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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Berman: “Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear-weapons capability, and its nuclear-weapons program must end once and for all.”
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke out in strong support of a Congressional Resolution he co-authored that passed the House of Representatives opposing Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability.
Berman, the lead Democratic sponsor of H. Res. 568, managed the congressional debate alongside his Republican counterpart, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Tuesday.
Rep. Berman delivered the below remarks during the congressional debate on the resolution:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 568 which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the importance of preventing the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
This resolution is extremely timely as next week the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany will once again sit down with Iran to negotiate cessation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
What better time for this body to send an unambiguous message that Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear-weapons capability, and that its nuclear-weapons program must end once and for all. That’s exactly what this resolution does.
The United States must continue to take the lead in preventing Iran from obtaining the capability to build a nuclear weapon. If Iran were to achieve that capability, neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Egypt would want that capability as well. Others in the region would begin to defer to Iran as if it already were a nuclear power. And, worst of all, once Iran acquires the capability, it would be able to build an actual nuclear weapon so quickly that we might not be able to stop it.
Stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability is not simply an American priority but a global responsibility. And I want to be straightforward about my view: a regime that brutalizes its own people; trains, arms, and dispatches terrorist proxies; props up the repugnant Assad dictatorship; denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map; and incites violence against Americans should never be allowed to reach the nuclear threshold.
The urgent nature of the Iranian nuclear threat demands that the United States work with our allies to do everything possible--diplomatically, politically, and economically--to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. No option, as the President has said, can be taken off the table.
Mr. Speaker, the policy of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability is not unfamiliar to the House of Representatives. Since 2009, we have passed five bills expressing Congressional support for this policy. These bills have been supported by nearly every member of the House.
The resolution before us today reminds us, as well as the world, how Iran has flaunted its flagrant disregard for UN Security Council resolutions, is an active state sponsor of terrorism, has engaged in serious human rights abuses against its own citizens, and plotted a heinous terrorist attack on American soil.
This resolution also reminds us of the urgency, as well as the seriousness, of the nuclear issue. And so, as the window is closing, we send a clear message that the House is aligned with the Administration in thoroughly rejecting containment – a policy that would have us sit back and watch Iran get the bomb, then try to contain it as we contained the Soviet Union. In fact, we have no choice but to stop Iran’s nuclear-weapons program before it ever reaches that point.
Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to support this important resolution, and I reserve the balance of my time.