WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the U.S. Senate begins debate on the president’s Iran deal, Sen. Orrin Hatch is continuing his opposition to the agreement.
While the upcoming vote presents the first official opportunity for senators to go on record on the agreement, in the months before and after the president announced it, Hatch has raised what his office characterizes as crucial questions and serious criticism about the details and the consequences of conceding so much to the world’s greatest state sponsor of terror, according to a press release Tuesday.
The release outlined what follows:
Timeline of Hatch’s warnings and statements on the Iran Nuclear Deal
March 2 | Ahead of the visit of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hatch warned against the threat of a nuclear Iran and urged the United States to threaten greater sanctions. | Release | Video
To demonstrate our solidarity with Israel, Congress should complement the Prime Minister’s address with the threat of sanctions that properly secure both of our countries against the Iranian threat.
We must achieve three common sense objectives:
First, we must prevent Iran from developing or otherwise acquiring nuclear weapons.
Second, we should reaffirm that Iran does not have an inherent right to enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and technologies under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Third, we must seek to reverse the development of Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure and bring Iran into compliance with all United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
March 3 | Hatch wrote an op-ed in the “Washington Times” titled “Standing with Israel in a Dangerous World: Partisanship Mustn’t Color America’s Support for a Strong Ally” in which he wrote that the United States must prioritize our relationship with Israel over efforts to negotiate with Iran.
Close ties between the United States and Israel are especially significant today given the grave threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Iranian regime — controlled by anti-American and anti-Semitic zealots — threatens to destabilize the region and is determined to “wipe Israel off the map.” Preventing such a regime from developing and deploying a nuclear weapon is critically important for both the United States and Israel.
Given this shared imperative, the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program have generated much concern both here at home and in Israel. News reports suggest that the United States and our negotiating partners are poised to make concessions that would undermine our ability to ensure that Iran remains without the uranium enrichment capacity and technology necessary to develop nuclear weapons.
Worse, the administration seems ready to agree that any deal would sunset in just a few years, after which Iran would be closer than ever to possessing a nuclear weapon — a proverbial turn of a screwdriver away from this devastating power. Such an outcome would prove disastrous for Israel’s security and the stability of the entire Middle East. We must not allow this to happen.
March 11 | Hatch signed an open letter with 47 other Republican Senators to the leader of Iran, warning against the consequences of circumventing Congress. | CBS Salt Lake Coverage
In the letter, Hatch said:
The Framers of the Constitution were keenly aware of the risks posed by unwise agreements with foreign nations. This caution is why they endowed the Senate with its significant role in subscribing to binding international agreements. Given the disturbing reports about the Obama administration’s potential concessions to the Iranian regime, this letter expresses our intent to use Congress’s legitimate constitutional powers to ensure the national security of the United States and the safety of our allies in the region.
April 2 | Following the president’s announcement that the administration had reached an agreement on a nuclear “framework,” Hatch spoke to KVNU radio in Northern Utah. | Salt Lake Tribune Report
A lot of people are very concerned that the president doesn’t know how to drive a really hard agreement and that’s a matter of great concern to me, too. (Administration officials) want an agreement more than they want to be absolutely right about it. I think President Obama failed to realize that Iran poses a really serious threat to the West and our response to that threat has to be equally serious.
April 7 | Hatch spoke to Fox 13 in Salt Lake on the early stages of the Iran negotiations and committed to reserve judgment until the official deal was released. | Video
Congress is very suspicious of any agreement with Iran. They are the chief sponsors of terror in the Middle East. They support Assad in Syria and Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen. In all honesty, they have not been our friends.
May 7 | Following the Senate passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Hatch released a statement explaining the importance of Congressional oversight. | Release
The prospect of a nuclear Iran poses an enormous threat to our national security and to the fragile stability of the Middle East. As the Obama administration continues to pursue a potential deal with this rogue regime, the American people remain justifiably skeptical. This legislation ensures Congress’s right to oversee and — if necessary — reject any such agreement. With this new authority, I will continue to fight for enforceable and verifiable means of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
June 22 | Following a report from the U.N. Security Council detailing Iran’s refusal to comply with existing UN resolutions and international agreements, Hatch spoke on the Senate floor about what the report could mean for our negotiations with Iran. | Release | Video
The lesson to draw from the Security Council report is clear. If Iran continues to violate its current agreements with impunity, how can we expect that Tehran will adhere to a new deal to suspend its nuclear program? This is a matter of plain common sense.
July 14 | After the president announced the Iran nuclear deal, Hatch issued a full response. | Release
For decades, the Iranian regime has been dangerous in its aims and duplicitous in its quest for nuclear weapons. Any deal that removes sanctions without robust means of ensuring the regime’s disarmament and compliance with its international obligations is worse than no deal at all. Empowered by the bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that we passed into law earlier this year, Congress must fully scrutinize this agreement and must not hesitate to oppose the deal if it endangers the security of the United States or our allies in the region.
July 14 | Hatch spoke to Utah media in a video briefing in the Capitol. | Video
The Iranians are people who have no been very trustworthy in the past. They continuously break agreements. We have to make sure that the elements you really have to have in this agreement are there.
July 17 | Hatch spoke to Martha McCallum on Fox News about the president’s plan to circumvent Congress with the deal. | Video
The American people understand that this is a dangerous thing. We also have to consider the feelings of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other friends in the area.
Aug. 14 | Hatch spoke to Good Day Utah on Fox 13 in Salt Lake, detailing his reasons for opposing the deal. | Video
I’m not a little bit concerned, I’m very concerned. Iran is the chief exporter of terrorism in the Middle East. How they can call that a good agreement, I’ll never know. There’s no real commitment for them to allow inspections the way we thought. They didn’t even bargain to get American hostages back. When you look at that agreement, it’s really pathetic.
Sept. 2 | Hatch spoke to KSL in Utah, again detailing his reasons for opposing the deal. | Video
The White House insists that this debate as a choice between their weak deal and war. Give me a break. That is a false choice, and it’s dishonest. From ‘secret side deals,’ to ‘self-inspections’ to the three week warning period inspectors are required to give before they can even inspect facilities, this is a bad deal that weakens America’s role on the national stage and endangers our allies.
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