United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) co-hosted a panel discussion with JINSA on Thursday afternoon to discuss US policy towards Iran during the Trump Administration. Meeting on Capitol Hill, the session featured Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, former Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Stephen Rademaker.
While the Colorado legislator advocated for new sanctions at the international body to condemn Tehran, Bolton noted, “Diplomatically, it is very difficult to envision multilateral sanctions being effective again in the short term.” Therefore, the former US envoy called for regime change to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. At the same time, Kirk called on the President to declassify the agreement so Congress and the American public can have a transparent conversation about the controversial deal.
Senator Cory Gardner: “We should pursue new initiatives at the United Nations to condemn Iranian behavior and impose additional sanctions for their behavior and I have great confidence that our United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley will do just that. Most importantly, our new Iran policy must regain the moral clarity that the Iranian regime is a threat to the United States and to our allies and not a partner for peace and stability in the region.
“If we are worried about them launching another missile, they are already doing that. If we are worried about their ability to continue to try and develop a nuclear program, they already have permission of the nuclear deal to do that in just a few years from now. And so, I think retaliation is something that they are doing each and every day to mock the deal that they got and to mock all of us for entering into a deal that they got.”
“We have to continue to rebuild relationships, strengthen our bonds, and convince them that we oppose an Iranian regime that is built on terrorism, undermining our friends in the region and is built on fostering terrorism and unrest among its people. And so building those relationships, building those allies, we can continue to strengthen our sanctions efforts against them and build a coalition of nations that will follow suit.”
“There is no doubt the will of Israel to act in its best interests. We saw what happened in Syria when they attacked a nuclear facility. I would support that kind of effort and I think Congress would as well.”
Senator Mark Kirk: “The best thing that the Trump Administration can do is to declassify the entire agreement, publish it so the Congress and the American people can look at it and see the negotiating record and understand all of the terms as they were put forward by the parties. Going further with regime change, a policy of knocking them out of the Swiss system to make sure that the Iranian system is more and more unusable. Hundreds of Americans have been murdered by Iranian-sponsored terror.”
Ambassador John Bolton: “I think ‘on notice’ means the JCPOA is one heartbeat away from disappearing… The Iran deal is a one day agreement that we are renewing day-by-day. And it’s that close to disappearing entirely. And I think with good reason. I don’t think the Ayatollahs ever had any intention of complying other than cosmetically with the requirements imposed by them in the deal. Their nuclear weapons program continues in venues that we know little or nothing about. Their ballistic missile program continues in full view of the entire world and despite their stated objective that it’s to launch weather and communication satellites, it’s obviously a program designed to create delivery delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons.”
“I would have ripped it up in the early days of the Administration. The deal was a strategic mistake for the US. It’s not getting any better with age. A clear and unambiguous political statement that the deal is unacceptable would have been the strongest way to go. But we are getting very close to that as it is.”
“Diplomatically, it is very difficult to envision multilateral sanctions being effective again in the short term. We have to acknowledge in the wake of the allegations of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that we have a heavier burden of persuasion on coalition partners than we would have had before. The path to make it impossible for Iran to get nuclear weapons economically is now nearly out of the question. I think you have to got to look at other alternatives. We have to be blunt about it. People say that they don’t want the Iranian regime to get nuclear weapons and then you talk about some of the hard steps that we are going to need to confront and they say ‘well, we don’t really want to do that.’ Implicitly, the conclusion one has to draw is that you are content with an Iran with nuclear weapons.”
“My view is that is should be declared American policy to overturn the regime in Tehran because that is the only way ultimately that you will get Iran to back off from the pursuit of nuclear weapons. The opposition understands that this puts Iran in more danger ultimately than provides them security.”