“It is high-time we begin to act on the threat of a nuclear Iran”
Congressman Erik Paulsen Statement Before the U.S. House of Representatives on The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 (H.R. 1327)
October 13, 2009
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Mr. Speaker, with the recent disclosure of a second site for enriching uranium in Iran, our relations with that country continue to be at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. The Iranian regime has made no secret of its ambitions to acquire nuclear technology, while it continues to engage in human rights violations and suppressing dissent.
The U.S. should demand Iran take specific, concrete actions in the near-term. This legislation is going to help in that effort.
The Iranian government will be more responsive if the United States can isolate the regime and apply some distinct pressure that help will force Tehran to deliver on its commitments, and not merely to do what it has done in the past — and that’s use negotiations to merely run out the clock.
This legislation increases the economic pressure that’s placed on Iran by permitting state governments, local governments, and educational institutions to divest from investments related to Iran’s energy sector.
In addition, the legislation would extend to private actors the ability to consider the U.S.-Iran relationship in their investment calculus. This means that registered investment advisors are provided a safe harbor, allowing them to divest from – or elect not to invest in – securities of companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector.
And many states, as the Chairman had noted, including my state of Minnesota have already moved in this direction.
Today, we have the opportunity to push this important initiative a step closer at the federal level. In doing so, we can help leverage and we can help slow down Iran’s nuclear program and move one step closer to helping diminish this major security threat to the Middle East and the rest of the world.
With the recent revelation of the second enrichment site, passage of this legislation is imperative and ever more important than it has been in the past. I urge immediate passage of H.R. 1327, Mr. Speaker, and I reserve the balance of my time.
At the end of last month, Iran finally got around to notifying the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency of a previously-undisclosed nuclear-enrichment facility, located on a military base near the city of Qom.
This additional enrichment facility will allow Iran to make more enriched uranium – and make it faster. This means that previous estimates on when Iran could achieve a nuclear weapons breakout are now inaccurate.
What is especially disconcerting to me is that this is supposed to be a civilian facility — but it is located on a military base. This raises quite a few red-flags, and we must not allow the Iranian regime to buy even more time.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, this is another violation of Iran’s obligation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which requires all members to declare all nuclear facilities and allow inspection.
Mr. Speaker, it is high-time we begin to act on the threat of a nuclear Iran by demanding action. The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act is an important step in that direction and I urge its passage today. I yield back the balance of my time.