Menendez Speech In Strong Support Of Iran Sanctions Act

Menendez Speech In Strong Support Of Iran Sanctions Act

Menendez was member of conference committee that developed final bill aimed at Iran’s energy and banking sector, which passed this week

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), spoke on the floor yesterday in support of legislation he helped to craft to implement strong sanctions against Iran. Menendez was a member of the House-Senate conference committee that developed the final bill. It passed both the House and the Senate and now awaits President Obama's signature into law.

Below are Menendez's remarks, as prepared for delivery:


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jut1RN7u2LQ


Full text of remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of this Conference Report for robust sanctions against Iran. I was proud to serve with my colleague, Sen. Dodd, on the conference committee, and want to recognize the hard work he has done to create such a strong sanctions bill.

These sanctions will deter the threat Iran poses to U.S. national security because of its suspected nuclear weapons program.

I've been eager for these sanctions and, during the process, have advocated for the strongest sanctions possible.

I believe deeply that we must apply maximum pressure to the Iranian regime -- that it is a growing threat to the region, the world, and a threat to its own people.

In my view, tightening the screws on the Iranian regime genuinely advances the cause of stability and peace in the Middle East.

These sanctions are an essential means to that end.

The Sanctions

In my view, it's essential that we freeze the assets of Iranian officials who have supported terrorism...

...that we impose sanctions against companies that engage in oil-related business with the regime...

...that we monitor Iran's usage of energy-related resources other than refined petroleum, especially ethanol, to ensure Iran is not allowed to replace its current petroleum needs with ethanol - which would severely undercut the intent behind these sanctions.

We need the ban on trade with Iran to be strong, significant, and air-tight.

We need to press the Iranian government to respect its citizens' human rights and freedoms, to identify Iranian officials responsible for violating those rights, and impose financial penalties and travel restrictions on these human rights abusers.

We need to prohibit the U.S. government from contracting with those companies that export communication jamming or monitoring technology to Iran...

...We simply cannot allow the regime to restrict communications between Iranians and between Iran and the outside world as happened during the post-election protests.

We need to ban trade with Iran with exceptions for the export of food, medicines, humanitarian aid, and the exchange of informational materials...

And we need the targeted sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, its supporters and affiliates, and any foreign governments that provide them support.

I'm pleased to see that this Conference Report will ban U.S. banks from engaging in financial transactions with foreign banks that do business with the Revolutionary Guard or facilitating Iran's illicit nuclear program.

The Revolutionary Guard is now spread like a cancer through Iranian society and is involved in almost everything in Iran - and we needed to specifically target the IRGC.

Conclusion

Mr. President, the robust sanctions against the Iranian regime I will vote for today are a positive and necessary step to increase pressure on Iran so the regime fully understands that the world will not tolerate its deceit and deceptions any longer.

I will vote for these sanctions because they are robust, and in our national security interest and in the interest of the region and the world.

With that Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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