Pompeo: Iran deal a disaster for America and its allies

“The president was so desperate for a legacy of foreign policy achievement that he pushed decisions about hard issues that affect our national security over to Iran and the IAEA and looked the other way.” From the office of U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican who represents the Kansas fourth district.

Pompeo at Heritage Foundation: Iran Deal is a “Disaster for America and Our Allies”

Says Congress must use every requirement under Corker-Cardin bill to hold Obama administration and Iranians accountable

September 9, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) today delivered the keynote address at The Heritage Foundation’s event, “A Path Forward: An Alternative to the Flawed Iran Nuclear Deal,” about steps that must be taken in order to stop the Obama administration from moving forward with the Iranian nuclear agreement.

“The president was so desperate for a legacy of foreign policy achievement that he pushed decisions about hard issues that affect our national security over to Iran and the IAEA and looked the other way,” said Pompeo, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  “Equally unbelievable is that the president then went against the law by failing to release the full agreement to members of Congress.  If we want to stop this deal and protect future generations of Americans from the dangerous consequences of this deal, Congress must demand that the president adhere to the law and show us the agreement in its entirety.”

Pompeo noted that under the Corker-Cardin bill, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the Obama administration cannot lift sanctions on Iran until 60 days after submitting the entire agreement to Congress for review, including the secret side agreements made between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  This means that because President Obama failed to release the full agreement to Congress as required by law, the 60-day clock has not started and the president cannot lawfully relieve sanctions on Iran.  Pompeo charged that the only way Congress can stop this “disaster of a deal” is to force the president to abide by his lawful requirement and turn over the entire deal to Congress.

Pompeo furthered commented, “I am encouraged by Speaker Boehner’s decision today to delay the vote and the new direction that he is taking on this deal.  I look forward to working with him and other opponents of this deal to ensure that the president lives up to the basic text of this agreement.”

The full text of Pompeo’s remarks is below:

The timing [of this event] couldn’t be better, in many respects.  Full disclosure as we begin today, I voted against Corker-Cardin – the statute under which many believe we are operating today in Congress, with respect to the nuclear agreement – because I thought it was a bad idea.  I thought it was a bad idea because I believed whatever the president would produce with Iran would ultimately be a treaty. I still think that is the case.

And I also anticipated that this day would come when we would not be able to use the devices that were established in Corker-Cardin to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, and that moment is now here.

In the intervening period, just two days after the agreement was negotiated in Vienna, I decided to take a trip to meet with the IAEA in Vienna. I had never met with them before. I had not been to Vienna since I was a young soldier stationed in Germany almost 30 years ago.

And we met with the senior leaders at the IAEA. It was there that we were informed about scope and the breath of two pieces of this agreement. We’ve referred to them as “secret side deals.”  The administration has referred to them variously as “non-existent,” “not secret,” and “unimportant.” 

However, they are secret, they are important, and they do exist.  No American has read this agreement. 

Members of Congress demand to see the text of bills that name post offices, yet today we are going to the floor of the House of Representatives, and Friday to vote, on a nuclear agreement that no American has read. The President hasn’t read it, the Secretary of State hasn’t read it, and Wendy Sherman has gone back and forth with respect to her knowledge.  She has said “the pieces of paper passed before me,” but I can assure you no American has read the final version of this agreement and had the chance to understand fully what the IAEA negotiated with the Ayatollah, who by the way has read this agreement and his people have done as well.

There are a million reasons to oppose this, but we are here today to talk about a path forward, and my proposal is this: Corker-Cardin requires the president to do a simple task. It says in exchange for us giving up the ability to argue that this is a treaty, we are going to ask for you to do a couple of simple things. 

First, show us what’s in the deal. Just like your mortgage lender demands that you disclose your financial assets and all the things he wants to know about you before he gives you the money, we ought to demand that the Iranians and the IAEA show us what is in the deal before we give them $150 billion to strike terror around the globe. Nothing more than that, it’s very simple.

