Washington, DC-U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, ranking member of the MiddleEast and South Asia Subcommittee, voted today for further sanctions against Iran and denounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a speech on floor of the U.S. House. Below are excerpts from Pence's speech, followed by the full text:
Excerpts "Let me be clear, if our colleagues have no other reason to support H.R.1400 we can look to the rhetoric and the statements in the past 48 hoursof President Ahmadinejad. He is a destabilizing force leading a threatening country and gave evidence of that repeatedly in statements on American television, Columbia University, and I expect at the U.N.today."
"Yet his musings are as clear and as threatening as those musings written in a prison cell in the 1930's, Mein Kampf. This is a man on amisguided mission. This is a dangerous and deluded leader. We ignorehis intents at our peril."
"While his speech at Columbia University yesterday was described as a rambling speech by the New York Times that meandered from science and religion, to the creation of human beings, it was his claim that he was a 'peaceful man,' that Iran possessed, as he made some mention to, a thriving Jewish community. And his claim that Iran was a country where no homosexuals live."
"I thank the ranking member and the distinguished chairman of this committee for their extraordinary and visionary work in bringing H.R.1400 to the floor of this Congress to enhance United States diplomatic efforts with respect to Iran by imposing additional economic sanctions against Iran.
"As the ranking member and my other senior colleagues have described, this legislation would continue an expanding effort to confront Iran's rhetoric and reality, in a manner both diplomatic and economic.
"The reasons to do so are legion. Iran, for instance, denies the Holocaust and hosted a Holocaust denying conference which aired on Arab television across the region. President Ahmadinejad, as I will describein a moment, has repeatedly advocated 'wiping Israel off the map.' Their headlong and reckless pursuit of a nuclear weapons program ominously would enable them to do that in a matter of minutes when combined with their missile technology.
"Iran supplies and trains insurgents fighting U..S Forces and Iraqi Forces in Iraq, as General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker and the physical evidence and the incarceration of Iranian intelligence now in Baghdad now attest.
"Iran supports Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations. But I want to speak specifically to yesterday and today's events involving the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who arrived yesterday for a forum at Columbia University and an address at the United Nations today.
"Let me be clear, if our colleagues have no other reason to support H.R.1400 we can look to the rhetoric and the statements in the past 48 hours of President Ahmadinejad. He is a destabilizing force leading a threatening country and gave evidence of that repeatedly in statements on American television, Columbia University, and I expect at the U.N.today.
"Ahmadinejad veers regularly between the deadly and the bizarre. He is perhaps best known for the menacing statements about advocating the elimination the state of Israel. But at last year's address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Ahmadinejad told an Iranian cleric that he had felt the hand of God in entrancing world leaders as he addressed that body.
"All of these various threats and outrages are delivered with a trademark eerie grin, which would be easy to dismiss as the rantings of a madman were he not vested with the power of a head of state.
"Yet his musings are as clear and as threatening as Mein Kampf in the1930's. This is a man on a misguided mission. This is a dangerous and deluded leader. We ignore his intents at our peril. "While his speech at Columbia University yesterday was described as a rambling speech by the New York Times that meandered from science and religion, to the creation of human beings, it was his claim that he wasa 'peaceful man,' that Iran possessed, as he made some mention to, a thriving Jewish community. And his claim that Iran was a country where no homosexuals live.
"For me, I cannot decide which of those statements was more Orwellian or more offensive to reality or to western respect for individual liberty. But they do give us a window into the mindset of a leader.
"Mr. Speaker, I believe no terrorist despot deserves an Ivy League forum, and have said so. On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Ahmadinejad refused to address what we all know to be true, his forces and weaponry, as I have said before are directly implicated in the deaths of American forces in Iraq. That would have been reason enough to deny him the podium.
"Now we're occasionally told and maybe some will hesitate to support this legislation today because Ahmadinejad is not in charge. Some believe a relatively moderate group of clerics are the real power in Iran. But at a military parade just Saturday, the supreme leaderAyatollah Khomeini, allegedly a moderate in some versions, had a banner displayed alongside him that read, 'The Iranian nation is ready to bring any oppressive power to its knees.' Clearly, this threatening posture is deep-seated, it is not focused on one man.
"I think as we argue today for H.R. 1400, to bring additional economic sanctions against Iran, we should look at the man who is the leader of the country. H.R. 1400 is sponsored by our distinguished chairman and ranking minority member is the reasonable step of imposing additional economic sanctions against Iran. Let me say, I believe that it is imperative that we must continue to use every tool in our power to pressure and isolate this dangerous and threatening regime.
"The people of the United States of America, the U.N. Security Council, our neighbors and allies in the region also need to be prepared to keep all options on the table as we confront this regime. It is my hope that H.R. 1400, with its diplomatic and economic initiative will prevail and bring Iran back from the nuclear brink. That will be my prayer. We must remain committed to the notion that this nation and this leader in Iran must not be permitted to come in to possession of a usable nuclearweapon."