FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
Marie Gordon, 770-661-0999
Isakson Urges Colleagues to Join Him in Rejecting Iran Deal
‘A vote against the Iran deal is a vote of strength’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today kicked off the debate on the Senate floor regarding President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran and urged his colleagues to join him in rejecting the deal.
In his speech, Isakson highlighted the gravity of the coming vote on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and he took exception to President Obama’s assertion that a vote against the nuclear deal is a vote for war. Additionally, Isakson expressed his outrage that the president has not submitted the side agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran to Congress for review. He argued that the “anytime, anywhere” inspections that were promised by the administration to be a prerequisite to any agreement had been tossed aside, rendering the agreement unenforceable.
Finally, Isakson argued that Democrats in the Senate would be obstructing democracy if they attempt to block a full Senate vote on the president’s agreement with Iran. The American people deserve to know where their Senators stand, Isakson said.
Excerpts from Isakson’s floor speech are below.
Importance of the vote: “I will begin today the debate of the most consequential vote I will ever take as an elected official. Certainly in my 41 years of public service, I have never had a decision to make as serious, as complex, and as meaningful as the decision we will make on the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the administration and the president. I rise in my opposition to that agreement and to explain why I will vote against it.”
A vote against this deal is a vote for strength: “…A vote against [the president’s deal with Iran] is a vote of strength,” he argued. “A vote for this deal is an appeasement of the Iranian regime, to the Iranian ayatollah, and to a group of people who have not been trustworthy in negotiations with our country for the past 40 years. … [To support this agreement would be] a vote against strength and for appeasement when in fact, there has never been a time more important for the United States of America to be strong than today. …Bodies of young Syrian children are washing up on the shore of the Mediterranean. The Russians have established a beachhead in Crimea, Ukraine and now in the Arctic. Last week our president went to Alaska and the Chinese sent five ships off the coast just to wave the Chinese flag in the face of our president.”
Side agreements: “I have not seen all the documents and we’ve now found out we never will see all of them because the addendums of the IAEA will not be available to us as members of the Senate.”
Lack of “anytime, anywhere” inspections: “Can we have inspections? Well, yes, you can have inspections, kind of, or sort of. Yes, you get 24 hours notice, then you get 24 days to approve. But then the Iranians will have say over who gets to inspect, and we do not have a part of that. That is not a fair deal. This [deal] can be cheated on too easily. That is far too easy for the American people and for the security of my children and grandchildren.”
Future generations and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons: “What about my children and grandchildren? Why are they of interest to me in this vote? Because they are our future. The young people of today will run these countries in the years ahead, unless there is a rogue nation with nuclear weapons that could disrupt the world balance of power. That’s just what the Iranians are capable of being.
“I want to make sure that I do not do anything that would facilitate Iranian use of nuclear weapons in the future. I do not think this deal protects us from that. And that is why I am going to vote against it.”
Threat by Senate Democrats to filibuster: “I think that is wrong. I think the American people need and deserve to know where each of us stand. The people of Georgia deserve to know where Johnny Isakson stands, what I’m going to do and why I’m going to do it. It’s not fair to the American people, it’s not right for the American people, and it’s avoiding our responsibility. To do anything less [than to have an up-or-down vote on the agreement] is wrong for America, wrong for our heritage and wrong for our future. …I have studied hard, I’ve worked hard to try and find the best parts of this deal and the worst parts of this deal. I find it fails in those five tests that I have given to it, and I will vote no …on the Iran nuclear deal.”
On Aug. 19, 2015, Isakson officially announced his opposition to the agreement. He also penned an op-ed articulating his position that appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sept. 4, 2015.