Hoyer Statement in Support of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act

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“First I want to rise and thank Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for her continuing leadership and focus on this important issue, as she does on so many other issues as well.

“Mr. Speaker, let me thank my friend, the Gentleman from California and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Berman. His leadership on this issue in Congress is second to none, and I commend him for his work.

“This is a bill I expect will pass with overwhelming support from both parties and for good reason. Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.

“America's policy, as President Obama has stated, is prevention, not containment. We have many tools at our disposal to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons technology.

“While President Obama is keeping all options on the table, the best diplomatic tool we have to deter Iran is the sanctions regime his administration has expanded along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere. These sanctions have already had a significant effect, and Iran continues to face the prospect of severe economic repercussions if they fail to abandon their nuclear weapons plan.

“President Obama deserves credit for his tough stances. The new sanctions this legislation would impose target entities conducting business with Iran's insurance, energy, and shipping sectors. As a result of prohibitions on repatriating oil revenues, these sanctions would deny Iran 80% of its hard currency earnings. Iran's banking sector, including its Central Bank, is already sanctioned, a result of the Iranian government's financial support for terrorism in the region and around the world.

“There is no better evidence why this bill is so important than the fact that, two weeks ago, a terrorist attack in Bulgaria killed six innocent civilians, five of them vacationing Israelis. There have been numerous press reports linking Iran to that attack.

“As long as Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons, call for the destruction of Israel, and provide arms to terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, it will face the consequences in the form of sanctions, isolation, and the continuing reality of the option of military action.

“The United States continues to stand strongly with our ally, Israel, and I am proud to have led an effort earlier this year with the Majority Leader to strengthen U.S.-Israel military and intelligence relations. I urge all of my colleagues to unite behind this bill just as we have behind that one.

“Nuclear armed Iran is not an option – for the Middle East, for the international community, and for the United States.”