McConnell Amendment Would Link Lifting Sanctions to Iran’s Recognition of Israel, Release of American Prisoners
‘I will file on an amendment that would prevent the President from lifting sanctions until Iran meets two simple benchmarks: It must formally recognize Israel’s right to exist, and it must release the American citizens being held in Iranian custody.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today outlining what is next in the Senate regarding the President’s deal with Iran:
“This evening, Senate Democrats will have one more opportunity to do the right thing and end their blockade of a vote on the President’s deal with Iran.
“We know that a strong, bipartisan majority of the Senate would vote to reject it.
“But Democratic leaders are determined to do anything they can to prevent that vote from happening, because Democrats know the deal is indefensible on the merits.
“The President’s Iran deal would allow the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism:
“To retain thousands of centrifuges, to enrich uranium, to conduct a research and development program for advanced centrifuges, and to reap a multi-billion dollar cash windfall, which would help it fund terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
“Here’s what Iran’s defense minister said just last week:
I officially declare that under no circumstances will we refrain from providing material and moral support to Hezbollah, or to any group of the resistance to the U.S. and Israel. We say this loud and clear.
“In other words, President Obama’s Iran deal would likely entrench Iran’s nuclear capabilities, essentially help subsidize terrorism, and threaten Israel — for what?
“It’s not as if the Iranian regime is about to change its behavior.
“The Supreme Leader crows that change ‘will never happen’ as he rails against the Great Satan — us — and promises Israel’s demise.
“The scary thing is that he’s serious.
“The scarier thing is that the President’s deal could empower his regime.
"This is gravely serious. The American people deserve to know where their respective Senators stand on the President’s deal.
“Democrats seem to think they can end the discussion by blocking an up-or-down vote, then turn around and pretend they care deeply about Israel and human rights.
“Well if they vote again to deny the American people a final vote, they’ll have a chance to test the theory.
“I will file on an amendment that would prevent the President from lifting sanctions until Iran meets two simple benchmarks: It must formally recognize Israel’s right to exist, and it must release the American citizens being held in Iranian custody.
“The President has so far resisted linking his deal — a deal that fails to end Iran’s enrichment program, while leaving it as an American-recognized nuclear threshold state — to other aspects of Iran’s conduct. But linkage is appropriate, and in this negotiation would have been wise.
“Indeed, Senators say they understand the importance of standing up for an ally like Israel in a dangerous region, and the Senate voted unanimously just a few months ago in calling for Iranian leaders to release those Americans.
“Here’s what one American prisoner wrote earlier this year:
“My strong preference is for Democrats to simply allow an up-or-down vote on the President’s Iran deal.
“But if they’re determined to make that impossible, then at the very least we should be able to provide some protection to Israel and long-overdue relief to Americans who’ve languished in Iranian custody for years.
“Either way, this debate will continue.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Iran, Iran Nuclear Deal, Israel