ICYMI: Inhofe Gives Six Reasons Members Of Congress Should Oppose President’s Deal With Iran

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday evening addressing his disapproval of the president’s deal with Iran and delivering six reason why members of Congress should oppose it:

ICYMIClick here to watch the video

Below is an unofficial transcript of  Inhofe’s speech:

Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, it has been a long day. We have heard about everything that can be heard from a lot of different people, and I have come to some conclusions that there are some things that are incontrovertible after hearing both sides of the debate all day long. There are six things we should be looking at. I will quickly summarize these. I think it is kind of a good wrap up.

There are six things. First of all, this deal rewards and legitimizes Iran for violating international laws and treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions. I say it rewards and legitimizes.

The second thing it does is it rewards Iran with $100 billion dollars. You heard it today. That could be a floating figure. We are not sure just how much it is, but we do know this: what they do with their money is to expand their influence with terrorist organizations.

The third thing is it places the Middle East on the brink of a new arms race. This is something we have heard from others for quite some time, and now we already have some countries coming forward with what their intentions are.

The fourth thing is it fails to dismantle Iran's enrichment infrastructure. That has been stated by a lot of people. No one really is denying that.

And fifth, it places no restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program. You have to keep in mind we have been talking about bombs all day, but you have to deliver the bombs to make them effective. That is when the missile program comes into play.

And sixth--and I think it is most important--there is, in my opinion, no verification at all.

I would like to summarize all of that real quickly. In speaking about the fact that the agreement rewards and legitimizes Iran's violations, keep in mind they have violated almost every international law or treaty or United Nations Security Council resolution. The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, for developing nuclear weapons--they have violated that. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has to do with the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, freedom from discrimination, and freedom from torture--they have violated that. The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages--several people have mentioned today--I think the junior Senator from Georgia asked: What about the four hostages who are over there?

I would carry that one step further. One of the hostages is an FBI agent named Robert Levinson. Robert Levinson now holds the record of having been held hostage longer than anyone else in history, and he is still there. He is still there at a time we are in this process.

The U.N. security resolutions on access to nuclear facilities--they have violated that. I think everyone knows that.

Iran has shown from time to time they can't be trusted. The Director General of the IAEA has said Iran has consistently failed to provide information or access needed to allay the IAEA's concerns about the weapons potential.

So that is the first thing. The second thing is rewarding the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. The United States does not normally negotiate with terrorists. This is something I have heard for many, many years, as long as I have been here, until now. Iran remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, as we have heard all day today.

According to the State Department's ``2009 Country Reports on Terrorism,'' they have provided training and weapons to the Taliban fighting our forces in Afghanistan. Iranian IEDs have killed U.S. troops in Iraq. They have paid the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops. Iran supports Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Assad in Syria.

I had occasion to be in the Persian Gulf on the USS Carl Vinson just a few weeks ago. It was during the negotiations. There I was in the Persian Gulf at the same time an Iranian ship was taking weapons down to Yemen to kill Americans. That was while we were negotiating.

Iran is bankrolling the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrians and has publicly committed to the annihilation of the State of Israel and has called for ``Death to America'' while we are in the middle of negotiations.

General Austin, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, made the statement--and I was there when he made this statement--that ``Iran represents the most significant threat to the central region ..... Iran continues to pursue policies that threaten U.S. strategic interests and goals throughout the Middle East.''

As was stated by my good friend before me, even Susan Rice, who would do almost anything the President asks, has said we can expect some of this money--this $100 billion dollars or whatever the amount ends up being--is going to be used to fortify their terrorist friends. So we can only conclude the financial windfall estimated to be over $100 billion will be used to fortify more terrorism.

The third point I think was made today is--and these are the six I think have become incontrovertible--this agreement places the Middle East on the brink of a new arms race.

Dr. Kissinger, who testified before our committee--the Armed Services Committee just the other day--when testifying regarding the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, said, ``The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.''

We all recall last month, when Prime Minister Netanyahu warned us and said, ``The deal that was supposed to end nuclear proliferation will actually trigger nuclear proliferation. It will trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.''

Saudi Arabia has been talking recently about possibly being the first to jump in there on this new program, so we can expect that to happen. We know it is going to happen.

