Sen. Cruz Introduces Legislation Clarifying Congressional Review Period for Iran Nuclear Deal
Yesterday I introduced a resolution, S. Res. 238, defining the start of Congress’ 60-day review period and detailing flaws within the submittal of the agreement.
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 mandates that the 60-day congressional review period cannot begin until the nuclear agreement with Iran, and all related materials outlined in the Act, are transmitted to Congress. President Obama has failed to provide separate side agreements and federal guidance materials to Congress, so the review period cannot have begun without the majority leader’s consent.
On Tuesday, I assembled key grassroots leaders from wide-ranging political backgrounds to organize opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
I’m encouraged that the grassroots leaders, coming from very different ideological positions, are united that we shouldn’t abandon our hostages in Iran, that we shouldn’t send billions of dollars to fund jihadists to murder Americans, and that we should do nothing to facilitate Iran acquiring nuclear weapons while they pledge death to America and impose a moral threat to murder untold numbers of Americans.
My grave concerns over what he has called the Administration’s “catastrophic” Iran nuclear deal also surfaced in an Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday when Secretary John Kerry refused to apologize to families of American soldiers killed by Iranian-supplied IEDs in Iraq on the orders of General Qasam Soliemani, who will receive relief from economic sanctions under the terms of this deal. The exchange can be viewed here.
The full transcript of my opening remarks from Tuesday’s press conference can be found below:
Good afternoon, welcome.
We just had a coalition meeting with a number of Members of Congress and of key grassroots leaders from across the country, who are gathered here today, united, in opposition to this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. The grassroots leaders who came together came from across the political spectrum. There were conservative leaders; there were pro-Israel leaders; there were leaders in the Jewish community; there were leaders in the Christian community – all stand together convinced that the threat of a nuclear Iran is the single greatest national security threat facing America. All stand together convinced that this Iranian nuclear deal is a catastrophic mistake.
If this deal goes through, a number of things will happen.
Number one: over $100 billion will flow to Iran. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Much of that money will flow directly to Hamas and Hezbollah and the Houthis and other radical Islamic terrorists. Much of that money will be used to fund radical Islamic terrorism. Indeed, if this deal is consummated, it will make the Obama Administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism. Billions of dollars under control of this Administration will flow into the hands of jihadists who will use that money to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans. Now, yesterday President Obama chose to take issue with my pointing out that incontrovertible fact. He belittled and attacked it and said it was intemperate to say such a thing. I would note, nowhere in President Obama’s remarks did he dispute the underlying facts. Nowhere in President Obama’s remarks did he point to any other organization on the face of the globe that would be a larger global financier or radical Islamic terrorism than the Obama Administration is trying to become.
In addition to that consequence, this deal leaves four American hostages languishing in Iranian hell-holes. It leaves Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American pastor sentenced to eight years in prison for professing his Christian faith. It leaves Amir Hekmati, an American marine, wrongfully imprisoned. It leaves Jason Rezaian, a reporter, imprisoned for doing his job reporting on the news. I would note to all of our friends from the media, it ought to give you pause that this Administration is content to leave a reporter from the Washington Post in an Iranian hell-hole. And it leaves Robert Levinson, an American whose whereabouts are unknown right now.
But the single greatest consequence of this deal, if it goes through, is that it will only accelerate Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran is led by a theocratic zealot—the Ayatollah Khomeini—who leads chants of death to America, who refers to Israel as the "little Satan", and refers to America as the "great Satan."
Now, I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu that this deal, that the threat of a nuclear Iran, is an existential threat to the nation of Israel. Meaning that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the odds are unacceptably high, they would use those nuclear weapons in the skies of Tel-Aviv, or New York, or Los Angeles. And the threat that is posed to the United States of America is even qualitatively great. The single greatest threat, if Iran acquired even a single nuclear weapon, would be that they would place that weapon on a rocket, on a ship anywhere up and down the Atlantic. And they would fire that rocket straight in the air into the atmosphere, and if it got high enough that they could detonate a nuclear warhead. It would set off what’s called an electromagnetic pulse—an EMP. An EMP would take down the electrical grid on the entire eastern seaboard, would shut down the stock exchange and all of our financial system, would shut down the delivery of food and water and heat and air and basic transportation. The projections are that an EMP over the eastern seaboard would cost the lives of tens of millions of Americans. And they don’t need targeting equipment, they don’t need to hit a target, they need to fire it straight in the air. That is one nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran.
And I would note, Iran is a nation, every year that celebrates a holiday. It’s an unusual holiday to Americans. Here in America, we celebrate the Fourth of July. We celebrate Thanksgiving. We celebrate Christmas. In Iran, they have a holiday called ‘Death to America’ Day. It is the anniversary of Iran seizing American hostages in the 1970s, and they gather outside by the thousands and chant ‘death to America.’ If history teaches anything, it is that if somebody tells you they want to kill you, believe them. This gathering we had of grassroots leaders collectively touched millions of Americans all across this country. And it is our intention, both the Members gathered here and the grassroots leaders who participated in this meeting, to make the month of August a referendum on this catastrophic Iranian deal. It is my hope that millions of Americans light up the phones to Capitol Hill, light up the phones to Democratic Members of Congress—Members of the House and members of the Senate—to say stand in support of U.S. national security. Stand in support of the nation of Israel. Stand in support of protecting the health and safety of millions of Americans. This deal on the merits is indefensible.
As I mentioned, President Obama attacked my statement that his Administration would become the world’s leading financier of terrorism. Yesterday, I invited President Obama to participate in a debate. I would be happy to debate him, at the time and place of his choosing, anywhere in the country, in the next 60 days, to discuss the substance of this deal. If he believes that this deal can be defended, I would encourage him to defend it in front of the American people. And if he is unwilling to do so then he can send, as his proxy, Secretary of State John Kerry, because on the merits this deal is catastrophic for the American people.
And I’m encouraged that the grassroots leaders, coming from very different ideological positions, are united that we shouldn’t abandon our hostages in Iran, that we shouldn’t send billions of dollars to fund jihadists to murder Americans, and that we should do nothing to facilitate Iran acquiring nuclear weapons while they pledge death to America, impose a moral threat to murder untold numbers of Americans.