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Congressman Tom Marino

Representing the 10th District of Pennsylvania

Marino Grills Secretary Kerry on Iran Nuclear Deal

July 28, 2015
Press Release

Washington D.C.—Today, Congressman Tom Marino (PA-10), member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, attended a hearing entitled, Iran Nuclear Agreement: The Administration’s Case. Three Cabinet Secretaries, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, were present at the hearing to testify about the Iranian agreement’s contents.

Watch the video of Marino’s questions to Secretary Kerry below:

VIDEO: Rep. Marino questions Sec. Kerry at House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing.

Read the full transcript of Marino’s exchange with Kerry below:

Congressman Tom Marino: Mr. Secretary of State-we all know what Iran has done as far as giving weapons to terrorist to do Iran’s dirty work. What will stop Iran from giving nuclear material to terrorist-or more weapons? How is a nuclear Iran going to make the world and the United States a safer place? How is a nuclear Iran going to make American citizens feel safer?

Secretary of State John Kerry: Well the opposite of your question is to suggest that you or we can have any nuclear program at all. Now, y’all have a responsibility to show us how that’s going to happen.

Congressman Tom Marino: (interrupting) I’m going to show you how that’s going to happen Mr. Secretary.

Secretary of State John Kerry: President George Bush-

Congressman Tom Marino: You’ve answered my question, I’m going to show you how that’s going to happen. I’m going to take Secretary Lew’s words. The sanctions have crippled Iran. If we ratchet them up, and get our allies to ratchet those sanctions up, you can bring Iran to its knees where it cannot financially function. That’s how to do it-because it has been proved that it has been done.

Secretary of State John Kerry: Let me suggest- very respectfully- that you go spend some time with the intel community- ask the people who have spent a lifetime following Iran very closely- whether or not they agree with your judgement, that an increase in sanctions will in fact bring Iran to its knees. They do not. They do not believe that there is a capitulation theory here. And you will not sanction Iran out of its commitment to what it has a right to. Iran is a NPT Country. There are 189 of them…

Congressman Tom Marino: …and we have the right to protect the American citizens from this disaster, this country having nuclear power. Sanctions have worked. Are you going to retract statements made by Secretary Lew- and anyone else that has said it has crippled them and it will take them years to get surfacing again?

Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew: Congressman, if you’re going to quote me, let me speak for myself.

Congressman Tom Marino: No, I quoted exactly what you said. “It crippled Iran, and will take them YEARS to recover.”

Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew: The other part of what I said, Congressman, is that the reason it was crippling is because we had international cooperation.  We’ve worked very hard to get that, the parties that we’ve worked with have worked very hard to get that agreement…

Congressman Tom Marino: Look who we’ve worked with! We’ve worked with China, Russia…who want Iran to be in that position because it jeopardizes the United States!

Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew: The power of our sanctions is not going to have the effect that you want… that we want.

Congressman Tom Marino: I disagree with you. The economists disagree with you. The individuals that I’ve read article after article on disagree with you.

Secretary of State John Kerry: But congressman, we are absolutely committed that Iran will never get the material for one bomb. Not one bomb.

Congressman Tom Marino: You didn’t answer my original question Mr. Secretary. My original question was how is that going to make US citizens safer?

Secretary of State John Kerry: Let me tell you. I will tell you how it makes US citizens safer. Because, if Iran fully implements the agreement we have come to, Iran will not be able to make a nuclear weapon. And we have created an agreement that has sufficient level of intrusive inspection and verification, that we are confident in our ability to be able to deliver on preventing them to have enough fissile material for one bomb. Now, mind you that we started with them having enough fissile material for 10-12 bombs.  We’ve already rolled that back, that made America safer. It also made Israel and our allies in the region safer. Everything that we have done thus far in the interim agreement in the past 2 years has the world safer.

Congressman Tom Marino:  I’m going to reclaim my time, because you are repeating yourself. I have 46 seconds left. I hope that you are right because if not, you, the executive branch, and Congress have a disaster on our hands, and we need to be accountable to the American people.

This is an extremely important topic for the future of this country’s security, and the safety of the American people as well as our allies in the Middle East. I first want to ask you a simple yes or no question: In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget, as well as the National Archives and Records Administrations Directives, along with State Department policy, have you ever used a non-government personal email account to conduct official business?

Secretary of State John Kerry: No… I conduct my business on a government account. 

Congressman Marino is a member of the Subcommittees on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats as well as Asia and the Pacific within the House Foreign Affairs Committee.