to take up the iran deal this week.
the house gavels in at 2:00 eastern, but will spend the day on other issues. members will start consideration of the nuclear deal tomorrow with a vote possible this week. the senate also gaveling in today and lawmakers are expected to begin their deliberations on the agreement today. congress was given 60 days to review the deal. a vote on it is expected by the 17th of this month.
>> he was a nazi. he was a concentration camp commandant. and he was responsible for the murder of thousands of jews. >> this sunday night, on "q&a," jennifer teaga, on her life altering discovery that her grandfather was the nazi cans tration camp commandant, known as the butcher of pla sow. >> he was a tremendously cruel person. -- he was was capable of -- he had two dogs. he trained them to tear humans apart. a was a person who -- it was leasure he felt when he killed people. and something that when you're normal if you don't have that
aspect in your personality, it's very, very difficult to grasp. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a." >> now iraq's ambassador to the u.s. takes part in a panel discussion looking at the current state of his country and talks about its future. topics include the country's political structure, as well as the threat posed by identifycies. hosted by the center for strategic and international studies. this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. i'm senior vice president chairing global security and director of the middle east program here at csis. welcome. when i was talking to the ambassador a few weeks ago, i said, it's before labor day. i don't know if we can get an audience, but we'll try. and i'm glad you're all here.
i am delighted to welcome the ambassador of the republic of raq, his excellency. has served as ambassador to the united states since july of 2013. prior to that he was iraq's ambassador to japan. he has extensive experience in diplomacy business, information technology, he spent many years in the u.k. as a technology consultant. he has a bachelor of science in math and computer science from manchester metropolitan university. an mba in technology management, and a postgraduate degree in computing for commerce and industry. that's a fairly well speak and we'll have a distinguished panel who i will invite up afterwards we'll have a discussion among ourselves and then turn the discussion over to you. i give the ambassador. [applause]
ambassador: good afternoon, everybody. thank you, jon, for your kind introduction. an also thank you for opportunity at such an important time to talk about my country and for us to have an honest and fruitful discussion about what's taking place in our region and iraq in particular. you also asked me to talk about where iraq is heading. i will discuss where our country is heading on a domestic political front, on military and security front, and also on the regional and international front. and i will try to refute a few
false choices. d i'll -- our distorting american's under-the-standing of iraq. first, i want to make one important point. slowly but surely and steadily iraq is moving forward towards democracy. and toward one country. in fact, the only way we can defeat identifycies -- icecies -- isis, issel is strengthen ties within our country and along the federal arrangements that are in line with our constitution which all communities in iraq voted for. and other courses of action these two division distort and feat and that in the future,
the future with this device and concur strategy was for iraq. our neighbors and world community must never, ever accept that the division for iraq and should never, ever accept the division of three state solution for iraq. recent events have demonstrated that despite what outside others claim, iraq is not an irrevocable divided among ethnic or sectarian lines. this is the first i will refute this afternoon. for no mistake, my friends, all the differences iraqis want to succeed. it this was apparent during what could have been polarizing this summer in baghdad and other major cities.
look at the images from these photos. nd you will see a sea of iraqi flags. no other flag but iraq. raqis do not want a revolution that overcomes the first 2003 democratic order. they want reforms that will strengthen the unity of iraq. the inclusiveness of our democracy, and the effectiveness of our government that is not hamstrung by corruption more by sectarianism. and a shared understanding that our the middle east, the government, all want to unite our country and uphold the rule of law. security forces were employed to
protect the protesters rather than suppress them. on many occasions police were seen distributing bottles of water to protestors and even sometimes joining them on some of the chants. this dynamic between citizens and the security forces represents a paradigm shift that is representing of the new iraq. those who will still question whether iraq was better under saddam hussein should think back to how this henchman would have responded to even the suspicions . in that spirit let me address the first issue, development on our democratic political front. almost one year ago the prime minister took office after free elections and the peaceful transition of power.
