Friday, January 29, 2016
Billy Long: I will fight to keep North Korea and Iran from reaching their goals
Less than a month into the New Year, military aggressions from North Korea and Iran have already raised debate over what actions America should take in response. For both nations, these muscle-flexing antics are just the latest in a long list of provocations against the U.S., which only underscore the need for swift condemnation and increased caution toward relaxed nuclear policies.
On January 6th, North Korea claimed to have successfully conducted its first hydrogen bomb test. Just six days later, hours before President Obama's final State of the Union Address, Iran took ten American sailors into their custody. Before the sailors were released, they were forced to kneel while the lone female sailor was forced to wear a hijab. The Iranians also coerced an apology out of one of our sailors at gunpoint, which was broadcasted on Iranian television for the "mistake" of non-aggressively skirting Iran's waters. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, has publicly capitalized on the stunt, calling the sailors' arrest "God's deed" and symbolic of Iran's "might" over the U.S.
Likewise, following North Korea's alleged H-bomb test, they propagated America as a "gang of cruel robbers" who plan to destroy North Korea. This came days after North Korean authorities arrested a college student from Virginia they are still detaining for an unspecified "hostile act." As in the past, however, it's most likely that he's being unjustly held as a negotiation pawn.
North Korea's claim has spurred scrutiny over what bomb was actually tested. However, it is clear to many experts that this test indicates that their nuclear capabilities are advancing. Iran's nuclear advancements have also been shrouded due to decades of non-compliance with U.N. inspectors, strategic facility concealments, and outright lies.
Since reports of the hydrogen bomb test in North Korea and sailors' capture in Iran, I've received many calls from constituents asking what can be done. I remain opposed to the administration's nuclear deal with Iran. It has a litany of reckless flaws and we must realize that Iran - like North Korea and other nations under totalitarian rule - have proven untrustworthy of the reasonable expectation that they'd adhere to any agreement at all.
The House of Representatives is already working to send a strong message that the United States will not tolerate these provocations. With a resounding 418-2 margin on January 12th, I helped the House pass the "North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act," which blocks North Korea's access to hard currency and sanctions financiers that aid their missile programs. It also ensures that anyone who conducts business to bolster North Korea's policies cannot be contracted by the U.S. government.
The House is also fighting against some of the most egregious aspects of the administration's Iran nuclear deal, and will vote on the "Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act" this February. As the deal stands, America's ability to sanction bad actors in Iran - like Bank Saderat or the National Iranian Oil Company, which have been used to transfer money to terror groups and the regime – could be severely weakened. This bill would restrict the president's ability to remove sanctions without certifications from Congress that the entities or individuals in question have not facilitated funding for terror groups or have been connected to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
I will continue fighting any policies that would allow North Korea or Iran to get one step closer to their goals. As long as their nations prove untrustworthy, we should be showing them condemnation instead of offering olive branch agreements which will only continue to enable dangerous lusts for power.