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APN Legislative Round-Up for the weeks ending October 23 and 30, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions
2.  House Foreign Affairs Committee Marks Up Major Iran Sanctions Legislation...
3.  ...While Senate Banking Committee Marks Up Omnibus Iran Sanctions Bill
4.  APN on H. Res. 867 (the Goldstone Resolution)
5.  Judge Goldstone on H. Res. 867
6.  APN Interns' Notes from the House IRPSA Mark-Up
7.  Key quotes from the Dodd Iran Sanctions Hearing

Shameless self-promotion:  APN participated this week in the J Street Conference, including sponsoring a panel on settlements (featuring Peace Now Settlement Watch director Hagit Ofran, moderated by APN's spokesman Ori Nir, and chaired by APN President and CEO Debra DeLee). Go here to listen to the audio of the panel.  In addition, APN participated in a panel entitled "What Next? Analysis and Advice for the President from Washington Insiders", featuring APN director of policy and government relations, Lara Friedman (alongside Rob Malley and Jon Alterman).  Video of that panel can be viewed here.
 
1. BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS
 
(Goldstone Report) H. Res. 867: Introduced 10/23/09 by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and currently having 83 cosponsors, "Calling on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the 'Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict' in multilateral fora."  Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  This resolution is expected to be brought up under suspension of the rules next week.  See section 4, below, for APN's position on the resolution.  Also, see section 5, below, for Judge Goldstone's response to the resolution.
 
(Iran) HR 3922: Introduced 10/23/09 by Rep. Klein (D-FL) and currently having 34 cosponsors, "To ensure that companies operating in the United States that receive United States Government funds are not conducting business in Iran, and for other purposes."  Referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Committee on Financial Services, and Committee on Foreign Affairs.
 
(Religious Freedom) S. Res. 322: Introduced 10/26/09 by Sen. Levin (D-MI) and two cosponsors, "expressing the sense of the Senate on religious minorities in Iraq."   Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
 
(Venezuela/Iran/Hezbollah) H. Res. 872:  Introduced 10/27/09 by Rep. Mack (R-FL) and one cosponsor, "Calling for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism for its support of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC)."  Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
 
(Iran) S. Con. Res.45: Introduced 10/6/09 by Sen. Specter (D-PA) and having 6 cosponsors, "A concurrent resolution encouraging the Government of Iran to allow Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd to reunite with their families in the United States as soon as possible."  Passed by the Senate 10/6/09 by Unanimous Consent.  Considered in the House under suspension of the rules 10/27/09 and passed 10/29/09 by a vote of 423-0.
 
(Turkey/Human Rights)  S. Res. 316:  Introduced 10/21/09 by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) with one cosponsor, "calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes."  Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
 
(Defense Authorization) HR 2647:   On 10/22/09 the Senate voted to suspend the rules and consider the conference report to accompany H.R. 2647, the Department of Defense Authorization Act.  The bill was introduced 6/2/09 by Rep. Skelton (D-MO).  The Conference Report was agreed to in the House on 10/8/09 by a vote of 281-146, with 6 not voting.  The Conference Report was introduced in the Senate 10/21/09.  The bill passed by a vote of 68-29, with 3 members not voting.  Details on the conference report can be found in a previous Legislative Roundup here.
 
(Iran)  H. Res. 175:  On 10/22/09 the House voted to suspend the rules and consider H Res 175, condemning "the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights."  The resolution was introduced 2/13/09 by Rep. Kirk (R-IL) and at the time it was brought to the floor it had 75 cosponsors.  H. Res. 175 passed by a vote of 407-2, with 23 members not voting.  The "no" votes were cast by Reps. Kucinich (D-OH) and Paul (R-TX).
 
2.  HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MARKS UP MAJOR IRAN SANCTIONS LEGISLATION...
 
On 10/28/09 the House Committee on Foreign Affairs marked up HR 2194, the Iran Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA).  At the opening of the hearing, Chairman Berman (D-CA) made a statement explaining once again his position on the bill.  He then offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute, in effect replacing the original bill with even stronger language that had been pre-negotiated with Ranking Minority member Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).   The webcast of the markup can be viewed online here.  For highlights from the markup (compiled by APN's extraordinary interns, who attended the markup), see section 6, below.  Also see NIAC's commentary on the mark-up and Ron Kampeas' analysis in the JTA blog regarding the State Department spokesman's reaction to the markup.  Further excellent analysis of the current state-of-play in the negotiations-sanctions dance has been published by the National Security Network (NSN).
 