The fourth thing is, the agreement fails to dismantle Iran's enrichment infrastructure. I think that has been driven home by many people here. And it permits Iran to retain its enrichment infrastructure, including advanced centrifuges and continued development of its enrichment technology. That is something that is now pretty much agreed to.

Fifth, and next to last, is it places no restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile development. People have not talked much on the floor about this fact. They have talked about the bomb, but there has to be a delivery system before the bomb can be effective.

I can remember in 2007 that our unclassified intelligence report said that by 2015 Iran would have the bomb and a delivery system. Well, here it is 2015, and they weren't that far off. So we know what the capability is out there, what they are planning on doing, and the U.S. intelligence assesses--this is the quote and this is very significant--``that Iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and that Iran's program on space launch vehicles improves Tehran's ability to develop longer range missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).''

What no one has mentioned on this thing is we made an arrangement in the previous administration knowing that Iran was going to have this capability. We have some 30 ground-based interceptors, but they are all on the West Coast, because we thought that was where it was going to have to come from. But guess what. All of a sudden Iran is going to be coming from the other direction. Well, the first thing this President did when he took office was to do away with our commitment.

We had an arrangement with the Czech Republic to have a ground-based interceptor there. I remember so well that one of the best friends we have over there made the statement: Are you sure if we enrage Russia by having this system that you are not going to pull the rug out from under us?

I said: Absolutely.

That was Vaclav Klaus, one of our best friends over there.

I said: Absolutely.

Of course, that is what the President did. Now we have that same problem with the delivery system.

The last thing I think is most important--and I may be the only Member of the Senate who believes this, but I look at this and I go back home. A lot of times you don't find the wisdom here in Washington; you have to go back home. Certainly over this past month, being around my State of Oklahoma, people have asked the question: Well, wait a minute, if they have all this time once accused of something or if the IAEA should say ``We believe they are making a bomb in a certain location''--once they do that, if they have the ability under this deal to delay that not just 24 hours, not just 24 days, but they can go on and delay it for two additional periods by applying to the joint commission for 15 days and then the Minister of Foreign Affairs for 15 days--that is 54 days. I suggest we stop and think about that. If we know somebody has something, but they have 54 days to either destroy it or hide it or put it someplace else, they are going to do it.

So my people in Oklahoma say there just isn't any kind of verification. And we all remember what Ronald Reagan said: ``Trust, but verify.''

These pages are too young to remember what happened with the Soviet Union and all those problems, but clearly that was the major concern at that time. So this is the situation that was pointed out way back during the joint presentation of the House and the Senate by Netanyahu. If he would just change his registration, I would love it if he would run for President of the United States. He is the kind of guy we need. He made the statement at that time that no deal is going to be better than the bad deal that is on the table. I believe that is true.

I had occasion to publish an op-ed last week in the Wall Street Journal urging States to hold fast to their sanctions on Iran. Even if they consider strengthening and expanding those sanctions, here is the thing people don't understand. The reason the President gets by with not calling this a treaty that would have to be confirmed and verified by this body is that it is dealing with the States and not the Federal Government. So my hope is that many other States will be doing what we are doing in the State of Oklahoma and holding on to our sanctions and not releasing any of them. I think that could certainly be, if this thing becomes a reality, one of the few things we can do.

I will end with a quote from then President Bill Clinton in 1994. I remember this because I was there, and I heard him make this statement. After the deal with North Korea, this is what he said:

This is a good deal for the United States. North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons. The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments.

Two decades later, the Defense Intelligence Agency announced that it had ``moderate confidence'' that North Korea has a nuclear weapon small enough to be placed on a ballistic missile.

So that is what is going on. In today's New York Times--I don't know how anyone can take them seriously when we have the guy who is the real boss over there--the Ayatollah Khamenei, talking about Israel, said: I'm telling you first, you will not be around in 25 years. We will annihilate you in that period of time. Then he talked about the United States. He said: Iranians must not forget the United States is the Great Satan. Ayatollah Khamenei warned, criticizing those calling for better relations, wanting to show this Satan as an angel, but the Iranian nation has pushed this Satan out. We should not allow it to sneak back in through the window.

These are the guys we are negotiating with. With that, I would say this is not a treaty, it is not a deal, it is surrender.

