Obama Administration Carries Burden of Proof on Iran Nuclear Debate

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran:

“I’ve said that the Senate intends to thoroughly review the White House’s deal with Iran, and then take a vote on it under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

“This is a review process that will allow us to determine whether the administration complied with the law and delivered the complete agreement, and it's a review process that continues today.

“We’ll have an all-senators’ briefing later this afternoon to get a more detailed analysis of the agreement. It will be a time for senators to ask questions and get a stronger sense of whether this deal can be verified. I know many are eager to do so. Senators from both sides of the aisle have questions for the Obama Administration.

“Then, tomorrow, Secretaries Kerry, Lew, and Moniz will come to the Senate to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee. I know they’re expecting a lot of serious, thoughtful questions, including from members of their own party — and they should.

“Because the onus is on any Administration to explain why a deal like this one is a good one for our country. It's always the Administration, not Congress, that carries the burden of proof in a debate of this nature. And it seems the Administration today has a long way to go with Democrats and Republicans alike.

“For instance, many members in both parties — including Democratic leadership in Congress — warned the Administration not to have the UN vote on this agreement before the American people and the Congress they elected had a chance to weigh in first. There was no reason to seek UN approval first, but the Administration ignored Democrats and ignored Republicans and did so anyway: why?

“They need to explain.

“Is this deal really about keeping America, the region, and the world safer, or is it simply a compendium of whatever Iran will allow — an agreement struck to temporarily take a difficult strategic threat off the table, but one that might actually empower the Iranian regime and make war more likely?

“They need to explain this too.

“Because Iranian leaders, including the foreign minister, have hailed this deal as a victory over America. The Supreme Leader even boasted that ‘our policies toward the arrogant U.S. government will not change’ to chants of ‘Death to America’ from the crowd below. Even Secretary Kerry was taken aback by the response from Iran.

“We know this isn’t about playing to some electorate in Iran, because the Islamic republic isn’t truly a republic – and the unelected Supreme Leader has no electorate to report to. So we need to move beyond the rhetoric – including that the choice here is between a bad deal and war, which no serious person truly believes – and get to real answers instead. Our committees will hold hearings, they’ll begin to shine a light on this agreement, and they’ll aim toward getting the American people more of the answers they deserve.

“Tomorrow’s hearing will be important, but it’s not the end of this process – it’s just the beginning.

“We’ll have more hearings.

“We’ll interview more witnesses.

“We’ll continue endeavoring to answer the question of whether will this deal will enhance or harm our national security, and then we’ll take a vote on it on behalf of the American people.”

Related Issues: Iran, Iran Nuclear Deal