HR 2194 has also been referred to three other House committees (Financial Services, Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means), each of which will have to deal with the bill (or relinquish jurisdiction) before the bill can be considered by the full House.
 
APN strongly opposes HR 2194 on principle, as detailed here.

3.  ...WHILE SENATE BANKING COMMITTEE MARKS UP OMNIBUS
IRAN SANCTIONS BILL
 
On 10/29/09 the Senate Banking Committee met to mark up Chairman Dodd's (D-CT) much anticipated omnibus Iran sanctions bill (the text has not yet been reported out of the committee and is not yet publicly available). 
 
The mark-up was largely pro-forma, with the text of the bill having been circulated earlier to all committee members.  The bill was approved unanimously by the Committee, with most of the members taking the opportunity to make strong statements in favor of ever-stronger sanctions on Iran.  Only two amendments (both pre-cleared) were offered, both dealing with non-binding provisions in the bill:  one, offered by Sen. Johanns (R-NE), called for additional sanctions aimed at Iran's terrorist proxies; the other, offered by Sen. Corker (D-TN), emphasized the importance of a multilateral approach to sanctions, including consultation with US allies. 
 
The Committee press release announcing approval of the bill, which includes a summary of the bill's provisions and a statement from Chairman Dodd, can be viewed here.  The video of the mark-up can be viewed here.
 
4.  APN ON H. RES. 867 (THE GOLDSTONE RESOLUTION) 

On 10/30/09 APN released the following statement on H. Res. 867:

APN
has serious reservations about H. Res. 867.  We do not believe that Israel or the cause of peace is aided by a Congressional effort that, however well-intentioned, is focused solely on denouncing the Goldstone Report and its authors and dismissing its findings.  
 
APN is not a human rights organization, nor an organization that has any resources on the ground to judge the veracity, or lack thereof, of the information detailed in the report.  We therefore do not presume to make any such assessment.
 
However, there is much in the resolution that reflects legitimate and longstanding concerns about the UN Human Rights Council and its treatment of Israel.  The recent US decision to join the council is a promising development.  The resolution, too, accurately reflects serious and legitimate concerns about the original mandate of the Goldstone mission, as well as the implications the Goldstone Report and its findings may have for Israel in the international arena.  We urge the Obama Administration to show leadership in the UN and other multilateral fora in order to ensure that the Goldstone Report becomes a basis for moving forward toward peace and reconciliation, rather than a new obstacle to peace or a new weapon for some in the international community to wield to cynically attack Israel.
 
We believe that the correct course now is for Israel's government to launch its own independent investigation of alleged violations of human rights and international law that may have taken place in the context of the Gaza war, including those documented in the Goldstone Report.  We strongly believe that such an investigation is in the interests of Israel
 
We believe that the correct course for friends of Israel in Congress is to focus now on moving forward toward negotiations and peace.  In doing so, they can ensure that Israel will not find itself in a similarly untenable situation with respect to Gaza or any of its neighbors in the future. 
 
Regardless of how one judges the Goldstone Report and its findings, the report serves as a clear reminder of both the horrors of war and the critical importance of President Barack Obama's efforts to renew peace talks.   Whatever Members of Congress may feel about the Gaza war or the Goldstone Report, the reality is that absent progress towards peace, it is only a matter of time before another war breaks out and more lives are lost.  We believe that H. Res. 867 does not serve the cause of peace and therefore, regrettably, cannot support it.
 
5.  JUDGE GOLDSTONE ON H. RES. 867
 
On 10/29/09, Judge Goldstone sent the following letter to Chairman Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), regarding H. Res. 867:
 
The Honorable Howard Berman
Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
 
The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
 
October 29, 2009
 
Dear Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen,
 
It has come to my attention that a resolution has been introduced in the Unites States House of Representatives regarding the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which I led earlier this year.
 
