WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor in support of the Conference Report on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which passed the House today. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Every one of us understands the deep danger of a nuclear Iran. That danger includes a new nuclear arms race, as Iran’s regional rivals scramble to build competing arsenals, plunging the world into a new era of proliferation. The danger includes, as well, a ‘nuclear umbrella’ for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah to stage more brazen and deadly attacks, especially on our ally Israel. And the danger includes, on a more basic level, a new era of fear for all those in range of Iran’s missiles.
“All of those consequences will be felt even if Iran’s missiles remained on the launch pad, or if its nuclear weapons remained buried. Could we imagine those weapons being used? We would be foolish not to, as long as those weapons are in the hands of a regime whose president denies the Holocaust, stokes hatred, and openly threatens neighbors.
“Even so, our administration has pursued a dual-track strategy with respect to Iran. On the one side is the administration’s policy of engagement. This engagement reversed years of diplomatic silence during which Iran’s nuclear program grew. It showed the world our patience, tested Iran's willingness to negotiate in good faith, and built international support for sanctions.
“Sadly, the time limit for engagement has come and gone. It is time to pursue the second prong of the dual-track strategy: pressure. The International Atomic Energy Agency tells us that Iran has enough low enriched uranium for two bombs; Iran has attempted to hide nuclear facilities and refused to cooperate with the demands of the IAEA and the UN Security Council to suspend enrichment. Let’s be clear: Iran is blatantly defying the will of the international community, and this is absolutely unacceptable. That is why this is the right time to bring strong economic pressure to bear on the Iranian regime.
“This bill was designed by Chairman Berman and his committee to target Iran’s economy at one of its weakest points—by penalizing companies that help Iran import or produce refined petroleum products. These sanctions send a forcefully clear message to Iran about the growing costs of its self-imposed isolation. They build on the ones recently approved by the Security Council, on the European Council’s declaration last week, and on the actions the Administration took to sanction new entities, tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian shipping and financial sectors, last week. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have worked hard to convince the international community, including China and Russia, that the danger posed by Iran is a common danger. And these international sanctions are the result.
“Put together, what we are doing represents unprecedented pressure on this irresponsible regime. I commend the Administration for its focus and dedication to this critical national security threat. I will vote for these sanctions in the hope that, if the international community continues to join us in our resolve, Iran's leaders will realize that the costs of their nuclear pursuit are too heavy to bear. I urge my colleagues to support this critical national security legislation.”