Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor today calling upon her colleagues to support the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“I thank the gentleman for yielding. And I thank you for your leadership as the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to reiterate my strong belief that one of the basic objectives of U.S. foreign policy is to build a world free of nuclear weapons. I applauded President Jimmy Carter on his inauguration in 1977, on a cold January day. I saluted President Reagan when he made his visit to Reykjavik, Iceland and the commitment that all the many of our Presidents have made, including President Obama on this score. And one of the pillars of our foreign policy must be to end the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, to get rid of them.
“To meet that task today, our actions must be clear and our commitment must be unwavering. It must be to continue this policy of the United States to prevent any country from developing a nuclear weapons capability. That’s why I offer my support for this bill today, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act. This legislation recognizes that an Iran with a nuclear weapon would be an urgent threat to regional security, and to global security, and therefore, to the security of the United States of America.
“This measure builds on progress made in 2010 when we enacted the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Investment Act. That law imposed sanctions to companies that sell Iran technology services and know-how and materials for its energy sector. It was the strongest Iran sanctions legislation ever to pass by the Congress. But we must do more.
“With President Obama’s strong, clear, and effective leadership, with broad bipartisan backing for a comprehensive strategy to halt Iran’s nuclear program, we are seeing the results of the actions we have taken. More and more, Iran is being cut off from the financial system: Iran’s oil is coming off the market; Iran’s partners are cutting off ties of trade, business, and commerce. That’s the way I think we should get this done: with economic sanctions. In short, Iran is feeling the bite of our sanctions, but we must keep the pressure on.
“Iran’s nuclear pursuits continue. Iran’s leaders refuse to change their approach in their policy. Iran’s neighbors still feel the threat of the regime’s declarations and actions. So our message must remain firm: Iran must suspend uranium enrichment, return to the negotiation table, and abandon its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“Now, I appreciate and have listened carefully and have the highest respect for the gentlemen, Mr. McGovern, and others who support the resolution, Mr. Ellison, who are posing the resolution have a different idea. And I think as we weigh the equities, as I say, with all due respect to that approach, which I think is a reasonable one if we were dealing with a reasonable country with a reasonable leadership, but we are not.
“I know that the proximity to Israel is a cause for concern for Israel, our partner in the Middle East, and concern for those of us who value the Israel-US relationship. But this is not. Israel has proximity, but we all have the problem. We all have the problem. If Iran were to go farther in the development of a nuclear weapon, who else would want one in the region? What message does that send about our resolve to arrive at a world free of nuclear weapons?
“So in any way, I hope that as our colleagues say that ‘the new regime is going to do all these things’ – I happen to think that no matter who is in power in Iran, that probably would not abandon the nuclear program calling it one for domestic and for civilian use, that may be true and I hope it is. But I do think it is really important for us because we have to make this opportunity. I hope that all of the inauguration and the new President, with talks with the U.S. and European allies and all of the rest can bear fruit.
“We can only hope those reports prove true. We hope that progress is made toward an agreement that puts an end to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and advances the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and around the world. Until that day comes, the Congress must continue to apply pressure. We must pursue all avenues of diplomacy and international leadership. Again, what are the pillars of our foreign policy? To protect and promote our economy, creation of jobs by promoting exports – that’s on the economic side – export our values, a commitment to freedom [and] democracy throughout the world. And what does that mean? To protect the American people, our national security – an important part of that pillar of foreign policy is to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. And make sure we are not adding countries to that club.
“And so for that reason, we must pursue, we must prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Let’s do it diplomatically. Let’s do it with economic sanctions. Let’s do it by encouraging dialogue, engagement, and the rest. But let’s do that engagement from strength. I urge a ‘yes’ vote on the resolution.”