Rep. Ron Paul Assails Congress's "Virtual Iran War Resolution"
By Congressman Ron Paul
Today the Dow Jones Average was down 350-some points, gold was up $32, and oil was up another $5. There is a lot of chaos out there and everyone is worried about $4 gasoline. But I don't think there is a clear understanding [of] exactly why that has occurred.
We do know that there is a supply and demand issue, but there are other reasons for the high cost of energy. One is inflation. In order to pay for the war that has been going on, and the domestic spending, we've been spending a lot more money than we have. So what do we do? We send the bills over to the Federal Reserve and they create new money, and in the last three years, our government, through the Federal Reserve and the banking system, has created $4 trillion of new money. That is one of the main reasons why we have this high cost of energy and $4 per gallon gasoline.
But there is another factor that I want to talk about tonight, and that is not only the fear of inflation and future inflation, but the fear factor dealing with our foreign policy. In the last several weeks, if not for months, we have heard a lot of talk about the potential of Israel and/or the United States bombing Iran. And it is in the marketplace. Energy prices are being bid up because of this fear. It has been predicted that if bombs start dropping, that we will see energy prices double or triple. It is just the thought of it right now that is helping to push these energy prices up. And that is a very real thing going on right now.
But to me it is almost like deja vu all over again. We listened to the rhetoric for years and years before we went into Iraq. We did not go in the correct manner, we did not declare war, we are there and it is an endless struggle. And I cannot believe it, that we may well be on the verge of initiating the bombing of Iran!
Leaders on both sides of the aisle, and in the administration, have all said so often, 'No options should be taken off the table—including a nuclear first strike on Iran.' The fear is, they say, maybe someday [Iran is] going to get a nuclear weapon, even though our own CIA's National Intelligence Estimate has said that the Iranians have not been working on a nuclear weapon since 2003. They say they're enriching uranium, but they have no evidence whatsoever that they're enriching uranium for weapons purposes. They may well be enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, and that is perfectly legal. They have been a member of the non-proliferation treaties, and they are under the investigation of the IAEA, and El Baradei has verified that in the last year there have been nine unannounced investigations and examinations of the Iranian nuclear structure and they have never been found to be in violation. And yet, this country and Israel are talking about a preventive war—starting bombing for this reason, without negotiations, without talks.
Now the one issue that I do want to mention tonight is a resolution that is about to come to this floor if our suspicions are correct, after the July 4th holiday. And this bill will probably be brought up under suspension. It will be expected to be passed easily. It probably will be. And it is just more war propaganda, just more preparation to go to war against Iran.
This resolution, H.J. Res 362 [listed as H. Con. Res 362 online] is a virtual war resolution. It is the declaration of tremendous sanctions, and boycotts and embargoes on the Iranians. It is very, very severe. Let me just read what is involved if this bill passes and what we're telling the President what he must do:
This demands that the President impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran, and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials.
This is unbelievable! This is closing down Iran. Where do we have this authority? Where do we get the moral authority? Where do we get the international legality for this? Where do we get the Constitutional authority for this? This is what we did for ten years before we went into Iraq. We starved children—50,000 individuals it was admitted probably died because of the sanctions on the Iraqis. They were incapable at the time of attacking us. And all the propaganda that was given for our need to go into Iraq was not true.
And it is not true today about the severity [of the need to attack Iran]. But they say, "Yeah, but Ahmadinejad—he's a bad guy. He's threatened violence." But you know what? Us threatening violence is very, very similar. We must—we must look at this carefully. We just can't go to war again under these careless, frivolous conditions.
NOTE: This is an unofficial transcript of Dr. Paul's speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on June 28, courtesy of the DailyPaul web site; click here for the complete text of Congressional Resolution 362 (introduced on May 22, 2008) and here for the complete text of the companion Senate resolution 580 (introduced June 2, 2008). These bills are expected to come up for voting after the July 4th holiday.
HCON 362 IH
Mr. ACKERMAN (for himself and Mr. PENCE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Whereas Iran is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has foresworn the acquisition of nuclear weapons by ratification of the NPT, and is legally bound to declare and place all its nuclear activity under constant monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
Whereas for nearly 20 years, in clear contravention of its explicit obligations under the NPT, Iran operated a covert nuclear program until it was revealed by an Iranian opposition group in 2002;
Whereas the IAEA has confirmed such illicit covert nuclear activities as the importation of uranium hexafluoride, construction of a uranium enrichment facility, experimentation with plutonium, importation of centrifuge technology, construction of centrifuges, and importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon;
Whereas Iran continues to expand the number of centrifuges at its enrichment facility, as made evident by its announced intention to begin installation of 6,000 advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, in defiance of binding United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment activities;
Whereas the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran was secretly working on the design and manufacture of a nuclear warhead until at least 2003, but that Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon as soon as late 2009;
Whereas an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would pose a grave threat to international peace and security by fundamentally altering and destabilizing the strategic balance in the Middle East, and severely undermining the global nonproliferation regime;
Whereas Iran's overt sponsorship of several terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, and its close ties to Syria raise the possibility that Iran would share its nuclear materials and technology with others;
Whereas Iran continues to develop ballistic missile technology and is pursuing the capability to field intercontinental ballistic missiles, a delivery system suited almost exclusively to nuclear weapons payloads;
Whereas Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and a member of the United Nations;
Whereas the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have offered, and continue to offer, to negotiate a significant package of economic, diplomatic, and security incentives if Iran complies with the United Nations Security Council's resolutions demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment;
Whereas Iran has consistently refused such offers;
Whereas as a result of Iran's failure to comply with the mandates of the United Nations Security Council, taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations' Charter, the international community has imposed limited sanctions over the past 2 years that have begun to have an impact on the Iranian economy;
Whereas Iran's rapid development of its nuclear capabilities is outpacing the slow ratcheting up of economic and diplomatic sanctions;
Whereas Iran has used its banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran, to support its proliferation efforts and its assistance to terrorist groups, leading the Department of Treasury to designate 4 large Iranian banks proliferators and supporters of terrorism;
Whereas Iran's support for Hezbollah has enabled that group to wage war against the Government and people of Lebanon, leading to its political domination of that country;
Whereas Iran's support for Hamas has enabled it to illegally seize control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, and to continuously bombard Israeli civilians with rockets and mortars;
Whereas Iran continues to provide training, weapons, and financial assistance to Shi'a militants inside of Iraq and antigovernment warlords in Afghanistan;
Whereas those Shi'a militant groups and Afghan warlords use Iranian training, weapons, and financing to attack American and allied forces trying to support the legitimate Governments of Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas Iran is further destabilizing the Middle East by underwriting a massive rearmament campaign by Syria;
Whereas through these efforts, Iran seeks to establish regional hegemony, threatens longstanding friends and allies of the United States in the Middle East, and endangers vital American national security interests; and
Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it
- Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--
- (1) declares that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means, is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently;
- (2) urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority to impose sanctions on--
- (A) the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian bank engaged in proliferation activities or the support of terrorist groups;
- (B) international banks which continue to conduct financial transactions with proscribed Iranian banks;
- (C) energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; and
- (D) all companies which continue to do business with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;
- (3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program; and
- (4) urges the President to lead a sustained, serious, and forceful effort at regional diplomacy to support the legitimate governments in the region against Iranian efforts to destabilize them, to reassure our friends and allies that the United States supports them in their resistance to Iranian efforts at hegemony, and to make clear to the Government of Iran that the United States will protect America's vital national security interests in the Middle East.