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Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on "The View from Congress: U.S. Policy on Iran"

 United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations 

Hearing: The View from Congress: U.S. Policy on Iran 

March 28, 2017 

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

Opening Statement

In today’s hearing we will discuss next steps in our Iran policy.

One of my criticisms of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was that it would become our de-facto Middle East policy and Iran would expand their destabilizing activities. I think we are seeing a lot of that today.

Regionally, we’ve seen an escalation in Iranian intervention. 

Iran, along with its allies in Russia, has continued to prop up Assad at the cost of countless lives in Syria. 

Iran’s support to the Shia militias in Iraq threatens the interests of Sunnis and Kurds alike, not to mention the Shia in Iraq that don’t subscribe to the anti-American, zero-sum politics of the militias that are there.  

Iran is arming the Houthis in Yemen, who are in turn attacking our Saudi allies and targeting our ships. 

Yemen now faces a humanitarian crisis unprecedented in its history.  

Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. It counts Lebanese Hizballah – an organization that has killed hundreds of Americans – as among its closest allies.

Iran also continues to detain several U.S. nationals.  

Last week, many members of this committee joined together in a bipartisan manner and introduced a bill to begin rebalancing our Iran policy.

With a new administration in place, we have an opportunity to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with both Iran’s regional activities and the longer-term threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

I know both of our witnesses have spent their careers both in and out of government grappling with this issue, and I look forward to hearing your ideas.

We truly thank both of you for being here, and I look forward to your testimony.