Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this evening in support of H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act. Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank the Gentleman for yielding. And I rise in support of this legislation. But [I] also thank my friend, Keith Ellison, for his perspective on this, and I want to speak to that, as well. I want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for their leadership on this bill.
“I believe the most dangerous threat to peace and stability in the Middle East continues to be that posed by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons – which would launch this turbulent region into a nuclear arms race that no one can afford to risk, including our troops in the region. Time and again, Security Council resolutions after Security Council resolutions, Iran has refused to heed the international community's warnings and has instead continued along a path toward the bomb, choosing isolation over integration.
“We are here today to talk about how to stop Iran's pursuit. As a government, we have many tools to use. Diplomacy is one, and diplomacy must continue. Indeed, many feel the time is ripe to test President-Elect's Rouhani's sincerity, and I agree. But he must expect us to turn his positive talk of a policy of reconciliation and peace into action. We should welcome and pursue his willingness to come to the table to negotiate. We need to test that. But delay has been too long for us not to pursue concurrent approaches.
“That tool of economic pressure, which is working, should also be pursued additionally. That is why I support this resolution. Hopefully negotiations will prove successful, and such pressure can be either moderated or removed. President-Elect Rouhani campaigned on a promise to ease the burden of sanctions on the Iranian people – and he won. We would welcome a second victory for him and the United Nations in seeing that objective of de-nuclearization realized.
“I support today's bill because I believe a robust sanctions regime could help encourage Iran to abandon its pursuit of the bomb and end its support for terrorist groups and human rights abuses. President-Elect Rouhani is uniquely positioned, I believe, to show leadership on this and achieve an early success in his new administration. However, our skepticism about the Iranian leadership’s action in the past has been more than justified. But we must, nevertheless, continue to work for resolution of this challenging issue.
“Engaging President-Elect Rouhani in our quest for early resolution is appropriate. But these sanctions are also appropriate, and therefore, I rise in their support and thank Mr. Engel and Mr. Royce for their leadership, and I thank the Gentleman for yielding and yield back the balance of my time."