I fully respect the right of the US Congress to examine and judge my mission and the resulting report, as well as to make its recommendations to the US Executive branch of government.  However, I have strong reservations about the text of the resolution in question - text that includes serious factual inaccuracies and instances where information and statements are taken grossly out of context.
 
I undertook this fact-finding mission in good faith, just as I undertook my responsibilities vis à vis the South African Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, the International War Crimes Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Panel of the Commission of Enquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina, the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, and the Volker Committee investigation into the UN's Iraq oil-for-food program in 2004/5.  
 
I hope that you, in similar good faith, will take the time to consider my comments about the resolution and, as a result of that consideration, make the necessary corrections.
 
Whereas clause #2: "Whereas, on January 12, 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed Resolution A/HRC/S-9/L.1, which authorized a `fact-finding mission' regarding Israel's conduct of Operation Cast Lead against violent militants in the Gaza Strip between December 27, 2008, and January 18, 2009;"
 
This whereas clause ignores the fact that I and others refused this original mandate, precisely because it only called for an investigation into violations committed by Israel. The mandate given to and accepted by me and under which we worked and reported reads as follows:
 
". . .to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after".
 
Whereas clause #2: "Whereas the resolution pre-judged the outcome of its investigation, by one-sidedly mandating the `fact-finding mission' to `investigate all violations of international human rights law and International Humanitarian Law by . . . Israel, against the Palestinian people . . . particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression'"
 
This whereas clause ignores the fact that the expanded mandate that I demanded and received clearly included rocket and mortar attacks on Israel and as the report makes clear was so interpreted and implemented. It was the report carried out under this broadened mandate - not the original, rejected mandate - that was adopted by the Human Rights Council and that included the serious findings made against Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups.
 
Whereas clause #3: "Whereas the mandate of the `fact-finding mission' makes no mention of the relentless rocket and mortar attacks, which numbered in the thousands and spanned a period of eight years, by Hamas and other violent militant groups in Gaza against civilian targets in Israel, that necessitated Israel's defensive measures;"
 
This whereas clause is factually incorrect. As noted above, the expanded mandate clearly included the rocket and mortar attacks.  Moreover, Chapter XXIV of the Report considers in detail the relentless rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel and the terror they caused to the people living within their range. The resulting finding made in the report is that these attacks constituted serious war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
 
Whereas clause #4: "Whereas the `fact-finding mission' included a member who, before joining the mission, had already declared Israel guilty of committing atrocities in Operation Cast Lead by signing a public letter on January 11, 2009, published in the Sunday Times, that called Israel's actions `war crimes';"
 
This whereas clause is misleading.  It overlooks, or neglects to mention, that the member concerned, Professor Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics, in the same letter, together with other leading international lawyers, also condemned as war crimes the Hamas rockets fired into Israel.
 
Whereas clause 5: "Whereas the mission's flawed and biased mandate gave serious concern to many United Nations Human Rights Council Member States which refused to support it, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;"
 
This whereas clause is factually incorrect.  The mandate that was given to the Mission was certainly not opposed by all or even a majority of the States to which reference is made. I am happy to provide further details if necessary.
 
Whereas clause #6: "Whereas the mission's flawed and biased mandate troubled many distinguished individuals who refused invitations to head the mission;"
 
This whereas clause is factually incorrect. The initial mandate that was rejected by others who were invited to head the mission was the same one that I rejected.    The mandate I accepted was expanded by the President of the Human Rights Council as a result of conditions I made.
 
Whereas clause #8: "Whereas the report repeatedly made sweeping and unsubstantiated determinations that the Israeli military had deliberately attacked civilians during Operation Cast Lead;"
 
This whereas clause is factually incorrect.  The findings included in the report are neither "sweeping" nor "unsubstantiated" and in effect reflect 188 individual interviews, review of more than 300 reports, 30 videos and 1200 photographs.  Additionally, the body of the report contains a plethora of references to the information upon which the Commission relied for our findings. 
 
