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Lieberman, Bayh, and Kyl on Iran: "Whatever It Takes...Crippling Sanctions"

3:32 PM, Sep 25, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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These are the original sponsors of the Iran sanctions bill now before the Senate:

"The discovery that Iran has been hiding a secret uranium enrichment facility adds fierce new urgency to the collective, comprehensive effort to stop Iran's nuclear breakout.

"For years, Iran has cheated and lied to the world about its nuclear activities and its nuclear ambitions. Just last week, a secret IAEA report was leaked, describing Iran's covert nuclear weapons work. Now it has been caught red-handed once again. After today, the evidence all points to one inescapable conclusion: Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons.

"Given Iran's consistent pattern of deceit, concealment, and bad faith, the only way to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions is to make absolutely clear to the regime in Tehran that its current course will carry catastrophic consequences. We must leave no doubt that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to stop Iran's nuclear breakout.

"In the absence of immediate compliance by Iran with the IAEA and multiple UN Security Council resolutions, we must act swiftly and decisively to impose crippling new sanctions against Iran. In the Senate, an unprecedented bipartisan majority now supports the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act -- S. 908 -- which has attracted 76 cosponsors, including both some of the most conservative and most liberal members of this chamber. It is now urgent that our coalition move forward on this bill.

"As our former colleagues Senators Chuck Robb and Dan Coats recently urged in an important bipartisan report, President Obama must also reaffirm that -- should diplomacy fail -- all options remain on the table.

"Iran says that it has a right to peaceful civilian energy under the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). But the rights accorded by the NPT come with responsibilities, which Iran has systematically and repeatedly flouted. By their own actions, Iran's leaders have proven why the world cannot trust them to possess the nuclear fuel cycle.

"As the Senate unanimously affirmed in an amendment we offered to the National Defense Authorization Act this summer, there is now a narrow timetable by which Iran must fully comply with the IAEA and the UN Security Council. Unless it does so and comes completely clean about all its nuclear activities, there must be a presumption of bad faith against Iran -- including in its meeting with the P5+1 on October 1.

"Until Iran proves otherwise, we must assume the worst about its nuclear intentions and activities -- and act accordingly."

Excellent statement -- including that bit where they tell Obama he "must reaffirm that...all options are on the table." In any case, there seems to be real bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for Congressionally-mandated sanctions that are not held hostage to this president's naive focus on diplomatic engagement and the faith this president obviously has in his own powers of persuasion.