Mitch McConnell: Obama Must Turn Over Iran Side Agreements
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor on Thursday regarding the Iran nuclear agreement:
The purpose of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act is to ensure Congress has a fully informed understanding of any comprehensive agreement reached between the Administration and Iran.
These are principles both parties endorsed when they voted overwhelmingly to pass the measure.
These are principles President Obama endorsed when he signed it into law.
These are principles that need to be upheld.
That’s why I recently joined Speaker Boehner, Senator Cotton, and Congressman Pompeo in calling on the administration to comply with the terms of this law by providing the Senate with the text of two side agreements reached between Iran and the IAEA.
That was more than a week ago.
But we still have yet to receive them.
Without this critical information, Republicans and Democrats in Congress may not be able to properly assess such a highly-consequential deal with Iran.
That’s not acceptable. The administration needs to turn over the side agreements without delay.
Even considering all this, the Senate has already begun its necessary oversight of the deal with Iran.
The Armed Services Committee held a hearing yesterday on the strategic and military implications of the deal.
The Foreign Relations Committee also held a hearing yesterday to consider the alternatives to this agreement. Today, it will consider the implications of sanctions relief for Iran, along with Congress’ ability to impose additional sanctions if Tehran persists in its support of terrorism.
And the Intelligence Committee has already embarked on a series of briefings and hearings that will help Congress determine whether or not the deal can even be verified.
As the review moves forward, we’ll continue working to assess the relative threat posed to the greater Middle East and to the United States by an Iranian regime empowered with a threshold nuclear program and billions of dollars in additional resources.
I know this worries a lot of members in both parties.
Consider what the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said just this week:
I’m troubled that what this essentially does is after fifteen years it legitimatizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state. After fifteen years Iran can produce weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium without limitations and that is disturbing because what that means to me is it really doesn’t prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. It just postpones it.
He’s not the only Democrat or Republican with these types of concerns.
So we’ll keep working for answers.
We’ll also continue pressing for a more fulsome revelation of the true extent of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
Understanding Iran’s relative trustworthiness in the past will be critical to determining Iran’s potential for trustworthiness in the future — whether, for instance, it can truly be trusted to live up to its commitments in today’s agreement. Getting a fuller picture of Iran’s past nuclear activities and research will also be important to ensuring the U.N. Security Council, which rushed to approve the comprehensive deal, has a more comprehensive understanding moving forward.
So we’ll continue working hard to assess this agreement on behalf of the American people, who absolutely deserve a say in a deal of this magnitude.
And at the end, Congress will take a vote and answer a simple but powerful question: Will this agreement actually make America and its allies safer?”