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Senator Tom Cotton's Speech on the Senate Floor Highlighting Senate Democrats' Comments on the Iran Deal

September 16, 2015
I feel, at times, as if I have exhausted my words against the nuclear deal with Iran.  I have inveighed against the wickedness of the Ayatollahs, their responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, their support for terror and their attacks on Israel and other American allies. It's the height of folly, weakness, and credulity to give Iran tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and put them on the path to nuclear weapons.

Indeed, I feel as if I can say nothing more than I have already said.  But fortunately, the Democrats who support the Iran nuclear deal have supplied cogent arguments against the deal.  Thus, rather than speak myself, I will simply let the Democrats speak, in their own astonishing words.


Here are the Democrats on the expiration of the deal:

"I remain extremely concerned that after fifteen years, the restrictions on how much uranium Iran can enrich and to what level expire and Iran will once again return to its current status as a nuclear threshold state with a breakout time of just a couple of months, if not weeks. It is disconcerting that Iran can achieve this status without breaking the rules or bending the agreement. To be clear, in fifteen years, Iran will be allowed to be a legitimized threshold nuclear state.

"My fear is that fifteen years from now, America and the world will face an Iran that sees its enrichment power as legitimized, that is wealthier and more economically powerful, and an Iran that is fortified with new weapons and air defenses as embargoes on conventional arms and ballistic missiles expire five and eight years from now."

  • Senator Gary Peters (Michigan)

"I acknowledge that legitimate concerns have been raised about Iranian activities after the first 10 years of the agreement, sometimes referred to as the "out years." During this time, Iran's breakout time could shrink substantially."

  • Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island)

"When key restraints begin to expire in 10 to 15 years—a blink of an eye to a country that measures its history in millennia—our country will still have to deal with an Iranian leadership that wants to build an industrial-scale nuclear enrichment program. That's a big problem."

  • Senator Rod Wyden (Oregon)

"None of us knows what lies 10 or 15 years on the horizon. I have deep concerns about what the shape of Iran's nuclear program could look like beyond this horizon."

  • Senator Michael Bennet (Colorado)

Here are the Democrats on Iran's financing of terrorism:

"Iran will still be disruptive in the Middle East and fund terrorist activities. This regime will continue to deny Israel's right to exist, the Quds Force will still be listed as a terrorist organization, and Iran will continue to exacerbate tensions with our allies in the region."

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)

"Let's be clear, Iran is a sponsor of terrorism and an abuser of human rights. This deal doesn't change that."

  • Senator Heidi Heitkamp (South Dakota)

"It is certainly possible, perhaps probable, that Iran will use its additional resources and access to conventional arms to increase its support for terrorist groups."

  • Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)

"I do share concerns about parts of the agreement, including how Iran could use funds from sanctions relief to continue funding Hezbollah and other terrorists around the world. It is clear that they have been funding these activities despite the crippling sanctions. And we are right to be concerned that additional funds from sanctions relief, or any other sources from other countries if this agreement is not approved, could be used to continue these outrageous activities."

  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (Michigan)


Here are the Democrats on Iran's continued nuclear activity and enrichment:

"With this deal, we are legitimizing a vast and expanding nuclear program in Iran. We are in effect rewarding years of their deception, deceit, and wanton disregard for international law by allowing them to potentially have a domestic nuclear enrichment program at levels beyond what is necessary for a peaceful civil nuclear program."

  • Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey)

"It is certainly possible that Iran will use its nuclear research or nuclear energy program to provide a foundation for a future nuclear weapon program."

  • Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)


Here are the Democrats on Iran's adherence to the deal:

"Iran is a bad and dangerous actor. We all agree on that."

  • Senator Barbara Boxer

"Critics insist that America cannot trust Iran. I agree..., I still have serious doubts about their government."

  • Senator Carper (Delaware)

"We need not, and indeed should not, trust the Iranian regime.  Implementation of this agreement may be challenging and we need to be prepared for the possibility that Iran will violate the agreement."

  • Senator Casey (Pennsylvania)

"When Iranian extremist leaders chant '?death to America' and '?death to Israel,' the first question we have is '?how in the world can we trust them to live up to an agreement?' The answer is: we cannot."

  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (Michigan)

"Even under the deal, we should expect that Iran will cheat when it can, particularly at the margins; that it will continue or even ramp up its destabilizing activities and sponsorship of terrorism with the additional resources provided by increased sanctions relief; that it will seek to breakout if the opportunity presents itself after 15 years when specialized inspections fade and many limits on its nuclear program are lifted."

  • Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey)

"Iran has misled us in the past when it comes to their nuclear program."

  • Senator Markey (Massachusetts)        

What a condemnation of Iran, what an indictment of this nuclear deal with Iran.  But this indictment comes from supporters of the deal.  Despite their own words, these Democrats have chosen to give Iran billions of dollars that will be used to fund terror and war and ultimately put Iran on the path to nuclear weapons.  So let there be no mistake for history about the consequences of these Democrats' choice:

  • When Iran detonates a nuclear device, these Democrats will bear responsibility
  • When Iran launches a missile capable of hitting the United States, these Democrats will bear responsibility
  • When Iran kills more Americans as it has in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia these Democrats will bear responsibility
  • When Iran imprisons more American hostages, these Democrats will bear responsibility
  • When Iran attacks Israel through Hezbollah's missiles or Hamas's tunnels, these Democrats will bear responsibility
  • When Iran kills Jews around the world in places like Argentina and Bulgaria, these Democrats will bear responsibility
  • When Iran massacres, its own citizens, these Democrats will bear responsibility 

President Obama and these 42 Democrats bear a direct political, moral, and personal responsibility for the coming crimes and outrages of Iran's ayatollahs. There will be grave consequences for them and for all of us.