We should, this week, vote and tell the president he has not completed his obligation under Corker-Cardin; therefore, we are unable to move forward on Corker-Cardin and vote on approval or disapproval in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Why does it matter? It’s because if, in the absence of a vote by the House of Representatives on Corker-Cardin, the president will be, under that same law, prohibited from lifting sanctions.

That was another key provision of Corker-Cardin. The history of course is under most sanction regimes, the president has the ability to waive sanctions. In some cases they are executive orders and he can wave them on his own. But Corker-Cardin made a deal. It said that until Corker-Cardin is complete, the president cannot wave sanctions. 

We now know, for the reasons I have described, Corker-Cardin is not complete.  So I am hopeful that the House of Representatives will take that path.  I think it’s an important statement about our power under Article 1, when the president refuses to do the things that he signed up for just 75 days ago. And I think it’s important for the American people to understand that their Congress is going to demand that when the president engages in national security — he says it’s historic, I agree, it’s the only thing I agree with the president on this deal about — when a historic deal is presented to Congress, that they have the opportunity to see all of the important terms of this deal.

Secretary Clinton said this morning that she laid the foundation for this agreement.  The president has spoken in that same way.  He has said, “I don’t trust the Iranians either. I want to verify.” And yet, many of the key verification provisions — including the history of the Iranian weaponization program for their nuclear capability — are hidden. They’re hidden in those very side deals that our Secretary of State was incapable of negotiating with the Iranians. That is to say, Secretary Kerry tried for a couple of years to gain access to these facilities to get them to come clean with respect to their program. He couldn’t strike the deal and he said to the IAEA, “You do it.”  When Sec. Kerry said that, I know he knew that if the IAEA negotiated that deal, that Mike Pompeo would never get to see it and that the constituents in Democratic districts across the country would not get a chance to see it.  He viewed that as an opportunity to pass a deal that lacks the verification the president told the American people it would have.

I spent most of Labor Day on the phone with folks talking about this set of issues, and there are a lot of people who are pretty depressed. We could see the Democrat vote count.  We could see that it was the case that they might have the opportunity to even filibuster in the Senate. Certainly the case, that we would not be able to successfully override a veto absent some major shifting of ground.

But we all need to be happy warriors.  There are paths forward.  There are tasks that this panel will talk about today that, no matter how the votes go this week, are imperative for America to undertake.

We have two pieces of this deal, each of which must be stopped. The first is the nuclear component. It is the case that we have to stop Iran from having nuclear weapons capability. The only way to do that, in my judgment, is a regime change.  This regime is intent upon building a nuclear weapon.  It doesn’t mean we have to go take them out with physical force.  It means that we ultimately have to land in a place where the leaders of Iran don’t do what they did just this morning.

This morning, as Congress contemplates this deal, the Iranian leader said that Israel will not exist in 25 years.  These are the people who our president is demanding that his party vote to give up the capacity to constrain.  We have to stop the nuclear parts, there are other tools available.

The second piece of this is that not far from where we stand today.  In 2011, the very Quds Force that will receive sanctions relief attempted to blow up the Saudi ambassador.  Go back and read the indictment.  They knew there would be hundreds of Americans killed when this task was undertaken.  And the answer that was given when the person who was tasked with carrying out the mission basically said, “Hey, you know there could be hundreds of people in that place when we blow up the Saudi ambassador.”

These are the people with whom we are negotiating.  These are the people on whom we have lifted sanctions. And so, Congress’s task tomorrow and the day after is to continue to put in place and use the tools we have to stop them from continuing their terror regime around the world.

In 25 years, my fear is not that Israel won’t exist, I am convinced that it will. In 25 years, what I am concerned is that Iran will control Baghdad and Sinai and Damascus and Beirut, and the Iranians will have struck terror with a nuclear capacity as a tool in their kitbag.  And my son, or his children, or family members of yours will then have to wage war — the very war this president claims this agreement will stop.  They’ll have to conduct that war against an Iran that is emboldened with a strong economy and with a nuclear capability.

These are the tasks that are before us. The pathways to success are available. We need to make sure that we elect leaders who are prepared to take them.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak this morning, I am happy to take a couple of questions.