On May 29, 2014 Rep. Bentivolio of Michigan asked for and was granted permission to address the United States House of Representatives regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Mr. Speaker, I am gravely concerned about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and the status of the current negotiations between P5+1 in Iran.
As Iran has moved off the front pages over the past few months, I fear that the Iranians are becoming increasingly emboldened. With less than 2 months until the current Joint Plan of Action expires, we have yet to see real concessions from the Iranians. In fact, President Rouhani, supposedly a moderate, said just weeks ago that Iran will offer only transparency in a final agreement.
What good is transparency if Iran can continue to spin uranium and charge forward towards a nuclear weapon?
While the administration is responsible for representing the United States with the P5+1, it is important to remember that Congress has a very important role to play in this process. Congress has made it very clear that any final deal with Iran must lead to the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, and we must continue to reiterate this. It is unacceptable for the P5+1 to strike a deal that allows Iran any pathway to a nuclear weapon.
Additionally, Congress must continue to insist that Iran does not extend the negotiations and use them as a stalling tactic to advance its program. If the Joint Plan of Action is extended beyond the July 20 deadline, Iran must make real and meaningful concessions and convince us that it is not simply stalling. If Iran violates the current agreement or if it refuses to negotiate an acceptable final agreement, Congress must move immediately to impose dramatic new sanctions on the regime.
The administration must also remember that the implementation of any agreement will almost definitely require congressional approval. The President cannot unilaterally lift sanctions. It must come back to Congress for that.
So why hasn’t the administration kept us apprised of the negotiations? It cannot expect Congress to automatically accept any agreement it comes up with. Congress needs to be an active partner in this process.
I urge the administration to provide Congress with increased transparency and to consult Congress on elements of the deal. It is imperative that Congress plays a critical role throughout this process.
We must continue to insist that any final agreement with Iran ensures the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and that Iran has no pathway to a bomb. A nuclear-armed Iran would be a national security disaster. We must do everything we can to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and that includes a congressional role in the current negotiations” (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov/).
Congressman Bentivolio currently serves on the following committees and sub-committees:
Small Business Committee
Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations
Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation & Regulatory Affairs
Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations
Republican Study Committee (RSC)
Military Mental Health
International Religious Freedom
Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Congressional Problem Solvers
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission