Floor and Committee Statements

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Floor Speech- Iran Nuclear Agreement

Mr. President. I will go through all the due diligence provided for in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. I want to commend Senator Corker and Senator Cardin on the outstanding work they did to ensure the American people would have oversight and that Congress would have a vote on this deal. But I want to be sure we have a vote on this deal that is meaningful and not superficial.

I'm extremely concerned that the president will say in answer to people who condemn the agreement, ‘Well, if you don't like it, what would you do differently?’ or ‘It's this agreement or war.’

We need to do our responsibility. It's not a choice of this agreement or war. It's a choice of doing this agreement or doing the right thing for the American people.

As a businessperson, I learned a long time ago the best deals I ever made were the ones I walked away from before I closed them. The worst deals are the ones when my arm was behind my back and somebody said ‘Oh just get it out of the way and do it.’ Every one of those were bad. Every one of the ones I walked away from and was asked back to the table were good for a simple reason -- if you can't play hard to get in a negotiation, you’re going to be easy to get.

Teddy Roosevelt once said ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick’ and he was right. Unfortunately, this administration walked loudly and carried no stick at all. …

We reversed roles. The largest super power in the world lost its clout and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian government gained theirs just because they were willing to walk away from the table.

And then the trigger – at eight to eight and a half years – and as that time passes, the Iranians will begin to resume fissile nuclear material development. They’ll do some of their planning for strategic missiles when some of the restrictions of the agreement that take place in the beginning go away. Working towards an end where, at the end of two years, any agreement that would limit nuclear weapons breakout by the Iranian regime would be ended.

The Iran negotiations started out as a deal to keep the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon, stop nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and not allow the Middle East to become a nuclear armed camp. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this will not happen if this agreement is adopted in the form that I understand it to be. So when the president says ‘What would you do? Would you fight a war?’ I would say ‘No, I’d go back to the table.’

All those triggers along the way in the agreement are just steps toward allowing Iran to become what we said we didn't want Iran to be -- a nuclear armed power -- and potentially would allow the Middle East to go through nuclear proliferation. I'm afraid this is a staged platform from which this is exactly what will happen.

I will listen to every word by the administration. I will go to every briefing. I will do my due diligence as a senator of the United States and a representative of the people of Georgia.

When I cast a vote it is going to be in the best interest of my children and grandchildren and yours. It’s going to be making the best deal we can make for the American people, it’s doing everything we can to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons and doing everything we can to make sure those who say ‘death to America’ before every speech understand that America is the greatest democracy on the face of this Earth.

We will walk softly but we will carry a big stick and we will insist on negotiations that are good not just for the other side but for the American people as well.

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