It has been widely reported that Iran has produced chemical weapons and is actively pursuing the development of biological and nuclear weapons. When these deadly technologies are coupled with advanced ballistic missiles, they become true weapons of mass destruction, posing a grave and direct threat to U.S. troops stationed in the Persian Gulf are as well as our key ally in the Middle East, the State of Israel.
Iran's quest to develop ballistic missiles has been aided by several Russian corporations, who have sold Iran key technology and provided important technical support. Public reports indicate that Iran is extremely close to deploying advanced ballistic missiles. If we fail to take meaningful action quickly, Iran could deploy chemical-tipped ballistic missiles within one year.
Congress reacted appropriately to this threat by passing the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act in May by a vote of 90-4. The bill would impose sanctions on individual companies--not governments--that assist Iran in developing ballistic missile technology.
To its credit, the government of Russia, after considerable prodding from the U.S. State Department, has taken meaningful steps toward halting the export of sensitive technology. Unfortunately, these measures alone are not sufficient to freeze the Iranian missile program. The Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act is needed.
I regret the Administration's decision to veto this important bill. I understand its view that the Executive Branch alone should attempt to resolve this issue. However, I believe the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is an issue of such tremendous importance that legislation is warranted.
I hope the Majority Leader will schedule a vote on the veto message soon, and I hope my colleagues will continue to show strong support for the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act.