The United States and its negotiating partners must continue to use the threat of strong sanctions against Iran to prevent the country from moving on to increase its nuclear capabilities Sen. Mark Kirk, who co-authored the Senate's sanctions legislation, warned Saturday.
"Lately, Iran has tried to backtrack on the promises they made to President Obama," said the Republican Illinois lawmaker in Saturday's weekly GOP address. "Iran now wants sanctions immediately lifted which would fund Iran’s terror subsidiaries with billions. Secretary Kerry testified before the Senate and said it would only take two more months to build a bomb."
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday
that Tehran will not accept a comprehensive nuclear deal unless all sanctions imposed on his country are lifted, state television reported.
"If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement," Rouhani said in a televised speech in the northern Iranian city of Rasht. "The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling the oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran."
And on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif
said his country is ready to resume nuclear enrichment "without any limitations" unless sanctions are totally and immediately removed at the end of negotiations.
"We can have the path of confrontation or we can have the path of cooperation, [but] we cannot have a little bit of each," he told TV channel Euronews in Lisbon.
Iran, as the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism, is not only trying to built its own nuclear weapons, Kirk said Saturday, but Iranian leaders have "repeatedly threatened to annihilate Jewish families across the state of Israel."
Four years ago, the bipartisan sanctions legislation Kirk co-sponsored passed the Senate by an unanimous vote, and the same sanctions forced Iran back to the negotiating table, he said.
"They were so effective that they dropped the value of Iran’s currency by three-fourths," said Kirk. "This was probably the entire reason why the Iranians even showed up at the negotiations."
Kirk insisted that "we must use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons," not drop the sanctions and agree with Iran's wishes.
The greatest challenge to peace in modern times, Kirk said, is stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
"After the Holocaust we promised ‘never again,'" he said. "We must keep terrorists from hurting our allies and our nation."
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