Whereas clause #9: "Whereas the authors of the report, in the body of the report itself, admit that `we did not deal with the issues . . . regarding the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas and second-guessing decisions made by soldiers and their commanding officers `in the fog of war.';"
 
This whereas clause is misleading.  The words quoted relate to the decision we made that it would have been unfair to investigate and make finding on situations where decisions had been made by Israeli soldiers "in the fog of battle". This was a decision made in favor of, and not against, the interests of Israel.
Whereas clause #10: 'Whereas in the October 16th edition of the Jewish Daily Forward, Richard Goldstone, the head of the `United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict', is quoted as saying, with respect to the mission's evidence-collection methods, `If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.'"
The remark as quoted is both inaccurate and taken completely out of context.  What I had explained to The Forward was that the Report itself would not constitute evidence admissible in court of law.  It is my view, as jurist, that investigators would have to investigate which allegations they considered relevant. That, too, was why we recommended domestic investigations into the allegations.
 
Whereas clause #11: "Whereas the report, in effect, denied the State of Israel the right to self-defense, and never noted the fact that Israel had the right to defend its citizens from the repeated violent attacks committed against civilian targets in southern Israel by Hamas and other Foreign Terrorist Organizations operating from Gaza;"
 
It is factually incorrect to state that the Report denied Israel the right of self-defense. The report examined how that right was implemented by the standards of international law. What is commonly called ius ad bellum, the right to use military force was not considered to fall within our mandate. Israel's right to use military force was not questioned.
 
Whereas clause #12: "Whereas the report largely ignored the culpability of the Government of Iran and the Government of Syria, both of whom sponsor Hamas and other Foreign Terrorist Organizations;"
 
This whereas clause is misleading.  Nowhere that I know of has it ever been suggested that the Mission should have investigated the provenance of the rockets.  Such an investigation was never on the agenda, and in any event, we would not have had the facilities or capability of investigating these allegations. If the Government of Israel has requested us to investigate that issue I have no doubt that we have done our best to do so.
 
Whereas clause #14"Whereas, notwithstanding a great body of evidence that Hamas and other violent Islamist groups committed war crimes by using civilians and civilian institutions, such as mosques, schools, and hospitals, as shields, the report repeatedly downplayed or cast doubt upon that claim;"
 
This is a sweeping and unfair characterization of the Report. I hope that the Report will be read by those tasked with considering the resolution.  
 
I note that the House resolution fails to mention that notwithstanding my repeated personal pleas to the Government of Israel, Israel refused all cooperation with the Mission.  Among other things, I requested the views of Israel with regard to the implementation of the mandate and details of any issues that the Government of Israel might wish us to investigate. 
 
This refusal meant that Israel did not offer any information or evidence it may have collected regarding actions by Hamas or other Palestinian groups in Gaza.  Any omission of such information and evidence in the report is regrettable, but is the result of Israel's decision not to cooperate with the Fact-Finding mission, not a decision by the mission to downplay or cast doubt on such information and evidence.
 
Whereas clause #15: "Whereas in one notable instance, the report stated that it did not consider the admission of a Hamas official that Hamas often `created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the mujahideen, against [the Israeli military]' specifically to `constitute evidence that Hamas forced Palestinian civilians to shield military objectives against attack.';"
 
This whereas clause is misleading, since the quotation is taken out of context.   The quotation is part of a section of the report dealing with the very narrow allegation that Hamas compelled civilians, against their will, to act as human shields.  The statement by the Hamas official is repugnant and demonstrates an apparent disregard for the safety of civilians, but it is not evidence that Hamas forced civilians to remain in their homes in order to act as human shields.  Indeed, while the Government of Israel has alleged publicly that Hamas used Palestinian civilians as human shields, it has not identified any cases where it claims that civilians were doing so under threat of force by Hamas or any other party.
 
Whereas clause #16"Whereas Hamas was able to significantly shape the findings of the investigation mission's report by selecting and prescreening some of the witnesses and intimidating others, as the report acknowledges when it notes that `those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups . . . from a fear of reprisals';"
 
The allegation that Hamas was able to shape the findings of my report or that it pre-screened the witnesses is devoid of truth.  I challenge anyone to produce evidence in support of it.
 
