I rise in strong opposition to this
very dangerous legislation. My colleagues would do well to understand that
this legislation is leading us toward war against Iran.
Those reading this bill may find themselves feeling a sense of déjà
vu . In many cases one can just substitute "Iraq" for "Iran"
in this bill and we could be back in the pre-2003 run-up to war with Iraq. And
the logic of this current push for war is much the same as the logic used in
the argument for war on Iraq. As earlier with Iraq, this resolution demands
that Iran perform the impossible task of proving a negative in this case
that Iran does not have plans to build a nuclear weapon.
There are a few things we need to remember when thinking about Iran and this
legislation. First, Iran has never been ruled in violation of its international
nuclear nonproliferation obligations.
Second, Iran concluded a Safeguards Agreement more than 30 years ago that provides
for the verification of Iran's fulfillment of its obligation to not divert nuclear
energy programs to nuclear weapons development. Since this agreement was reached,
the International Atomic Energy Agency has never found any indication that Iran
has diverted or attempted to divert source or special nuclear materials from
a peaceful purpose to a military purpose.
But this does not stop those eager for conflict with Iran from stating otherwise.
As the Washington Post reported last year, "U.S. officials, eager
to move the Iran issue to the UN Security Council which has the authority
to impose sanctions have begun a new round of briefings for allies designed
to convince them that Iran's real intention is to use its energy program as
a cover for bomb building. The briefings will focus on the White House's belief
that a country with as much oil as Iran would not need an energy program on
the scale it is planning, according to two officials."
This reminds us of the quick move to justify the invasion of Iraq by citing
Iraq's "intentions" when actual weapons of mass destruction could
not be found.
The resolution's second resolved clause is a real misrepresentation of the
Iran/EU3 talks. The "efforts of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom"
were not "to seek
suspension of enrichment and reprocessing related
activities." As the EU3-Iran Paris Agreement makes very clear, the suspension
of enrichment is a purely voluntary measure taken by Iran and is "not a
This is similar to the situation with Iran's voluntarily observation of the
Additional Protocols (allowing unannounced inspections) without legally being
bound to do so. Suspending voluntary observance of the Additional Protocols
is not a violation of the NPT. But those seeking to push us toward war with
Iran are purposely trying to connect the two to confuse voluntary "confidence-building"
measures taken by Iran with the legally binding Treaty itself.
Resolved clause four of this legislation is the most inflammatory and objectionable
part of the legislation. It lowers the bar to initiating war on Iran. This clause
anticipates that the U.S. may not be successful in getting the Security Council
to pass a Resolution because of the potential of a Russian or Chinese veto,
so it "calls upon" Russia and China to "take action" in
response to "any report" of "Iran's noncompliance." That
is right: any report.
This resolution is a drumbeat for war with Iran. Its logic is faulty, its premises
are flawed, and its conclusions are dangerous. I urge my colleagues to stop
for a moment and ponder the wisdom of starting yet another war in the Middle