Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) Addresses the #FreeIran2022

Video Message by
Senator Jim Risch (R-ID)
Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Committee

July 23, 2022

Hello. I’m Senator Jim Risch, ranking member of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

I’m honored to join you today to discuss the threat posed by the Iranian regime. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Iranian regime has emerged as the primary threat to stability in the Middle East. It weaponizes sect and religion, destabilize and weakens its neighbors through terror, proxies and violently quashes the aspirations of the Iranian people. The regime seeks to establish dominance over the Middle East in a way that’s, contrary to United States interests across several administrations, all efforts to bring the Iranian government back into the international community have failed. You simply cannot divorce the regime from its radical ideology.

On the nuclear front, talks remain stalled, and it’s clear the Iranian regime is negotiating in bad faith. It continues to dismantle monitoring equipment and insists on unreasonable concessions not related to the nuclear deal.

The Biden administration is endlessly stringing along nuclear talks and continues to present us with the false choice of rejoining the nuclear deal or facing an unconstrained Iran. At this late stage, the nuclear deal does little to contain its nuclear program, and sanctions relief will only supercharge Iranian terrorism. There are other policy options in our toolkit. It’s time to walk away from these talks.

So where does that leave us? It’s clear the Iranian regime is a pariah that will never return to the international community under its current leadership. To that end, we must use economic and diplomatic pressure and increased regional deterrence to address all aspects of the regime’s conduct.

First, we must enforce sanctions and close sanctions loopholes. While the administration announced additional sanctions against oil smugglers and Chinese purchases of Iranian oil, more must be done. Recent Russian outreach to Iran to strike oil deals is highly problematic given oil prices. We must step up our economic pressure. On the diplomatic front, the center of the Iranian regime at the IAEA board of governors’ meeting was a good start. As Iran continues to resist the IAEA’s legitimate oversight functions, we should hit the regime with more stronger sensors.

Additionally, Iran must become a renewed topic of discussion at the UN Security Council. Our European allies are coming to terms with the failure of nuclear negotiations and will join us in other international efforts at the UN. The recent revelation that Iran is providing Russia with armed drones to use against Ukraine is yet another call to action. There is also a deterrence component to this equation. Despite recent attacks against our consulates and troops, this administration has not responded militarily to an attack since early 2021. The Iranian regime must understand in no uncertain terms that violence against Americans and others in the region is unacceptable. It is also a sign of desperation as the regime clings to power.

Finally, we must look for ways to support the aspirations of the Iranian people. The regime has failed to deliver prosperity for its citizens. Instead, it has brought the economy to the brink of collapse and isolated the Iranian people from the world stage. Innocent Iranians have suffered far too long and deserve the right to pursue peaceful, prosperous lives. Thank you for allowing me to visit with you today and for your work to raise awareness of such an important issue.