Sincerely,
 
Justice Richard J. Goldstone

6.  APN INTERNS' NOTES FROM THE HOUSE IRPSA MARK-UP
 
Below are key excerpts from the mark-up, as recorded by APN's stellar interns (and double-checked on the mark-up video archived on the HCFA website).  Only language in quotation marks should be assumed to be direct quotes.
 
House Committee on Foreign Affairs, IRPSA (HR 2194) Markup
October 28, 2009
 
Berman (D-CA)

The goal of IRPSA is to maximize the chance of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear arms.  Iran is the most serious foreign threat to the US at the moment; with nuclear arms, they could bully their neighbors, support Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, launch an arms race in the Middle East, and target Israel and the US's other allies.
 
Six months ago when this bill was introduced, we wanted to give diplomacy a chance.  There is still a chance that diplomatic efforts will be successful, but this only pushes Iran back 9-12 months.  We need to ensure that Iran has fully suspended their uranium enrichment.  The Iranian government needs to know that the US Congress is "intensely focused" on them, even though Berman believes that the proper route is to first try diplomacy; then UN sanctions; then multilateral sanctions involving the EU, US, and other countries working together; and finally as a last resort to revert to unilateral US sanctions.
 
Sanctions will impact the Iranian economy and thus affect normal Iranians.  This is unfortunate--since Americans have "feelings of real friendship" toward Iranians and believe that they reciprocate--but the danger of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is of more importance. 
 
The Iranian government must completely abandon its nuclear program, and to that end the US must be prepared with sanctions in case diplomacy fails.  (Full remarks here.)
 
Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
 
The extent of the Iranian threat is greater than it has ever been--greater since the passage of the ILSA (1996) or Iran Freedom Support Act 2006 sanctions--because of Iran's support for Islamic extremists and hostility in the region.  IRPSA targets a new vulnerability - Iran's inability to produce sufficient amounts of gas and other refined petroleum products. Ros-Lehtinen is convinced the bill will be "adopted overwhelmingly" when sent to the floor. 
 
The changes to the bill include stipulations that investigations into violations of Iran sanctions act will be concluded within 180 days, expansion of sanctions to cover materials transported by truck and rail, a prohibition on new nuclear cooperation agreements with governments that do not take effective action against those in its jurisdiction who provide Iran with materials and technology used in its nuclear weapons program, additional reporting requirements on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, government and proxy activities, also trade between Iran and G-20 nations, a sense of Congress on newly discovered facilities, and full compensation for past Iranian hostages. 
 
Past administrations have thrown away major opportunities by not using sanctions, and the current executive should not hold back. "It is my expectation that we WILL work in a bi-partisan manner to ensure that Congressional mandates and intents are no longer ignored by the executive. I further hope that the current administration, as with its predecessor in the second term does not allow itself to be manipulated by Iran into an indefinite holding pattern to delay and extract greater concession while the clock on the breakout capacity continues to tick."
 
Churchill quote: "There is no greater mistake than to suppose that platitudes, smooth words, and timid policy offer a path to safety". "It should be clear that unless we impose the maximum pressure on Iran, and this bill is a major step forward in that direction, the regime will continue its march toward acquiring nuclear weapons, dominating the Persian Gulf, and expanding its network of radical militants around the world. We still have time to act, but we must do so quickly."

Ackerman (D-NY)

 
It is "vital to force Iran to pay a price--some price--any price" for its actions.  "The world needs to know the United States Congress is dead serious about sanctions should diplomacy fail."  However, sanctions will not be sufficient to force Iran to change.  "Iran's thugocracy" sees nuclear arms as their ultimate power. "If you don't want war, it seems to me, that you must back the toughest possible sanctions." Engagement leaves too much initiative in Iran's hands, so in terms of sanctions Ackerman "would want them to be absolutely suffocating."  We must pursue engagement, have sanctions ready, and emphasize our relationships with friendly states in the Middle East
 
Burton (R-IN)

Asked if the other committees will work with the Foreign Affairs committee to bring this to the floor expeditiously.
 
Berman (D-CA)
 
Replied that he will do everything in his power to sure this happens; he will not use the sequential referral process to delay the bill coming to the floor when he believes it is necessary.
 
