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Rubio Warns Obama Administration to “Stop Playing Games” with Iran
Discussion at Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
October 3, 2013
Senator Rubio: I think in any negotiation the first thing we have to understand is: Who are you dealing with? Because I think that tells you a lot about the parameters of a negotiation and where it can head. So here’s who I think we’re dealing with. First, I think we’re dealing with a country run by a bunch of liars, because this is a country that’s gone around saying their program is peaceful and they will never develop nuclear weapons. And yet there are reams of open-sourced reporting in the media about the fact that multiple times in the past they have had an aggressive nuclear program. I don’t think anyone in the world now looks at what they’re doing and concludes that they’re not trying to build a capacity for weaponized nuclear capability.
Here’s another piece of evidence as to the belief that they’re liars. They say they don’t have any intent to develop nuclear weapons, but they’re investing a lot of time and energy in long-range missiles. Now what do you put on a long-range missile? You put a weapon. You put a nuclear weapon. It’s the only reason to have one. So they’re developing all these ICBMs for one of two reasons. They’re either planning one heck of a fireworks show, or they intend to put a nuclear warhead on a rocket and to be able to threaten the world with it.
And the third reason why they’re liars is because they admit to it. This is interesting. This is from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations. I’m going to quote from it. He talks about a 2011 book where Rouhani basically writes, and he quotes, “While we were talking to the Europeans in Tehran we were installing equipment in Isfahan. Now for those who don’t know, the Isfahan facility is an indispensable part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. That’s where uranium ore, called yellow cake, is converted into an enrichable form. Rouhani boasted – and he quotes – ‘by creating a calm environment we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.’ Basically he fooled the world once and now thinks he can fool it again.”
So number one, we are dealing with a bunch of liars. The second thing we’re dealing with is a bunch of really evil people. I know that’s a term that gets thrown around loosely, but here’s the evidence: They actively participate in the slaughter of innocent people in Syria and in other parts of the world. They actively destabilize their neighbors in Bahrain, in Lebanon, now in Iraq and in other places. They provide support to Hezbollah so they can fire rockets into civilian areas of Israel. Two years ago they tried to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia in this very city. This is who we’re negotiating with. We’re not negotiating with Belgium. We’re not negotiating with Luxemburg. We are negotiating with a government, a country run by evil liars. And when you negotiate with evil liars, all your lines have to be clearly marked out and the verifications have to be stronger. I mean we are dealing with some very dangerous people here.
And so that’s why I feel so passionately about being very clear about what our position is. I’m open to the comments of the people who are here today, because certainly you spend a lot of time on this. But I, for the life of me, do not understand why the official policy of the United States is not as follows: Number one, you stop enrichment of uranium. Number two, you allow the existing stock piles to be transferred and removed from your country. Number three, take down all of those facilities you have that only serve the purpose of enriching to weapons-grade, places like the underground, secret facilities that they have in Qom or the centrifuges in Natanz. And number four, you stop working on these heavy water reactors that are going to be used to produce plutonium.
This should be our offer. Our offer should be: You do these four things and then maybe the sanctions start to get lessened. But this notion of somewhere in between that, there’s the capability of leaving in place the infrastructure and the enrichment capabilities so that five years from now, eight years from now when they’ve now fully developed their ICBMs, they’ve now fully developed the ability to turn that into a warhead. Five or six years from now they can decide, you know what, we are going to get a weapon because – fill in the blank. They can make up any excuse they want. This is who we are dealing with here and there’s a precedent for this. This is what North Korea did. This is what Pakistan did. And this is what they’re going to do. These guys are going to get a weapon because they view it as security for the regime. They view it as a way to become the dominant power in the region.
And by the way, we should be scared of it not just because of Iran. A nuclear Iran will mean we will see a nuclear Saudi Arabia, we will see potentially a nuclear Turkey, and even potentially maybe one day a nuclear Egypt. And so I just don’t understand all this silliness about “we’re dealing with these guys; we’re going to sit down with them.” They are bidding for time. That is all they are doing. This is the bottom-law mandate that they have: What can we do lessen these sanctions in the short-term while continuing the slow, steady progression. Maybe we’ll slow down the progression, but they’ll get there nonetheless. Because ultimately if they reach a point where they can break out – they don’t have to break out, just the ability to break out – gives them a tremendous amount of leverage on the world, while they continue to develop their ICBMs for the fireworks show they’re apparently planning. Or for the ability to threaten the East Coast of the United States.
So I just hope that as policy makers, we start to take this – I know this committee does – take this very seriously for what it is. Stop playing games. This is a very serious issue. We are dealing with very dangerous people, who while they say all these nice things out there, their actions are clear. They’re assassinating, destabilizing – all the things that they’re doing. These are evil liars that we’re dealing with.