January 29, 2015

Shelby Statement at Iran Sanctions Markup

WASHINGTON, DC – Thursday, January 29, 2015 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following opening remarks during a full committee markup of the "Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2015.”

 The text of Chairman Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, is below.  

 “I’d like to commend Senators Kirk and Menendez for their tireless efforts over so many months in putting this legislation together.

“Earlier this week, we heard testimony from senior Administration officials and a panel of experts on the need for Iran sanctions.

"I will note that this testimony is in addition to the at least eleven other times that Administration officials have testified before Senate committees on Iran since 2013.  

“Yesterday, members also participated in a classified briefing on Iran sanctions, which covered many of the same topics of numerous other classified briefings for Members of Congress and staff on Iran.

“Moreover, this topic has been discussed and analyzed with the Administration in multiple settings.

“Both the Administration and its critics agree that it was the escalating pressures of economic and financial sanctions – many of which originated in this Committee – that brought Iran to the negotiating table in 2013.  

“In recent months, however, the sting of these pressures seems to be lessening in part because some of the sanctions have been eased. 

“What were supposed to be six months of talks began in late 2013 to address the so-called Joint Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program.  Since then, there have been two extensions of talks, and negotiations continue. 

“Furthermore, it appears that a third extension is likely to occur.  Even the President has stated that the odds of reaching a final agreement are no better than 50-50.

“There is a bipartisan consensus that more needs to be done to compel Iran to reach a final agreement.

“Congress must act without hesitation in order to show Iran that further delays will have consequences.

“The Nuclear Free Iran Act of 2015 that we consider today will impose new sanctions if, and only if, Iran fails to arrive at a final agreement by the negotiating deadline.

“The legislation would also allow for increased Congressional oversight of the nuclear negotiations with Iran by requiring the President to submit the text of any final agreement with Iran to Congress.

“This legislative effort is long overdue.  It is time for Congress to act.”