January 13, 2014
Today, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett spoke on the House floor of the importance of giving diplomacy a chance to succeed with Iran. Next Monday, January 20, when our country honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Iran will roll back parts of its nuclear program as negotiations begin on a permanent agreement. Hope for a nonviolent resolution of our conflict with Iran will appropriately advance on a day honoring nonviolence. To prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to ensure the safety of our families, a measurable, verifiable negotiated agreement is the wiser course over the unknowable, unlimited risk of war.
January 13, 2014
Remarks by Rep. Lloyd Doggett
Next Monday, when our country honors an apostle of nonviolence, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Iran will begin reducing its nuclear stockpile. This important action is part of an international agreement to begin implementing the interim Joint Plan of Action that was announced in November. Hope for a nonviolent resolution of our conflict with Iran will appropriately advance on a day that honors nonviolence.
Some in Congress have been unwilling to accept these negotiations or to acknowledge that the Administration has been successful in uniting other countries around the world in enforcing sanctions against Tehran. Indeed, in what appears to have been largely a partisan outcry, some of our colleagues condemned the November agreement late on the Saturday night when it was announced without knowing what was in it other than President Obama had approved it.
As a Member myself who has consistently voted here to impose tough economic sanctions on Iran, I believe those sanctions have worked. The choice is not between sanctions and no sanctions. It is between recognizing that our sanctions have the potential to realize our goals and not give up on them without really trying. The Iranians are well aware that this Congress can act almost instantly to add even more stringent sanctions if they waver from diplomacy.
Can we trust the current Iranian regime? Of course not. That is why the painstaking task of verifying every operational detail of any final agreement is so important. If done with the thoroughness required, this is a task that may well take more than six months. But as negotiations for a permanent agreement get underway, we will have new, regular inspections to verify compliance—something we have not had in the past.
To prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to ensure the safety of our families and families around the world, a measurable, verifiable negotiated agreement is the wiser course over the unknowable, unlimited risk of war.
Those who would intrude on these fragile negotiations now only increase the danger of Iran becoming a nuclear-armed power. They would undermine the international coalition that has enforced the existing sanctions. And they would empower those hardline ayatollahs, giving them a pretext to stop progress, giving that to the very people who reject any cooperation and regularly demand death to America and death to Israel. Congress must not impede the diplomatic alternative to war. Ultimately, diplomacy may not be successful, it may not achieve a final verifiable agreement, but we should make every reasonable effort toward that end.
There are no more important issues considered in this Capitol building, undertaken by this Congress than the questions of war and peace. Just as I do not trust Iran, I do not trust war as the best way to prevent a nuclear Iran. And war is the true alternative offered by those here who would interfere or limit these negotiations. Starting a war in Iraq cost us so very dearly, and it did not make us safer. Let’s not repeat that deadly mistake.
Congress should commend Secretary of State John Kerry, Under Secretary Wendy Sherman, and President Barack Obama for their leadership through tough, persistent diplomacy through the wise use of American power.