Senator Ben Cardin on the aims and mechanisms of U.S. foreign policy
On whether Washington to introduce new sanctions against the government of Iran, and how can be solved the problem of nuclear programs of North Korea, the special correspondent of “voice of America” Greta van SUSTEREN said Senator Ben CARDIN.
Question: How do you assess the reaction of the administration to trump the protests (in Iran)? President trump and Vice-President of Pence criticized the Obama administration due to the fact that (in similar situation), she paused in a few days, and then made a statement. Perhaps President trump responded before making a statement on Twitter, but in any case it’s only application. What else can we do?
Ben Cardin: All this, of course, internal issues (of Iran), so for us it is quite difficult to “get involved” in this situation. But given that Iranian officials have violated internationally recognized human rights standards, we must respond. We have the tools we can use against those who violate human rights. People have a right to protest peacefully against the actions of their government, they should have the right to Express their opinions without fear for their lives. But in Iran it is not, and so…we are introducing sanctions against Iran because of human rights violations. We recently adopted a new law known as the “Global Magnitsky Act”, and, according to him, can enter visa and financial sanctions against individuals…
Question: How quickly can impose such sanctions?
Ben Cardin: It can be done quickly. Of course, if we are talking about banking sanctions, there is a specific process that we follow, which tracks the Ministry of Finance, but it can be done quite quickly. We already have sanctions imposed against Iran due to the (violations of) human rights, and we can strengthen them.
Question: In 2015, you were against the conclusion of a nuclear deal with Iran. Why?
Ben Cardin: This was for several reasons. First, under the deal Iran got the ability to enrich uranium, which, in my opinion, was not necessary… so how could they then use it to create nuclear weapons. Secondly, the deal was canceled many opportunities we had to pressure due to violations not related to the nuclear program and ballistic missiles, support of terrorism, human rights violations…
Question: President trump announced in October that it will recertificate this deal.
Ben Cardin: I Think that it would be wrong for the United States to withdraw from the agreement. We’re isolated, we’re the “bad guys” in that time, actually a “bad guy” is Iran, whose government violates international laws. We need to focus on how Iran complies with the terms of the agreement…They do not have the right to have or to develop nuclear weapons. We must now ensure that this condition is met, and that Iran never becomes a nuclear power.
Question: so, now you have reason to imagine how it was possible that Iran has fulfilled its obligations?
Ben Cardin: the People who are responsible for the implementation of the agreement, are sure that Iran fulfills all the requirements concerning the nuclear program. At the time, were minor violations, but now they are fixed…
Question: You are in dialogue with the White house about the fate of the nuclear deal and how to react to the protests (in Iran)?
Ben Cardin: Yes, I spoke with Vice President Penny on protests, and along with Senator Corker, I have prepared a resolution which we hope to contribute (vote) to demonstrate that the United States Senate supports the right of citizens of Iran on the (free) Express their opinions about the government. I also met with representatives of the administration trump talked about recertification of the transaction and about how addressing this issue can help the Congress…
Question: do You think you managed to convince the administration or President trump?
Ben Cardin: I think the President’s advisors for national security believe that the interests of our national security corresponds to the preservation of the terms of the agreement and continued participation in the negotiations. But it is difficult to say what would make the President. The way he makes decisions, unlike traditional methods that were used by the presidents of the United States.
Question: are You concerned about attempts by North Korea to develop nuclear weapons?
Ben Cardin: Of Course. I believe that the actions of the regime in North Korea, the actions of Kim Jong-UN, is very dangerous. It is obvious that they are trying to create nuclear weapons…We must further isolate North Korea, but at the same time to intensify diplomatic efforts because this problem has no military solution.
Question: What do you think about resumption of dialogue between North and South Korea?
Ben Cardin: I think this is a good initiative…(the resumption of the dialogue) was part of the promises of the new government of South Korea… in addition, the (upcoming) Winter Olympic Games provide another chance for negotiations between North and South.