Bipartisan Senate Iran Bill Provides an Opportunity to Review the Interim Nuclear Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today emphasizing the importance of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act:

“The Senate will soon resume consideration of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. I expect we’ll consider several amendments today, and I continue to encourage Senators to come to the floor and offer them.

“The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act is bipartisan legislation that will ensure Congress and the American people have a chance to review any comprehensive agreement reached with Iran; and it ensures they’ll be able to do so before congressional sanctions are lifted.

“Here’s why that’s critical.

“First, these sanctions are a big reason why America was able to even bring Iran to the table in the first place. We shouldn’t be giving up that leverage now without the American people, through the members of Congress they elect, having a chance to weigh in.

“Second, Iran wouldn’t just use the funds derived from sanctions relief to rebuild its economy — it’s certain to use that money to fund proxy forces such as Hezbollah and to prop up the Assad regime.

“What’s clear is that Iran is determined to use every tool at its disposal to aggressively expand its sphere of influence across the greater Middle East.

“The regime’s belligerent behavior in the Strait of Hormuz was another reminder of that fact. But it reminds us of something else too: our need to invest in the naval and seaborne expeditionary capabilities in the Persian Gulf that will be necessary not just to retain dominance at sea, but to contain Iran's military and irregular forces too.

“Today though, we’re focused on one point above all else: that the American people and Congress deserve a say before any congressional sanctions are lifted.

“At the very least, sanctions certainly should not be lifted before the Iranians fully disclose all aspects of research and development as it relates to the potential military dimensions of their nuclear program.

“And yet, the current interim agreement, as it’s been explained to Congress, would bestow international recognition to Iran’s research and development program, along with international blessing for Iran to become a ‘nuclear threshold’ state, poised at the edge of developing a nuclear weapon. It’s frightening to think what Iran might be able to achieve covertly in that context.

“To a lot of Americans, this all sounds quite different from what they were led to believe a deal with Iran would actually be about: preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and dismantling Iran’s enrichment capability.

“So the American people deserve a say through their members of Congress. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act will ensure Congress gets a vote to either approve or disapprove of the comprehensive agreement.

“Just as President Obama's successor will need to modernize our military to deal with the challenges posed by Iran’s aggression, so too will the President's successor want to consider Congress’ view of any comprehensive deal. And a failed resolution of approval — as the bill before us would permit — would send an unmistakable signal about congressional opposition to lifting sanctions.  

“So now is the time for Congress to invest in the capabilities President Obama’s successor may need to use to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program if the Iranians covertly pursue a weapon, or violate the terms of the ultimate agreement.

“And now is the time for Congress to pass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.”

Related Issues: Iran, Iran Nuclear Deal