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ICYMI: Sen. Cruz: This Terrible Deal Will Not Stop a Virulently Anti-American and Anti-Israeli Regime From Getting a Nuclear Bomb

Asks Democrats to put national security before partisan loyalty in speech on Senate floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor strongly opposing the Administration’s Iran nuclear deal and urging 42 Democrats to reconsider their stances on this catastrophic agreement. Not only would the deal funnel more than $100 billion to radical Islamic terrorists, making the Obama Administration the world’s top financier of terrorism, it would also facilitate Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

“This isn’t complicated. The American people know this is a terrible deal—that is why President Obama has only been able to persuade a minority of their duly-elected representatives to support it.  It is why, as Secretary Kerry frankly admitted, they didn’t even try to submit their deal to the Senate as a treaty, as they should have done. They prefer to jam it through by default or by a presidential veto—anything to get what they believe will be a domestic political legacy,” Sen. Cruz said. “How typical it is of the Washington Cartel that one-third of one house of Congress is forcing this catastrophic deal on our country.” 

Sen. Cruz’s floor speech can be read in its entirety below and video can be viewed here

“Mr. President, let’s start out with a little simple math: 58-42 is not a victory for the side with 42. 

“Even in the case of Obamacare, a truly disastrous piece of legislation, which was forced through the Congress on purely partisan lines, that legislation received a majority.  This isn’t even close—because not only has the Republican caucus held firm and unanimously rejected this catastrophic deal, but we have also been joined by colleagues from across the aisle who are not blinded by partisan politics and understand the threat posed by President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

“I want to take a moment to acknowledge them as they are among those who know best how bad this deal is:

“First, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who has been a long-time advocate for the state of Israel.  It’s no secret that Sen. Schumer and I have our disagreements on a great many issues, but I’ve been proud to stand with him for Israel and against this Iranian nuclear deal, and I was proud to stand with Sen. Schumer when Congress voted unanimously on the legislation I introduced to ban a known terrorist, Hamid Aboutalebi, who participated in the 1979 hostage taking, from becoming Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

“Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the former Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee has likewise come out against this catastrophic deal. Sen. Menendez and I have worked together on a wide range of issues, including legislation to provide a Rewards for Justice reward of $5 million dollars last summer for the capture or kill of the Hamas terrorists who murdered Israeli-American teenager Naftali Fraenkel and his two teenage friends.

“Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, whose name is on the legislation through which we are scheduled to vote this week.  Certainly Senator Cardin knows as much about this deal as anyone, and his opposition should make all senators, particular democratic senators, take note.

“Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, my colleague on the Senate Armed Services Committee who understands the threats to national security posed by this Iranian nuclear deal. I was honored to have Senator Manchin’s support for the resolution I introduced condemning Hamas’ use of human shields during Israel’s action in Gaza last summer, a disgusting terrorist tactic aided and abetted by Hamas’ Iranian sponsors. Democrats should take note that the ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, the former ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Democrat scheduled to be the next Democratic leader have all come out and valued national security above partisan loyalty. That ought be reason to cause every other Democratic member of this body to take a second assessment of their own decisions.

“I also want to mention Senator Chris Coons of Connecticut who, even though he plans, unfortunately, to vote in favor of the deal, maintains that it should go to a vote, not go into effect by default because the minority can block cloture through a filibuster.

“In these dark times it is at least encouraging to know there are still Democrats who, in the tradition of Scoop Jackson and JFK and Joe Lieberman are willing to put country in front of party, are willing to defend national security. That used to be a robust tradition on the democratic side of the aisle. I would that there were more Scoop Jackson Democrats in the United States Senate. I would that were more JFK Democrats in the United States Senate. I would that there were more Joe Lieberman Democrats in the United States Senate.

“It is also telling that not a single Republican was persuaded by the President and the Secretary of State when they have told us that this is the only option, that it is this deal, this catastrophic deal, or war—and that this is the best deal we could have gotten.

“If that is so, we shouldn’t have been negotiating in the first place. Indeed as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted, “the one person telling the truth about this deal is Iran’s President Rouhani, who observed Iran has gotten everything they wanted from this deal.” Because this deal is, as Prime Minister Netanyahu predicted, a “very, very bad deal,” and an “historic mistake.”

