Mitch McConnell

09/18/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2023 16:05

McConnell: Biden Iran Policy ‘Incentivizing Tehran’s Bad Behavior’

Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Iran:

"Today, five American hostages are on their way home from unjust detention in Iran.

"Unfortunately, the deal that secured their release may very well be the latest example of President Biden rewarding and incentivizing Tehran's bad behavior. Over the past two and a half years, the Administration's weakness and desperation have emboldened a massive state sponsor of terror and would-be nuclear-armed aggressor.

"Take the $6 billion the United States has reportedly just released to the Iranian regime. Administration officials have insisted that this money is subject to strict oversight and may only be used for humanitarian purposes.

"Iran's president, on the other hand, understands that money is fungible. He said, and this is his exact quote, 'Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs… and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.' End quote.

"Well, Madam President, we know quite well that the Iranian people's needs and the Iranian regime's priorities rarely overlap.

"For example, protestors continue to take to the streets across Iran to denounce the regime one year after the so-called morality police killed a young woman for not wearing her headscarf correctly. Brave Iranians are taking greater and greater risks to speak out for freedom from the brutality of a corrupt, theocratic regime.

"Meanwhile, as the regime meets these protests at home with force, its focus abroad remains on exporting repression, terror, and economic interference throughout the region and beyond.

"Tehran continues to accelerate its enrichment of weapons-grade uranium and stonewall international inspectors seeking the truth about Iran's weaponization work. Just last week, the regime barred several UN inspectors from conducting scheduled oversight across the country.

"The regime is racing to ramp up production of the weaponized drones it uses against Arab and Israeli civilians to supply Russian violence in Ukraine.

"Iran-backed militia continue to threaten U.S. servicemembers in Iraq and in Syria. Tehran continues to funnel resources to terrorist proxies - like Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza - that attack Israel. And the regime has even plotted to kill U.S. officials and dissidents here on American soil.

"And last week, the IRGC seized two more tanker ships in the Arabian Gulf and detained their civilian crews, part of a longer campaign to threaten freedom of navigation and the entire global economy. This growing threat has led the U.S. military to deploy 3,000 additional Marines to the Red Sea and prepare to put U.S. personnel on commercial vessels to try to deter Iranian aggression.

"By every measure, Iran poses a greater threat to its neighbors and to the United States than it did two and a half years ago. The Biden Administration's record of appeasement and squandered leverage has left America less secure.

"The urgent question now is when the President will finally decide to change course. Because so far, his Administration's obsession with reviving a flawed nuclear deal suggests otherwise."