12.15.09

Supporting the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

I thank the gentleman. I will be very brief.

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to add to the comments that my colleagues have made in their segue to the bill that follows the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, which is the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act.

I am a strong supporter of this legislation. I commend my colleagues, Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, for their leadership on this issue.

One of the most serious threats facing our country is the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. This is an oppressive regime, one that has threatened to wipe one of its neighbors off the map. The possession of a nuclear bomb by Iran is enormously dangerous in its own regard, but it is all the more destabilizing in its potential of starting a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The President has offered carrots and the international community has offered carrots to Iran to step back from its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The Congress today takes an important step to make sure that there are sticks which are offered as well if Iran refuses the very generous offer by the international community to reprocess uranium--to provide it for peaceful energy purposes, to have Iran send its uranium out of the country so that it can be put in a form where it cannot be used for nuclear weapons.

This legislation, which will potentially crack down on Iran's ability to refine its petroleum, will put the most severe pressure on the Iranian regime to back away from a program that time and again we have seen it pursue, as much as it has declared to the contrary. So this legislation, I think more so than any other, will put teeth in a regime of sanctions, will put pressure on Iran to back away from its nuclear bomb-making efforts, and in so doing, will inure to the safety of our own country, to the safety of Israel and to the entire region.

So I thank the chairman for his leadership on this. I urge my colleagues to support the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act.