“First and foremost, this terrible deal will not stop a virulently anti-American and anti-Israeli regime from getting a nuclear bomb.  The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei declared that Israel, which he calls the “Little Satan” would be “nothing” in 25 years, and that those 25 years would be made miserable because of the “heroic” attacks of radical Islamic jihadis.  America, he said, was the “Great Satan.”

“Mr. President, he didn’t say this in 1979.  He tweeted it yesterday.

“This is the Ayatollah Khamenei, the person with whom the Administration is making a deal to facilitate his having nuclear weapons. He is being candid. He is telling us he intends to do everything possible to murder as many Israelis as possible and to murder as many Americans as possible.

“President Obama’s deal, if it goes through, will allow Khamenei and his fellow mullahs to retain their centrifuges.  They have established their “right to enrich” uranium.  They have rejected attempts to inspect their sites with possible military dimensions related to their nuclear program—indeed, this deal is without any credible inspections mechanism.  Not long ago, the Administration was promising the American people so-called anytime, anywhere inspections. Those inspections quickly morphed into inspections with 24-days advanced notice – plenty of time to ensure the inspections will never uncover the cheating. But even more laughable, even more farcical, this deal doesn’t rely on American inspectors. It doesn’t rely on international inspectors. This deal trusts the Iranians to inspect themselves. It is not much of an exaggeration to say the inspection regime envisioned in this deal is simply picking up the phone, calling the Ayatollah Khamenei and asking, “Are you developing nuclear weapons?” “No.” “Very good. Thank you.” That is a regime designed to facilitate cheating, to facilitate surreptitious development of nuclear weapons with $150 billion to fuel and fund that development. And beyond that, the deal actually obligates its signatories to assist Iran in developing their program, which remarkably the Secretary of State suggests will be used to try to cure cancer. And even more remarkably, obligates signatories to assist Iran in defending against efforts by the nation of Israel to stop a nuclear weapons regime. That is a remarkable commitment that Senate Democrats have signed onto.

“In addition, this terrible deal makes concessions to Iran completely unrelated to the nuclear program.  For example, it provides sanctions relief for designated terrorists like General Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite al Quds forces who should have no association with the Iranian nuclear program whatsoever.  Iran and the Iranian regime maintain the nuclear program is not a military program. Then why is a military general covered in this agreement. This man, General Soleimani, has blood on his hands from the IEDs that he funneled into Iraq that murdered and maimed hundreds of American service men and women.

“And even while Iranians like Soleimani get relief, four Americans were cruelly excluded from this deal.  Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned for eight years in Iranian prison for the crime of preaching the gospel, former Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and Bob Levinson. It is a disgrace on our nation that we agreed to any deal with Tehran before they were liberated.

“Finally, this terrible deal provides Iran with some $150 billion in economic relief, which will inevitably be used to finance the violent terrorist mayhem that has been a signature of the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.  It will, in effect, make the United States government the leading international financier of terrorism.

“We haven’t even voted on this deal, and we are already seeing the consequences play out in real time:

Senior Iranian officials, including Soleimani who is technically still under a UN travel ban, have travelled to Moscow to make arms deals with Vladimir Putin, arms that will flow to Iran’s terrorists proxies from Yemen to Gaza to Lebanon to Syria.

Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad has gotten an economic lifeline in the form of a $1 billion line of credit.

Senior Iranian officials have announced to the media that they will redouble their support for Hamas because they “reject the existence of any Israeli on this earth.”

“If you want to understand who we’re dealing with, that clarifies exactly what their intent is. In other words, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism just got a $150 billion windfall.

“The grim consequences of this activity can be seen on our TV screens as we witness hundreds of thousands of panicked refugees fleeing out of the places where Iran’s proxies are active.  Of course, ISIS and its affiliates bare significant responsibility for this crisis—but make no mistake about it, Tehran’s bloody fingerprints are all over it as well.  From the Houthi to Hamas to Hezbollah, they are enabling and financing the radical Islamic terrorists who are making life from North Africa to the Middle East utterly unbearable. They are murdering Christians, and Jews, and other Muslims who do not embrace their radical jihadist creed.

“This isn’t complicated.  The American people know this is a terrible deal—that is why President Obama has only been able to persuade a minority of their duly-elected representatives to support it.  It is why, as Secretary Kerry frankly admitted, they didn’t even try to submit their deal to the Senate as a treaty, as they should have done.  They prefer to jam it through by default or by a presidential veto—anything to get what they believe will be a domestic political legacy.

