July 14, 2016

Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on "The Iran Nuclear Agreement: One Year Later"

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Hearing: The Iran Nuclear Agreement: One Year Later

Thursday, July 14, 2016

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman

Opening Statement

I’d like to thank our witnesses for testifying today. Both of you have been great resources for this committee as we continue to develop and refine our policies towards Iran. So, thank you both for again appearing.

I personally opposed the Iran nuclear deal because I did not believe that it would ultimately prevent the regime from developing a nuclear weapon and would instead embolden the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism while diminishing our leverage to stop them.

Even though members of this committee wound up in different places on the agreement itself, we continue to pursue vigorous oversight in a bipartisan fashion consistent with the mandate from the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

One year after the agreement was concluded, the Iranian regime remains as serious a threat to our national security as ever before.

The Obama administration readily admits Iran’s ongoing support for terrorism, repeated ballistic missile violations, human rights abuses, and other destabilizing activities in the region continue.

To restore resolve in our Iran policy, I am introducing bipartisan legislation today with other committee members that mandates tough sanctions for ballistic missile activity, terrorism, and other threatening behavior.

I plan to work as always with everyone here on this legislation and to ensure that U.S. policy is not held hostage by Iran’s threats to walk away from the nuclear agreement.

The need for this legislation is clear. Whether or not Iran is complying with the nuclear deal, their hostile intentions are clear.

Just this week the U.S. military released photos of the IRGC Navy’s provocative actions around U.S. Navy ships.

Last week, the Germans released an intelligence report outlining Iran’s clandestine attempts to procure “illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities” throughout 2015.

Also last week, [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel warned of Iran’s unabated rocket program.

Iran also recently attempted to purchase five tons of carbon fiber to build centrifuge rotors for which they have no need.

Meanwhile, Iran has announced charges against four dual nationals and foreigners, one of whom is an American citizen.

They have also doubled down on their support for the Assad regime and Hezbollah while Iranian forces are currently assisting on the ground to encircle the city of Aleppo. 

I could go on about their use of commercial airlines to support terrorism, illicit financial activities, cyber threats, and more – but I’m sure that this is going to be covered fully in this hearing.

I’d think it is worth noting that there is broad bipartisan support for new Iran legislation. I know both of our witnesses would support such legislation.

Mr. Nephew, who played a prominent role in negotiating the Iran deal, wrote in his testimony today that “it is reasonable to consider new legislation that would impose penalties on those who support Iran’s development of and trade in missiles and conventional arms, as well as violations of Iranian human rights.”

We have crafted a bill that does just that, and I hope to build even broader bipartisan support for the legislation.

So, today I hope that our witnesses can help us in this effort to push back against Iran’s continued aggression and recommend ways the Congress can remain constructively engaged.

With that, thank you again for appearing before the committee, and I look forward to your testimony.