Sen. Peters’ Floor Remarks in Support of Iran Sanctions Act Extension

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today in support of renewing the Iran Sanctions Act to extend the existing sanctions framework for 10 years. Peters is a cosponsor of the Senate version of the bill and has called for increased transparency in International Atomic Energy Agency reporting of Iran’s nuclear activity. 

Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. / Madam President,

“I rise to express my support for legislation the Senate is considering today that will extend the Iran Sanctions Act for 10 years, before it expires in just 30 days.

“I will be voting for this bill later today and am proud to have cosponsored similar legislation earlier this year. 

“The Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, is an important aspect of U.S. sanctions on Iran. The ISA was enacted in 1996 to tighten sanctions on Iran in response to its growing nuclear program and support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

“The ISA provides the legislative authority for many of the sanctions on Iran that were lifted, but may be reimplemented if Iran violates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

“These include sanctions on foreign investment in Iran’s oil and gas fields, sales of gasoline to Iran, and transportation of Iranian crude oil.

“Even though these sanctions were suspended by the JCPOA, we need this legal framework to address any Iranian violations of the deal so sanctions can be rapidly put back into place.

“Additionally, this framework maintains some sanctions that were not lifted under the JCPOA. The ISA still requires the United States to sanction entities that assist Iran with acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction, provide “destabilizing numbers and types” of advanced conventional weapons, or participate in uranium mining ventures with Iran.

“These provisions remain in place and it is critical that Congress not allow them to expire at the end of the year.

“I believe the Iran Sanctions Act has been effective and must be renewed.

“Tough sanctions were critical to bringing Iran to the negotiating table, sanctions like those in the ISA and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 which I voted for as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The JCPOA is the result of these and other tough, multilateral sanctions put in place through cooperation with international partners, but it is essential that the deal is strictly enforced.

“Earlier this year, I led a letter to President Obama, along with 14 of my colleagues, to express our concern about the lack of technical details published by the International Atomic Energy Agency - or IAEA - in reports on Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA.

“While the IAEA is the watchdog responsible for monitoring Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, it is up to the United States and other parties of the JCPOA to respond to violations.

“To ensure strict compliance, the IAEA should also publish technical details including the total quantity of Low Enriched Uranium in Iran and the amount produced at Natanz, specifics on Iran’s centrifuge research and development, and progress made on converting Iranian nuclear facilities.

“These details will provide independent experts and members of Congress conducting oversight of the JCPOA the opportunity to review the data behind the IAEA’s analysis.

“Iran opposes what we are doing here today, they will say that renewing the Iran Sanctions Act is a violation of the JCPOA. This is simply not true.

“Reauthorizing the Iran Sanctions Act in no way violates the JCPOA. The Iran Sanctions Act has been the law of the land since 1996, it was in place when the JCPOA was adopted, and it remains in effect today.

“With our vote today, Congress will make clear that the United States will not hesitate to maintain sanctions on Iran and those that seek to provide the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction.

“We stand ready to impose rapid and strict punishments for any violation of the JCPOA. This sanctions regime is how we hold Iran accountable, strengthen our security, and deter Iranian hostility toward our allies, especially the State of Israel, which Iran has singled out as a target for destruction. 

“Diplomacy is always our preferred course of action, but it does not work in a vacuum. It only works if it is backed up with credible deterrence.

“Today, we show the United States will continue our leadership against Iranian aggression - work that must continue in the years ahead.

“Thank you Mr./Madam President.”