Monday, September 28, 2009

Rep. Franks Calls on World Leaders to Act Now to Halt Iran's Nuclear Program

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Bethany Haley 202-225-4576

Franks Calls on World Leaders to Act Now to Halt Iran's Nuclear Program

Says Iran must not be allowed to progress one step further in its pursuit of nuclear weapons

September 25, 2009 – Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) gave the following statement today on the House Floor regarding the announcement today at the G20 summit that Iran has been covertly operating a 'new' underground uranium enrichment facility at Qom, Iran, in addition to the enrichment facility at Natanz:

"Mr. Speaker, more than three years ago, I stood on this Floor of the House of Representatives and called on the United States to clearly define its position towards what is now the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism— the Islamic Republic of Iran. I then called upon the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council because I believed then what Western intelligence has long suspected about Iran, and what it seems President Obama is just now beginning to realize: that Iran is systematically and relentlessly pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.

"Today's announcement at the G20 summit by the leaders of Britain, France, and the United States revealed that Iran has covertly been operating a 'new' underground uranium enrichment facility at Qom, Iran should remove all doubt in any reasonable person's mind about their inevitable intentions.

"It is disgracefully ironic that today's announcement comes only a week after announcing our abandonment of the European Missile Defense Site which could have protected the homeland against long-range Iranian missiles; and only one day after President Obama chaired a United Nations Security Council session specifically addressing the need to halt the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the world. Unbelievably, the resolution passed by the Security Council, under President Obama's leadership, omitted any mention whatsoever of either North Korea or Iran.

"But regardless of the Security Council's failure to explicitly address the real and present danger the peace-loving world faces because of Iran's nuclear ambitions, the fact is that Iran has already disregarded three previous rounds of Security Council sanctions and has continued to aggressively pursue a nuclear weapons capability, including building this underground facility, and testing the long-range ballistic missiles that would be used to deliver a nuclear payload.

"We have reached a crossroads with Iran, Mr. Speaker, that will result in one of two outcomes: either Iran transforms the geopolitical landscape by becoming a nuclear power that proliferates nuclear and missile technology to terrorists throughout the world, and then threatens the very existence of countries like Israel; or, by the world's inaction we place the tiny country of Israel in the unavoidable position of having to act unilaterally with military force to protect themselves and humanity from the threat a nuclear Iran would represent to the entire civilized world. We must not place Israel in that position, Mr. Speaker.

"President Obama's announcement today also offered no assurance in the fact that it a weaker statement than that given by Prime Minister Brown and President Sarcozy, who rightly said that 'we live in the real world, not the virtual world,' and that the real world requires leaders to make decisions and to act.

"With its languishing economy and literally centuries' worth of natural gas reserves, Iran's claim that it seeks nuclear capability solely for peaceful purposes is ridiculous beyond my ability to express.

"It's now open knowledge that for years North Korea gave false overtures that it would engage in negotiations over its nuclear program, while holding every deliberate intention to continue its covert development of a nuclear program. We are lying to ourselves and the world that similar overtures, if made from Iran, will be any less disingenuous. And the implications for our children and future generations are profoundly significant, Mr. Speaker.

"The world must act. As one former Israeli Ambassador put it, "The game is over." Iran is no longer progressing but has now reached the end game of diplomatic relations.

"Mr. Speaker, I favor every reasonable sanction and diplomatic effort to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities. However, ultimately I am convinced that there are only two things that will stop Iran from becoming a nuclear armed nation and proliferating nuclear terrorism globally in the future. It will be either a direct military intervention from America or other nations, or the absolute conviction in the minds of the Iranian regime that that will occur if their march toward gaining nuclear weapons continues.

"The world must act, Mr. Speaker. For the sake of freedom and all that free people love, Iran must not be allowed to progress one step further in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Thank you."

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