with the support of the protestors, the initial approval of parliament and the backing of the government, the prime minister has both a democratic and public mandate to pursue reform that represents improved prospects for all iraqis of all walk of life. the government is streamlining itself, eliminating costly and ceremonial positions and secretarytarian portions. we are decentralizing decisionmaking to the provisional level so that local communities can determine their resources as they most need it. we also are addressing the fiscal crisis that was worsened by the bureaucratic -- bureaucracies and other alliance on our revenue. we are broadening the tax base
and investing in all our agriculture and housing sectors. just last week the cabinet approved a capital injection in these sectors worthy about $4.3 billion. now i need to dispel another myth that abolishing the secretarytarian systems will undermine the right of minorities. in fact, this is a coalition government representing every major sector, political faction, and ethnic religious communities within iraq. let's also not forget that we do not yet have any opposition party in the parliament. all parties are represented at the cabinet levels. let me be clear, national unity requires an effective as well as inclusive government. whatever the religious beliefs, whatever their ethnic
backgrounds, iraqis want an honest, effective, and law-abidinging government. -- law-abiding government. this aspiration we say is unifying and not divisive. in order to unify iraq, our government has set forth a framework for national reconciliation can. we seek comprehensive can and historic set manyment between every segment of our society in order to save our country from the prospects of civil war and partition. our form for reconciliation is built upon three pillars, the constitution, political agreements through the major political blocs supported by the prime minister, and finally the government's program that was approved by parliament. these are the basic principles. every steak holder in our
society must be committed to must al unity, everyone accept the results of democratic process. everyone must reject dictatorship. sectarianism, and use of violence as a means to extract political concessions. and everyone must respect each other and respect each other's basic human rights. iraqis also deserve and demand security forces that can protect our people from the -- as with our civilian government, our security forces must be cleansed of corruption while reflecting the populations they protect. just as there must be no more no-show employees on government payrolls, we also are working on no-show soldiers on our military
payroll. toward these goals the government is seeking to create a national guard, mandated by local citizens -- manned by local citizens defending their own communities. parliament is currently debating the draft, second reading, and third, as we speak. this process has been strenuous, rigor ds to undergo this of the democratic process if we are to stand the test of time. we are determined to train and quip -- equip more local people to protect themselves and their neighborhood. together these reforms will make our society more democratic, more stable, and more secure. emocracy enhances stability. and stability enhances security.
yes, there are those who say we must choose between democracy on one hand and stability and security on the other. but that is a false choice that we must move way beyond. this leads me to my second topic, development on the military and security front. the government of iraq is committed to taking back every inch on our territory and iberating every segment of our society. we are determined not to call this one extra second with dash, that's the determination of the people. we are conducting ongoing operations in anbar province around ramadi and fallujah. in coordination with the coalition forces and in coordination with all other kind of support we have been getting from our coalition partners.
and also we are working with our security forces and our kurdish peshmerga in a number of fronds. oilthe stark reality is low prices currently around $40, it is becoming increasingly difficult. this is why we continue to urge our coalition partners to increase their military assistance as a simple example when areas in the highly contested towns are retaken by our forces, they respond by deploying a wave of armament suicide trucks, bombs, to break down our defenses. just an example of, these bombs are something like 12 to 14 tons of explosives, every one of them. anti-mifflets are the most effective means of responding, but we are in short supply and
at times our troops are overrun by the sheer velocity of the counter attacks. while we have a long hard struggle ahead, we can be encouraged that towns are being liberated and many local residents feel safe enough to return to their homes. some 75,000 from tikrit have returned to their homes since we liberated it back in march. across iraq, almost 300,000 individuals in total have been able to a-- return to their homes when we are able to liberate them. however this only represents 10% of the 3.1 million individuals who have been displaced. the scale of this humanity tragedy should remind us of the daunting challenges that will
confront the iraqi government, including the kurdish region as we defeat dayish -- da' ish, and that leads me to my third point, the challenge under the regional and international front. iraq is on the forefront of the struggle in the fight against da' ish but as u.n. security council resolutions 2170 and 2199 recognize they are a global network with global finances and global recruitment. . these terrorists threaten every country in the middle east, around the world and therefore all the countries in the region have a binding commitment and the chapter seven of the united nations charter to do their part to defeat da'ish. it's a very positive development that
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