I yield the floor.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.

###

Mr. President, it has been a long day. We have heard about everything that can be heard from a lot of different people, and I have come to some conclusions that there are some things that are incontrovertible after hearing both sides debate all day long. There are six things we should be looking at. I will real quickly summarize these. I think it is kind of a good wrap up.

 

First of all, this deal rewards and legitimizes Iran for violating international laws and treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions. I said - rewards and legitimizes.

The second thing it does is it rewards Iran with $100 billion dollars. You heard it today. That could be a floating figure. We are not sure just how much it is, but we do know this: what they do with their money is to expand their influence with terrorist organizations.

 

The third thing is it places the Middle East on the brink of a new arms race. This is something we have heard from others for quite some time, and now we already have some countries coming forward with what their intentions are.

 

The fourth thing is it fails to dismantle Iran's enrichment infrastructure. That has been stated by a lot of people. No one really is denying that.

 

And fifth, it places no restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program. You have to keep in mind we have been talking about bombs all day, but you have to deliver the bombs to make them effective. That is when the missile program comes into play.

 

And sixth--and I think it is most important--there is, in my opinion, no verification at all.

 

I would like to summarize that real quickly. In speaking about the fact that the agreement rewards and legitimizes Iran's violations - keep in mind they have violated almost every international law or treaty or United Nations Security Council resolution. The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons for Developing Nuclear Weapons--they have violated that. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has to do with the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion, freedom from discrimination, and freedom from torture--they have violated that. The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages--several people have mentioned today--I think the junior Senator from Georgia asked: What about the four hostages who are over there?

 

I would carry that one step further. One of the hostages is an FBI agent named Robert Levinson. Robert Levinson now holds the record of having been held hostage longer than anyone else in history, and he is still there. He is still there at a time we are in this process.

 

The U.N. Security Resolutions on access to nuclear facilities--they have violated that. I think everyone knows that.

Iran has shown from time to time they can't be trusted. The Director General of the IAEA has said Iran has consistently failed to provide information or access needed to allay the IAEA's concerns about weapons potential.

So that is the first thing.

 

The second thing is rewarding the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. The United States does not normally negotiate with terrorists. This is something I have heard for many, many years, as long as I have been here, until now. Iran remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, as we have heard it all day today.

 

According to the State Department's ``2009 Country Reports on Terrorism,'' they have provided training and weapons to the Taliban fighting our forces in Afghanistan. Iranian IEDs have killed U.S. troops in Iraq. They have paid the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops. Iran supports Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Assad in Syria.

 

I had occasion to be in the Persian Gulf on the USS Carl Vinson just a few weeks ago. It was during the negotiations. There I was in the Persian Gulf at the same time the Iranian ship was taking weapons down to Yemen to kill Americans. That was while we were negotiating.

 

Iran is bankrolling the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrians and publicly committing to the annihilation of the State of Israel and has called for ``Death for America, Death for America" while we are in the middle of negotiations.

 

General Austin, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, made the statement--and I was there when he made this statement--that ``Iran represents the most significant threat to the central region ..... Iran continues to pursue policies that threaten U.S. strategic interests and goals throughout the Middle East.''

 

As was stated by my good friend before me, even Susan Rice, who would do almost anything that the President asks, has said we can expect some of this money--this $100 billion dollars or whatever the amount ends up being--is going to be used to fortify their terrorist friends. So we can only conclude the financial windfall estimated to be over $100 billion will be used to fortify more terrorism.

 

The third thing I think was made today is--and these are the six I think have become incontrovertible— and that is this agreement places the Middle East on the brink of a new arms race.

 

Dr. Kissinger, who testified before our committee--the Armed Services Committee just the other day--when testifying regarding the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, he said, ``The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.''

 

We recall last month, when Prime Minister Netanyahu warned us and said, ``The deal that was supposed to end nuclear proliferation will actually trigger nuclear proliferation. It will trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.''

 

Saudi Arabia has been talking recently about possibly being the first to jump in there on this new program, so we can expect it to happen. We know it is going to happen.

