Senate to Consider Measures That Will Impact Our Presence and Influence in Iran
‘Defensive military deployments will help us protect American interests in the region and deter Iranian aggression. I encourage the administration to continue working closely with our partners across the globe to encourage Iran’s leaders to cease their aggression. And I hope Iran’s leaders will listen to the demands of their people, who continue to protest against the stifling authoritarianism of the Islamic Republic, for a better, more prosperous, more peaceful life.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the growing threat of Iranian aggression:
“For years, American administrations of both parties have properly labeled Iran as the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism. This assessment is based on the cold, hard facts of Tehran’s behavior. Iran’s support for terrorism knows few bounds, sectarian or geographic. Iran has provided support to Sunni, Shi’a, and secular terrorists. It has conducted or sponsored attacks around the world, including a plot in Washington D.C. during the Obama Administration to blow up a local restaurant and kill the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.
“And we know Tehran is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan – Americans murdered by Iran’s proxies. So while it should be shocking that Iran is now conducting more attacks against civilian shipping vessels in international waters, unfortunately, it really isn’t all that shocking. This is the kind of behavior we’ve witnessed over the years. Until recently, the United States spent years failing to hold Iran sufficiently accountable for its terrorism, proxies, and ‘grey zone’ tactics. Tehran was emboldened to tread all over international law.
“Now, things are different, and Iran’s corrupt, moribund economy is feeling the pressure of U.S. sanctions. So it is not surprising that the Mullahs now resort to their favorite tool — violence. The president has said he does not seek conflict with Iran. Neither does the Senate. Nevertheless, the risks of a conflict are real. But make no mistake: they are being driven by Tehran’s decisions to resort to violence. And that includes what the Secretary of State has described as a ‘blatant assault’ on international shipping, threatening the freedom of navigation in international waters.
“Tehran must not be rewarded for terror and intimidation. The United States and our partners need to stand firm and apply concerted, coordinated diplomatic and economic pressure until Tehran changes its behavior. Acting Secretary Shanahan, at the request of his military commanders, has ordered additional forces to the Middle East for purposes of defense and deterrence. As he made clear when announcing this deployment, the United States does not seek conflict with Iran.
“I support these prudent efforts to respond to Iranian intimidation. Defensive military deployments will help us protect American interests in the region and deter Iranian aggression. I encourage the administration to continue working closely with our partners across the globe to encourage Iran’s leaders to cease their aggression. And I hope Iran’s leaders will listen to the demands of their people, who continue to protest against the stifling authoritarianism of the Islamic Republic, for a better, more prosperous, more peaceful life.
“I also appreciate the administration’s effort to keep Congress apprised of the latest intelligence, deployments, and diplomatic efforts. I understand committee staff received a classified briefing yesterday, and I look forward to hearing from the State Department’s top career diplomat at the Republican lunch today. I hope my colleagues across the aisle rethink their decision to turn down his offer to brief them.
“And I understand the administration will be sending up interagency teams this week to brief the oversight committees in a classified setting as well. For our part, the Senate will consider several measures in the coming days that will directly impact our presence and influence in this troubled region, including arms sales to key regional partners and the NDAA. I urge every one of my colleagues to keep these deadly serious developments at the top of our minds as we attend to our business in the days ahead.”
Related Issues: America's Military, Iran