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Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on "The Status of JCPOA Implementation and Related Issues"

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Hearing: The Status of JCPOA Implementation and Related Issues

Thursday, December 17, 2015 

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

I want to thank our witnesses for being here. I know senators that are here at the moment and I know others that will be joining.

This hearing is the first public meeting the committee has held since we began to oversee the implementation of the Iran deal, and I would like to underscore the importance that we place on the oversight effort. In many ways, I think that was the strongest element of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

We intend to hold another hearing in January after the administration submits the 180 Day Report as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

And then a third if Implementation Day occurs. I’m sure there will be more to follow after that, and we will work with the ranking member and others to make sure that those are scheduled in a timely fashion.

As we begin this oversight process, it is worth noting that whether or not any of us supported or opposed this agreement, the deal is being implemented at present.

And I think no matter what anyone’s view on the agreement is or was, we all support the goal of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

One area that we all agree on is the need to be tough on any destabilizing or illegal action by Iran.

With that view, I think the agreement is off to a really terrible start. I know we’ve talked about this some in classified settings and today we’ll talk about it more publically.

Since the agreement was signed, Iran has convicted an American Washington Post reporter, launched cyber-attacks against the State Department, defied a U.N. travel ban and sent Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani to Russia, exported weapons to Syria and Yemen, and then violated the U.N. ballistic missile test ban twice and lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the PMD (possible military dimensions) investigation. And I realize not all of those issues are covered by the Iran agreement, but they all relate to our relationship with Iran. And it’s very evident that they are taking a very different tack I think than many administration officials thought would be the case after the agreement was agreed to.

Can anyone here point to any substantive consequences Iran has faced? I’m sure that during this hearing that’s going to be a constant theme because we see no evidence of them paying a price for any of these actions.

Instead of consequences, Iran got what they wanted and our administration supported a resolution at the IAEA closing the PMD investigation, which I think all of us believe, we thought they would maybe get a D minus in their actions, was an F.

I know that our witnesses will say that most of these actions fall outside of their jurisdiction, including the missile tests, but I don’t think we can take a narrow view of oversight.

Failure to impose any consequences on Iran for its violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions and other destabilizing actions sets a dangerous precedent, which we’ve talked about, before implementation of the nuclear agreement, when sanctions are lifted and the leverage shifts to Iran. 

So, we hope you’re going to talk with us today about how you plan to enforce the agreement when it appears that we are paralyzed at present to act for fear of Iran backing away from the agreement. Most of us have talked about the leverage shift that will take place and feel like it’s going to be even more difficult for it to be pushed back against.

So, we thank you again for being here. I look forward to the comments of our distinguished ranking member and certainly your testimony and questions.