 

The fourth thing is, the agreement fails to dismantle Iran's enrichment infrastructure. I think that has been driven home by many people here. It permits Iran to retain its enrichment infrastructure, including advanced centrifuges and continued development of its enrichment technology. That is something that is now pretty much agreed to.

 

Fifth, and next to last, is it places no restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile development. People have not talked much on the floor about this fact. They talk about the bomb, but there has to be a delivery system before the bomb can be effective.

 

I can remember in 2007, our unclassified intelligence report said that by 2015 Iran would have the bomb and a delivery system. Well, here it is 2015, and they weren't that far off. So we know what the capability is out there, what they are planning on doing, and the U.S. intelligence assesses--this is the quote and this is very significant--``that Iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and that Iran's program on space launch vehicles improves Tehran's ability to develop longer range missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).''

 

What no one has mentioned on this thing is we made an arrangement in the previous administration knowing that Iran was going to have this capability. We have some 30 ground-based interceptors, but they are all on the West Coast, because we thought that was where it was going to have to come from. But guess what. All of a sudden Iran is going to be coming from the other direction. Well, the first thing this President did when he took office, Obama did away with our commitment.

 

We had an arrangement with the Czech Republic to have a ground-based interceptor there. I remember so well that one of the best friends we have over there made the statement: Are you sure if we enrage Russia by having this system that you are not going to pull the rug out from under us?

I said: Absolutely.

That was Vaclav Klaus, one of our best friends over there.

I said: Absolutely.

 

Of course, that is what the President did. Now we have that same problem with the delivery system.

 

The last thing I think is most important--and I may be the only member of the Senate who believes this, but I look at this and I go back home. A lot of times you don't find the wisdom here in Washington; you have to go back home. Certainly over this past month, being around my State of Oklahoma, people have asked the question: Well, wait a minute, if they have all this time once accused of something or if the IAEA should say ``We believe they are making a bomb in a certain location''--once they do that, if they have the ability under this deal to delay that not just 24 hours, not just 24 days, but they can go on and delay it for two additional periods by applying to the joint commission for 15 days and then the Minister of Foreign Affairs for 15 days--that is 54 days. I suggest we stop and think about that. If we know somebody has something, but they have 54 days to either destroy it or hide it or put it someplace else, they are going to do it.

 

So my people in Oklahoma say there just isn't any kind of verification. And we all remember what Ronald Reagan said: ``Trust, but verify.''

 

These pages are too young to remember what happened with the Soviet Union and all those problems, but clearly that was the major concern at that time. So this is the situation that was pointed out way back during the joint presentation of the House and the Senate by Netanyahu. If he would just change his registration, I would love it if he would run for President of the United States. He is the kind of guy we need. He made the statement at that time that no deal is going to be better than the bad deal that is on the table. I believe that is true.

 

I had occasion to publish an op-ed last week in the Wall Street Journal urging States to hold fast to their sanctions on Iran. Even if they consider strengthening and expanding those sanctions, here is the thing people don't understand. The reason the President gets by with not calling this a treaty that would have to be confirmed and verified by this body is that it is dealing with the States and not the Federal Government. So my hope is that many other States will be doing what we are doing in the State of Oklahoma and holding on to our sanctions and not releasing any of them. I think that could certainly be, if this thing becomes a reality, one of the few things we can do.

 

I will end with a quote from then President Bill Clinton in 1994. I remember this because I was there, and I heard him make this statement. After the deal with North Korea, this is what he said:

"This is a good deal for the United States. North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons. The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments."

 

Two decades later, the Defense Intelligence Agency announced that it had ``moderate confidence'' that North Korea has a nuclear weapon small enough to be placed on a ballistic missile.

 

So that is what is going on. In today's New York Times--I don't know how anyone can take them seriously when we have the guy who is the real boss over there--the Ayatollah Khamenei, talking about Israel, said: "I'm telling you first, you will not be around in 25 years. We will annihilate you in that period of time." Then he talked about the United States. He said: "Iranians must not forget the United States is the Great Satan." Ayatollah Khamenei warned, criticizing those calling for better relations, wanting to show this Satan as an angel, but the Iranian nation has pushed this Satan out. We should not allow it to sneak back in through the window.

 

These are the guys we are negotiating with. With that, I would say this is not a treaty, it is not a deal, it is surrender.