“American Strength Is Not the Provocation. American Weakness Is.”

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Iran:

“American strength is not a provocation.

“American strength secures deterrence and peace. It is American hesitancy and weakness which our adversaries see as an invitation.

“It’s a simple fact. We have re-learned it the hard way many times in our history. It should form the cornerstone of any Administration’s foreign policy.

“But every day brings new distressing signs that the Biden Administration forgets this lesson.

“President Biden hesitated and waited to reinforce our NATO allies with more American troops out of fears that it might provoke Putin.

“President Biden hesitated and waited to send Stingers to the Ukrainians out of fears that it might provoke Putin.

“President Biden declined to send support and training to Ukraine in December because he feared it might provoke Putin. Here’s a headline from earlier this week: ‘Pentagon push to send more trainers to Ukraine was scrapped in December amid White House fears of provoking Russia.’

“Last week, President Biden publicly split from our ally Poland and scrapped a plan to get airplanes to Ukraine — because our Administration feared it might provoke Putin.

“Predictably, Putin has not pulled his punches as a thank-you to President Biden for pulling his.

“American strength is not the provocation. American weakness is.

“We need to help get air defense systems to Ukraine without wasting another second.

“But meanwhile, the Biden Administration is already replaying this mistaken philosophy with another adversary.

“Iran watched our humiliating botched retreat in Afghanistan.

“They’ve watched the Biden Administration squabble with our Middle Eastern partners while removing sanctions from Iran’s own terrorist proxies in Yemen.

“The Iranians have taken the measure of this Administration.

“This weekend, even as the Biden Administration is reportedly putting the finishing touches on an agreement deal that would massively favor Iran over America, they unleashed an audacious missile strike into the Kurdistan region of Iraq that came close to hitting our U.S. consulate.

“How will our Commander-in-Chief respond? The record is not encouraging. Deterrence of Iran has steadily eroded under his tenure. The worse the Iranians behave, the more desperate the Biden Administration seems to be to give them concessions.

“Judging by public reports, the deal that President Biden is preparing would impose fewer, weaker, and shorter restrictions on Iran than even the deeply flawed 2015 deal, while giving them major and lasting relief from sanctions.

“The deal would reportedly not even touch Iran’s ballistic missile program.

“So Iran lobs missiles toward our facilities; and we give Iran a huge influx of cash and a relaxation of pressure.

“Iran clearly does not fear they will pay a price for threatening American interests. They must be made to think again.

“Yesterday, Senate Republicans sent the Administration a letter expressing our grave concerns they’re preparing to give away the store.

“Republicans stand ready to work together on a real, tough agreement that blocks Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, constrains its missile programs, and confronts its support for terrorism.

“But if the Administration continues down the path they’re on, they will find the stiff opposition that path deserves.”