Burton (R-IN)
 
Appeasement is not the answer--we pacified Hitler, too.  "I don't trust Iran."  "In the nuclear age, we can't drag our feet."  Burton basically implied that dragging our feet could lead to a nuclear World War III.  One of Iran's major goals is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.  They want to send nuclear material to Russia"The centrifuges are still spinning. They're working today to develop nuclear weapons capability...the longer we wait the more we risk a major conflict." Burton knows many Israeli leaders and he knows they want to protect their small country.  If we don't stop Iran, their actions could result in innocent deaths. It is essential that we get this passed as quickly as possible so we can work with our allies and the UN so we can start putting real pressure on Iran. Words alone will not solve this problem; sanctions are necessary. 
 
Sherman (D-CA)
 
Engagement should be accompanied by "immediate, harsh, and extraterritorial sanctions."  The administration needs to enforce current sanctions and we need several additional sanctions.  "We don't import oil from Iran, we only import stuff that we don't need and they can't sell anywhere else."  When the centrifuges are frozen, the sanctions will be frozen too.  Not a comprehensive bill, and not intended to be comprehensive. He wants to pass every possible usable sanction, including mining and milling equipment sanctions.  He also supports the inclusion of language targeting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in the legislation.
 
Pence (R-IN)
 
"I believe with all my heart that diplomacy and sanctions are not mutually exclusive."  IRPSA will strengthen the US's position in negotiation.  Iran is willing to effectively declare war against its own people. "If this is the level of violence that a regime in Tehran is willing to use against its own citizens, what does it tell us about the level of violence they would be willing to use against other nations?" Iran is a leading sponsor of terrorism.  Iran has deceived the world community over and over; Pence is worried about the possibility of other secret facilities and he supports the "strongest possible measures" against Iran.  We have talked long enough; it is time to take concrete steps toward the Iranian economic isolation.
 
Engel (D-NY)
 
In Syria we pursued diplomacy while enforcing sanctions and we can do so in Iran as well.  "This [hidden facility in Qom] is how a country conceals nuclear weapons programs not how it develops peaceful energy technology." Iran flouts legal obligations and UN resolutions, so we must create critical tools to leverage against Iran"While the rest of the world twiddles its thumbs, this is an obvious and very, very important issue not only for" the United States but also for Israel.
 
Smith (R-NJ)
 
The US supports Iranian citizens who support freedom.  Groups like Freedom House and National Republican Institution are working to promote democracy in Iran.  "Regional and global security depend on Iran having a stable government and society where human rights and the will of the Iranian people are respected." Smith has sent a letter to Secretary Clinton because he is concerned that the State Department and USAID are being too cautious of supporting democratic initiatives in Iran. The letter asks how the US is supporting the Green Revolution. How is the US supporting the Green Revolution?  With all this said, Smith believes nuclear development needs not to happen.
 
Sires (D-NJ)

Sires is a proud sponsor of this bill.  "This type of engagement is buying Iran more time to stall."  US government has been too generous; we need tighter sanctions now. 
 
Rohrabacher (R-CA)
 
Gives his wholehearted support but hopes this act does not provide a loophole for China to step into the void the US would create.  China is Iran's largest trade partner, providing missiles and other material to Iran.   "If we are serious about countering the threat that Iran poses to the United States and to its neighbors we will do everything we can to stop the Chinese communist party from playing the spoiler role" by providing oil, gas, and military equipment to Iran.
 
Connolly (D-VA)

Supports IRPSA because we need to "up the ante" and give Obama additional tools to strengthen the US negotiating position.  "The message to Iran must be clear: Stop stalling and negotiate a deal or there will be severe economic consequences." 
 
Royce (R-CA)
 
The administration has cut grants that support democracy in the region.  There are reports from Iran about death sentences and disappearing citizens; he is concerned over these cuts to US support of human rights.  Supporting human rights in the Soviet Union helped during the Cold War; we should make sure to emphasize human rights in Iran. "Smart diplomacy doesn't mean dropping any criticism of a regime's human rights abuses."
 
McMahon (D-NY)
 
The major banks have already cut funding and that did not work.  This measure will give the US the leverage it needs.
 