 “How typical it is of the Washington Cartel that one-third of one house of Congress is forcing this catastrophic deal on our country. And yet, even in the face of 42 Democrats making a decision to value partisan loyalty over the national security of our country, over standing with our friend and ally the nation of Israel, and over protecting the lives of millions of Americans, even in the face of that there are still serious steps we can take right now.

“There are two individuals in Washington, D.C. who have the capacity still to stop this deal. Their names are Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner. Corker-Cardin was unfortunately a very weak piece of review legislation, but it did have one small bit of teeth in it that ought to be used. Under Corker-Cardin, the review period does not start until the Administration submits the entirety of the deal to Congress. That entirety is defined under Corker-Cardin to include any and all side deals. This deal has at least two side deals with the IEEA concerning inspections. It is the laughable inspection regime that trusts the Iranians to inspect themselves. Those side deals have not been submitted to Congress. Under the terms Corker-Cardin, the review period has not started and does not start until the entire deal is submitted to Congress, and the President cannot lift these sanctions until the review period expires. So therefore, I call upon the leadership of my party, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, simply enforce the terms of Corker-Cardin.  The Administration has not submitted the deal. Accordingly, we should not be voting on a resolution of disapproval because the Corker-Cardin clock never began to start, and under Corker-Cardin until the clock starts, the sanctions can’t be lifted.

“Republicans in this body should not be facilitating this president yet again disregarding the law and doing so in contravention of the national security interests of this country. 

“Two final observations: if and when we vote on this deal, for every member of this body, I agree with my former colleague, former Senator Joe Lieberman, who said this may well be the most important vote any senator casts in his or her career. I implore every Democrat who has come out in support of this deal, search your conscience. You can make a choice other than standing with your own party. You can stand up to your own party. Trust me, I have done it myself. It is not the end of the world. I implore every Democrat, go home and pray. Go home and ask yourselves “How you will look in the eyes of the mother or father whose son was blown to bits by an Iranian IED that came directly from General Soleimani who we’re now lifting sanctions on? How you will explain your vote that your son or daughter’s life didn’t matter enough to me, that I was willing to reward their murderer?” I can tell you that’s not a conversation I would ever like to have. I ask every Democrat who said they’d support this deal to ask yourself that question. I ask you to ask the question, “How you will look in the eyes of the mothers and fathers and sons and daughters of those who will be murdered by Hamas, by Hezbollah, by the Houthis, by radical Islamic terrorists across the globe with the over $150 billion this deal gives them?”

“Osama bin Laden murdered nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. Bin Laden never had $100 billion at his disposal. This deal gives people every bit as evil, every bit as consumed with bilious hatred resources, billions of dollars. And if this deal goes through, we know to an absolute certainty Americans will be murdered, Israelis will be murdered, Europeans will be murdered. And I ask every Democratic member of this body to think before you cast the vote, “How will you look in the eyes of the children of those who are murdered by terrorists who used the billions that this deal gives them to kill them?” That’s blood you can’t wash your hands of, when you knowingly and willingly send billions of dollars to jihadis who have declared their intention to murder us. There’s no excuse you can hide behind when they carry through on the intention using the billions of dollars you have given them.

“And if, God forbid, Iran ever acquires a nuclear weapon, the odds are unacceptably high they would number one use that nuclear weapon above our friend and ally the nation of Israel. For every democrat who maintains he or she is a friend of Israel, you need to be prepared to explain how you facilitated a day that could see a nuclear warhead detonating over Tel Aviv murdering millions.

“When Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress, I participated in a panel discussion that my office organized with Elie Wiesel, a Nobel laureate who survived the Holocaust. And Elie Wiesel said, “Never again means never again. The one threat that could kill 6 million Jews again is a nuclear Iran.” Listen to Elie Wiesel.

“And the single most dangerous thing Iran could do with a nuclear weapon is launch it from a ship in the Atlantic into the atmosphere and set off an electromagnetic pulse, an EMP, that would take down the electrical grid, could kill tens of millions of Americans. To every democrat, listen to those voices.

“And finally, if the Democrats refuse to put our national security interests first, then it could be incumbent on the next president to undo the damage and any competent Commander-in-Chief should be prepared on the first day, on January 20, 2017, to rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian deal and to make clear to the Ayatollah Khamenei and every other jihadist that under no circumstances will the nation of Iran, led by a theocratic Ayatollah that chants ‘Death to America’, under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

“Thank you.”