Hearing Precedes Tuesday Hearing with Secretaries Kerry, Lew, Moniz

Washington, D.C. – Today at 9 a.m., U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will convene a hearing to examine the recently completed Iran nuclear agreement.  The hearing is entitled, “Implications of a Nuclear Agreement with Iran (Part III).”

The hearing will be the third in a series of hearings to examine the agreement.  Chairman Royce previously announced that Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will testify before the Committee at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28 at what will be the fourth in the series of hearings.  Information on the upcoming hearing with the three secretaries is available HERE.

Chairman Royce’s opening statement (as prepared for delivery) follows: 

This morning, the Committee continues to examine the Obama Administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran during this Congressional Review period.

Yesterday, Members of the House attended a closed briefing with Secretary Kerry on this very consequential agreement.  And we’ll begin to hear the case publicly today as Secretary Kerry testifies before the Senate. This will continue as Secretary Kerry appears before this Committee next week.

What’s clear from yesterday’s briefing – and reading the testimony of our witnesses today – is that the Obama Administration has its work cut-out making the case that this deal is in our long-term national security interests.  All of us want a verifiable and lasting agreement.

But are temporary constraints on Iran’s nuclear program worth the price of permanent sanctions relief?  And if Iran does cheat – they have on every agreement that I know of – could sanctions, developed over years be quickly put back in place?

As we’ll hear from one sanctions expert today, this deal eviscerates the sanctions web that was putting intense pressure on the regime.  Virtually all economic, financial and energy sanctions disappear.    This includes not only sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, but key sanctions on the “bad banks” that have supported Iran’s terrorism and ballistic missile development.

In return? Well, Iran is not required to dismantle key bomb making technology; it is permitted a vast enrichment capacity, and is allowed to continue its research and development to gain an industrialized nuclear program once parts of this agreement begin to expire in as little as ten years.  Indeed, as President Obama said of his own agreement, in year “13, 14, 15,” Iran’s “breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero.”

And with tens of billions in near instant sanctions relief, it defies logic to think that somehow this money won’t bolster Tehran’s worldwide campaign of terror.  With this agreement, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force – responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops – gets removed from a key sanctions list.  The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is a winner.  Hamas will be able to rebuild its tunnels faster and Hezbollah will get more powerful weapons.  It’s no wonder that Israelis left, right and center oppose this agreement.

Even more troubling, Iran – with the backing of Russia – won an 11th hour concession to remove international restrictions on its missile program in eight years and conventional arms in five.  Of course Russia doesn’t care – they’ll take in millions in arms sale – and the missiles won’t be aimed at Moscow.  As the Secretary of Defense just testified, “the ‘I’ in I.C.B.M. stands for ‘intercontinental,’ which means…flying from Iran to the United States.” Countries build I.C.B.M.s for one reason—to deliver nuclear weapons.

At the same time that the restrictions on Iran’s missile program come off, so do sanctions on the Iranian scientists involved in their bomb work.  This is a deadly combination.  “Iran’s Oppenheimer” gets a reprieve.  A German citizen involved in the A.Q. Khan network has his sanctions lifted.  It’s difficult to see how amnesty to nuclear proliferators helps us.

In our hearing last week, many Members expressed concerns about the adequacy of the inspections allowed under this agreement.  The Administration settled for a 24-day process.  But this week, a former top international inspector expressed great skepticism that this would give inspectors what they need.  And as a former CIA Director testified to us last week, our “national technical means [won’t] be sufficient for verifying this agreement. Without an invasive inspection regime, I would not… tell you…we’ll know enough to give you sufficient warning.  So that really puts the weight of effort on the IAEA’s ability to go anywhere at any time.”