August 05, 2015

Shelby Statement on the Implications of Sanctions Relief under the Iran Agreement

WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday, August 5, 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 hearing on “The Implications of Sanctions Relief under the Iran Agreement.”
The text of Chairman Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, is below.  
“Much has changed since the Committee held its hearing on Iran and marked-up an economic sanctions bill drafted by Senators Kirk and Menendez. 
“Since then, there has been a nuclear agreement with Iran, albeit after numerous delays.
“Many serious concerns have been raised regarding this deal, including, first and foremost, whether it would actually prevent Iran from continuing on its dangerous path to a nuclear weapon. 
“Although a deal has been reached, fundamental problems remain with Iran, the country upon whose assurances the deal rests.
“Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. 
“It remains a serious risk to the national security interests of the United States. 
“It remains a constant threat to the survival of Israel. 
“And, despite these grave concerns, it will remain a country with the capability to enrich uranium.
“Under these circumstances, it is critical that Congress conduct a thorough review of the agreement as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
“As part of this review, the Banking Committee will focus specifically on analyzing the sanctions relief provided in the nuclear agreement, and the implications of taking such actions.
“There is general agreement that the pressure of sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table.  Therefore, Congress must consider carefully the repercussions of lifting those sanctions on our national security and economic interests.
“In recent weeks, many of my colleagues – on both sides of the aisle – have expressed skepticism over several aspects of the agreement. 
“For example, the relief provided to Iran under this deal would allow it to rejoin the international economic system.  Over time, this would give Iran the financial means to increase its support of terrorism and regional destabilization.
“In addition, the mechanism for re-imposing the harshest sanctions, should Iran not comply with parts of the deal, may prove ineffective except in the most extreme cases of violation. 
“Many view it as Iran’s ‘license to cheat,’ as long as such cheating falls just short of a significant violation of the agreement.
“Financial sanctions have become a critical tool of U.S. foreign policy, and they are an important part of this Committee’s jurisdiction.
“In fact, over initial administration objections, this Committee was instrumental in imposing the sanctions that brought Iran to negotiations in the first place.
“I believe that it is essential for U.S. sanctions law and policy to continue to evolve to meet any new security challenges presented by Iran.
“The Committee will hear from two panels today. 
“On our first panel, we will hear from the administration’s lead negotiator of the agreement and its lead sanctions expert.
“Following this, the Committee will receive testimony from a panel of experts who have studied the agreement extensively, including officials from the previous administration.”