Paul (R-TX)
 
Opposes the legislation.  He does not challenge the motivation but believes the legislation is deeply flawed and will do more harm than good.  "Sanctions are an act of war", and Iran has a right to enrich for peaceful purposes.  US actions in Iraq had unintended consequences and we drove them into Iran's hands; similarly IRPSA will motivate Iran to work with China"You're deliberately undermining the dissonance there"--the sanctions will make Iranians hate us rather than the Ayatollah. "I think this is all going to backfire; we need to think in terms of the principle of free trade.  The more you put on sanctions the more likely you will be to fight with them."  "I don't understand your willingness to disrupt what the President is trying to do [with talking and multilateral negotiations]."  "I am disturbed by us...not looking at the unintended consequences...in the long run we will suffer, the people will suffer and there will not be more stability"
 
Green (D-TX)
 
Spoke in support.
 
Flake (R-AZ)
 
He questions not the purpose but the efficacy of the sanctions.  We've tied the administration's hands in Cuba--sanctions merely diminished the prospects of democracy there. "I do believe there is a case for multilateral sanctions. I simply want that to happen, and I question whether or not sometimes when we move too far ahead of our allies it makes it more difficult to pull them in. So I hope we have a large multilateral front that is more effective than these unilateral sanctions tend to be." He quotes Bolton (Republican political figure who supports the legislation): "No one should believe that tighter sanctions will in the foreseeable future have any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons program."   Clinton describes sanctions as "leaky". This is not an effective solution to Iran's emerging nuclear problem; we should not tie the administration's hands.
 
Woolsey (D-CA)
 
Hopes this legislation will provide space for the administration to pursue smart security.  She would like to bring international partners to the negotiating table.  "Let me be clear, our resources and our energy must be focused on a resolution based on smart security. [...] Smart security does not start with a gun pointed at you or a bomber flying over your city."
 
Wilson (R-SC)
 
"Persia has been hijacked by extremists...who want death to America, death to Israel." We should follow Reagan's strategy of peace through strength.
 
Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
 
Supports the efforts of the Department of State and the administration, but we must first support the people of Iran.  "It is important that it is clear that our concerns are with the government of Iran and not its people." The President and administration should have a full opportunity to engage, but sanctions could show the Iranian people that the US is serious about democracy.
 
Lee (D-CA)
 
Lee is equally concerned with nonproliferation and support Obama's efforts. "We cannot restrict the administration's flexibility by mandating unilateral sanctions."  These sanctions undermine Obama's diplomatic efforts and for those reasons Lee cannot support the bill.
 
Crowley (D-NY)
 
Expressed support. "This move gives the President the room he needs to negotiate while also offering tools if those negotiations fail."
 
Bilirakus (R-FL)
 
Full support.
 
Ellison (D-MN)
 
Ellison is asking for a delay in moving the bill.  "Ten months of diplomacy by the Obama administration has achieved more than 8 years of bellicose posturing, and 15 years of sanctions, and 30 years without dialogue...at this moment we need to give diplomacy a chance. So far President Obama's efforts have been working. There is finally some progress in dealing with Iran.[...] in fact, sanctions in Iran have not proved effective." 
 
Ellison is concerned because 1) Iran dodges them, 2) the international community opposes them (including Mousavi of the Green Movement, who says sanctions only hurt the regular people), and 3) increased sanctions may increase the power of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and lead to black market trade.  Ellison is appalled by Iran's human rights record but believes Congress should give Obama's diplomacy a chance.
 
"Right now Congress needs to give President Barak Obama's diplomatic efforts a chance before increasing sanctions. That is why I am opposed to marking up this bill right now. Diplomacy and efforts for peace are NOT naïve. In fact, after 30 years of no dialogue, 15 years of economic sanctions, we cannot expect that doing more of the same will yield a more democratic, civil Iranian government."
 
McCaul (R-TX)
 
We have provided a lot of carrots, but IRPSA will provide the necessary sticks towards moving forward with a nuclear-free Iran. "Are the enforcement provisions in this act strong enough?" Venezuela and China will be happy to provide Iran will materials, so we should not pass this bill and do nothing to stop Iran from trading with other countries.
 
