Colorado’s U.S. Senator Cory Gardner joined me today to discuss the Iran “deal”:
HH: Joined now by United States Senator Cory Gardner from the great state of Colorado. Senator Gardner, welcome, it’s good to have you back.
CG: Great to be on.
HH: You’re on the Foreign Affairs Committee. How do you assess the outlines of the Iran deal so far?
CG: Well, I think today started with Russia, Iran and the Assad regime in Syria high-fiving each other. Any time that happens, I don’t think that’s a good position for the United States. I think we now have a deal upon us from the President that legitimizes Iran in the world community and destabilizes the regime, but with no change in behavior when it comes to state-sponsored terrorism.
HH: Procedural question first. Senator Graham just agreed with me that the Senate ought to cancel its recess from August 10th through September 7th to keep focus on this deal and help defeat it. What do you think about that, Senator Gardner?
CG: I think that’s an absolutely important step to take. I think this isn’t just a momentary time in history when we can say oh, you know what, we had a debate. This is a generational moment where it’s going to be affecting what we do in the next ten years, and what happens to generations far removed from now. And so this is absolutely critical that we stay here to fully vet this idea, to get every detail that we can, and then let the people in the Congress vote to approve or disapprove this supposed deal.
HH: Now your colleague across the aisle, Senator Bennett, is up for reelection. And I know you guys have got to be friendly, because you’ve got to serve the interests of the Centennial State. But do you expect he’ll support this? This is a disaster.
CG: Well, you know, again, I don’t want to put words in Senator Bennett’s mouth, but he did co-sponsor the Corker-Cardin legislation. And I’ll just leave it at that. I think anybody who learns the details of this deal, supposed deal, where you see sanctions that are going to be started lifting after 90 days, going to the United Nations first, this is a deal that expects good faith from Iran when it comes to inspections and access. Look, we’re expecting good faith from a nation that is funding terrorists in Yemen. This is expecting good faith from a nation that is funding terrorists in Hamas and Hezbollah. This is expecting good faith from a nation that just in the past few months attacked a vessel that was under the U.S. flag protectorate. So it’s incredible to think that we are going to get a good faith effort from a regime that has killed Americans.
HH: Now Senator Gardner, the effort to derail this will require a lot of people to be in a lot of newsrooms. And I’m not sure that the mainstream media is interested in telling our side of the story. They’ve been covering it wall to wall with Kerry and Obama today. Has anyone called you from MSM to have you on, to talk to a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who’s knowledgeable about this and make the other case?
CG: You know, we have been invited to speak on a couple of shows. I know CNN, we’re planning on joining them tomorrow, and I think there may be some others that we could not make today, and I’m not sure exactly who they were. But look, I think when the media actually gets past this sort of process moment, and they start looking at the details, they, too, will be very alarmed at the situation this creates in the Middle East, the nuclear tripwire, and the fact that in a decade from now, Iran will have a pathway that seems to be world approved for a nuclear threshold state.
HH: Does the Foreign Relations Committee have hearings planned where Senator Kerry and Secretary Monitz are going to, he’s the Energy Secretary, have to appear before you?
CG: Hugh, so I spoke with Senator Corker several days ago when there were rumors that there might have been a deal that was reached, and he talked about the number of hearings that we will continue to hold throughout the time, the lead-in time of this 60 day period.
HH: Now General Dempsey, outgoing chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed concern over lifting of the conventional arms embargo. It appears as though we’ve done that, too. I don’t know, because I haven’t got the deal in front of me. Do you have the deal, yet?
CG: We have 159 pages that was released this morning at 10:00. There are other annexes that are being released. And of course, we’re really trying to get our hands around what exactly this arms embargo is. Is it missiles, rockets, those kinds of things? And the time frame, there seems to be two separate time frames for the arms embargo. But listen, we’re talking about lifting arms against a nation, the arms embargo for a nation that is insistent upon the destruction of Israel. That alone ought to set people back.
HH: And uses the special IED’s to kill Americans, and may still be doing that in Afghanistan, for all we know.
CG: And we know from our conversations with our allies like Israel that this was quote unquote, from Prime Minister Netanyahu, that this was a “dance of porcupines in the Middle East,” and will set off a nuclear tripwire. That’s exactly what has happened as you will see a race to a bomb from other Middle East allies.
HH: Do you think you can rally Democrats? I mean, on the merits, this is a terrible deal, Senator, and you’re very persuasive. But there’s a partisan pull here. The President’s staked his presidency on this. Do you think you can unsolder them from him?
CG: I hope that over the next 60 days, the people in this country will raise their voices and convince enough Democrats that they should vote their conscience, that they should vote with the American people and with the interest of long-term peace and stability in the region and the world, and against a regime that has done nothing to change its behavior. Look, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger said it best several months ago in an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal where we’re talking about nuclear issues, and yet we have blinders on when it comes to the fact that Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and this deal does nothing to change that.
HH: Senator Cory Gardner, it’s always a pleasure, thank you, Senator. Follow him on Twitter, @SenCoryGardner.
End of interview.