The Real Problem with Iran Negotiations
Congressman McClintock today delivered the following remarks on the House floor regarding Iran negotiations and the recent passage by the House of H.R. 1191 that purports to restore Congressional oversight into the talks. The Congressman previously issued a vote note about H.R. 1191.
The Real Problem
A large and respected Iranian expatriate community has settled in California, and it has been my privilege to get to know some of them in recent years. They are part of an international diaspora of five million people who fled Iran after it fell to Islamic fascism thirty five years ago.
The stories they tell are blood curdling. One woman told of her cousin who had been rounded up in an anti-government demonstration and taken to prison. After several years, the families were informed that their loved ones would be released in the town square. The excited families gathered for the long awaited reunion, only to have their sons hanged before their eyes.
A doctor told me of his college days in Paris. He had called home to tell his brother in Tehran of an anti-Khomeini demonstration. His brother was promptly arrested, tortured and imprisoned, simply for listening.
A few months ago, after many years of silence, the brother in America received a call from his brother in Iran, telling him of the simmering unrest throughout Iran. The American brother told him to shut up – to remember what happened the last time they spoke candidly. His brother in Tehran said, “I don’t care anymore. They can’t arrest all of us.” All of the Iranian expatriates I spoke with tell me the same thing: the economic sanctions and international isolation of the regime was bringing Iran to the brink of revolution.
This brings us to the President’s negotiations with Iran’s fascist-Islamic leaders.
Any agreement with Iran’s leaders is meaningless, because their word is meaningless. Iran’s government is a notoriously untrustworthy rogue state that has made it unmistakably clear that it intends to acquire nuclear weapons and once acquired, to use them. The only way to avert this nightmare -- short of war -- is for the regime to collapse from within.
Over the last several years, the Iranian opposition has grown dramatically for two reasons: there is a strong and growing perception among the Iranian people that the Iranian dictatorship is a pariah in the international community; and the resulting international economic sanctions have created conditions that make the regime’s overthrow imperative.
At precisely this moment in history, Barack Obama did incalculable damage by initiating these negotiations. By engaging this rogue state, President Obama has given it international recognition and legitimacy at just the moment when it had lost legitimacy in the eyes of its own people. Worse, by promising relief from economic sanctions, he has removed the most compelling reason the organized Iranian resistance had to justify the regime’s overthrow.
It is not the outcome of the negotiations that matters because ANY agreement with Iran’s conniving leaders is meaningless. It is the negotiations themselves that have greatly strengthened the regime -- just when it was most vulnerable from the growing opposition of its own people.
The House just passed HR 1191 that purports to restore Congressional oversight into these talks. I believe it completely missed the point.
Our Constitution requires that any treaty be approved by 2/3 of the Senate. This wasn’t going to happen, so Mr. Obama simply redefined the prospective treaty as an agreement between leaders – an agreement with no force of law and no legal standing.
I fear that Congress has just changed this equation by establishing a wholly extra-constitutional process that lends the imprimatur of Congress to these ill-advised negotiations with no practical way to stop the lifting of sanctions. Instead of 2/3 of the Senate having to approve a treaty as the Constitution requires, this agreement takes effect automatically unless 2/3 of both houses reject it – a complete sham.
I fear that this bill gives tacit approval to extremely harmful negotiations that Congress instead ought to vigorously condemn and unambiguously repudiate.
We can only pray that in the days ahead, what Churchill called “the Parliamentary democracies” will regain the national leadership required to prevent a repetition of the Munich Accords in the Middle East.
That will require treating the Iranian dictatorship as the international pariah that it is. And it will require providing every ounce of moral and material support that the Iranian opposition needs to rid their nation of this fascist-Islamic dictatorship, to restore their proud heritage and to retake their place among the civilized nations of the world.