The only way to stop Iran from giving Hamas the deadly missiles it is firing at Israel now and keep the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power are tougher sanctions, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R.- Calif. said on Sunday.
In supporting his call for stronger sanctions, Royce also revealed that his deep distrust of the Iranian regime was shared by China. He recalled a recent private conversation with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, "who told me: 'We understand why America felt Moscow would be a rational actor [to negotiate with], why America felt Beijing would be a rational actor, and why we feel Washington DC would be a rational actor. And we also understand why Washington feels Tehran might not be a rational actor.'"
At a Washington press breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday, Royce told reporters that the "history of deception on the part of the Iranian government" requires increased U.S. pressure on the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
Joining with Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Royce co-sponsored legislation that would impose sanctions against Iran if it cheats on its obligations during the current negotiations on its nuclear status. The same sanctions would apply if, at the end of the talks, Iran refuses to permit international inspectors to verify that its nuclear program is not usable for weaponization.
Backed by nearly 400 of the 435-Member House of Representatives, Royce noted, the measure's companion version in the Senate, the Kirk-Menendez bill, "is very close to two-thirds of the Senate's support" if it came up for a vote.
But, he quickly added, the tougher sanctions are opposed by the Obama administration "because they are so close to a nuclear deal with Iran.
"We know about the 'zeal for a deal,'" Royce said. "We saw it with the North Koreans," recalling how the Pyongyang regime signed a nuclear agreement that would limit its weaponization and promptly broke it.
The Californian believes that "the same pattern of deception is now evident in the statements of the ayatollah, who says it is the responsibility of every military man to stockpile ICBMs." Royce also cited Iran's "work on supersonic refuges" and its delays and in some cases refusal to permit international nuclear inspectors into their nuclear facilities.
Royce also voiced his concern on the ongoing Hamas missile attacks on Israel, saying "who is the enabler for Hamas? Iran and Syria, with missiles that can now hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."
Royce focused his distrust on Iraq on Ayatollah Khamenei, who, in his words, "is like no other world leader. He doesn't talk to other world leaders, won't talk to the president or Congress. He made the decision on who the six candidates were to run for president [of Iran]. Public executions have recently increased and he speaks of eliminating Israel from the map. When someone says something along the lines of [Adolf Hitler's] 'Mein Kampf,' of eliminating a whole race, it gives one concern."
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