Giffords (D-AZ)

We must work comprehensively to limit Iran's nuclear abilities.
 
Klein (D-FL)
 
"We are most effective when we work multilaterally."  However, now is the time to send a message to the world that there are consequences for actions such as Iran's.
 
Meeks (D-NY)
 
"Both carrots and sticks are important when you sit at the negotiating table.  I am supporting IRPSA not because I believe it is ideal, but rather because I want to send the message that all options are laying on the table"  Meeks would like there to be options in place but believes we should be pursuing smart, multilateral sanctions that affect the few who have seized control--not the people in general.
 
"We have seen encouraging signs from recent engagement by the administration, and I hope that the progress continues." He is convinced that the combination of a more effective sanctions regime which targets government leaders alongside measures that empower Iranian civil society seems to be the approach we should be taking in the long run - smart sanctions. We must ensure that we maximize international support; if not, there will be diversions.  We should not undercut Iran's opposition.
 
Berkley (D-NV)

A nuclear Iran is dangerous to Israel, the Middle East, Europe, and the US.  If Iran obtained nuclear arms, Saudi Arabia would compete with Iran and this would launch a new arms race.  "The Iranian president has denied the Holocaust while planning one of his own. So if we are serious when we say never again, and if we are serious about protecting ourselves from Iran, then we must stop this threat now."  We must not leave it to Israel to do the dirty work.  Berkley is skeptical that Iran will ever negotiate away their nuclear capabilities, but this strengthens the US position.
 
Faleomavaega (D-AS)

Supports the bill, though raises the concern that this may not help the administration's efforts to negotiate a solution.
 
Berman (D-CA)
 
He commits to transparency to Ros-Lehtinen in terms of his goals and timing with IRPSA.
 
7.  KEY QUOTES FROM THE DODD IRAN SANCTIONS HEARING
 
Compiled by APN's stellar interns.  The full video of the mark-up can be viewed here.
 
Dodd (D-CT)

"Today we gather to consider an important bill to confront a very serious threat to the security of our nation, the United States, to that of our allies including the State of Israel as in the Middle East and as well as in Europe. And that is the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran."
 
"It is clear that recent progress on the nuclear issue is attributable to Iran's leaders feeling the heat of increased international pressure and the specter of biting sanctions...progress will depend on that same pressure"
 
"Iran must finally come clean on its program and rejoin the community of responsible nations"
 
Shelby (R-AL)
 
"This afternoon we are again taking far-reaching but responsible steps to enhance the Iran sanctions regime.  Though Iran recently made some small positive changes, incomplete measures are not enough to stall action on our part."
 
"This legislation makes a clear statement that it's no longer acceptable for Iran to draw the United States and its allies into unending negotiations while continuing illicit uranium enrichment activities."
 
Bunning (R-KY)
 
"The danger of a nuclear Iran poses one of, if not the greatest, threat to our national security.  Its rouge nation continues to ignore 3 United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It is time for congress to act now.  The longer we wait, the more time Iran has to continue building up its nuclear program under the guise of diplomatic negotiations."
 
Corker (R-TN)
 
"These are unilateral sanctions, which means that at the end of the day they have almost no effect in reality as it relates to refined petroleum. For this to have an effect, an effect other than hurting companies that are actually in our friends' countries that are helping us with Iran.  Other than that it has no effect unless Russia and China come along."
 
"This is mandatory, and in some ways... it almost speaks to the fact that there are many people on the committee I think, that this is almost a vote of no confidence in the President to take a strong stance on Iran."            
 
Dodd
 
"My hope is that these sanctions never have to be imposed. That would be the best result of all...When [the Iranian government] sees us acting in a united fashion, my hope is that they will understand the depth of passion and feeling about this question.  They are putting ourselves and our allies at great risk by their actions. They're doing great harm to their own people on an hourly basis.  As we sit here, their people are paying a dreadful price because they seek the same universal values that we do as a people.  To me, this is a critical moment.  They need to understand how serious all of us take this issue. As for the administration, I'm confident that they do understand that this is an asset, and obviously the President has waiver authority"
 
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