US Lawmakers Urge Vigilance Against Iran Military Option
By Dan Robinson, VOA
A group of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives is
repeating concerns about the possibility of military conflict with Iran. VOA's
Dan Robinson reports, lawmakers met with reporters, at the start of a two-week
break, to signal that Congress will demand that President Bush seek
congressional authorization before launching any military strikes against
Six House Democrats used a news conference to
repeat concerns about any move by the president to exercise a military option
against Iran because of its uranium enrichment program.
In recent weeks, congressional committees have held
numerous hearings on the impasse over Iran's nuclear efforts which the Bush
administration says are aimed at developing a nuclear weapon. Tehran says its
program is for peaceful energy purposes.
While emphasizing diplomacy and negotiations,
President Bush has also repeatedly said all options are on the
In the wake of the U.S. military intervention in
Iraq, lawmakers are making clear they do not want history repeated.
"Saber rattling that is going on in the White House
has no support anywhere in the world," said Sam Farr, a California Democrat.
"Our allies in Europe have been very critical of it. Our military has been
cautionary critical of it. It's not helping the situation, it's not providing an
atmosphere in which dialogue [with Iran] can be created."
Farr and others sent a letter to President Bush
last month in which they cautioned him against using congressional resolutions
approved in 2001 and 2002 as the basis for pre-emptive military action against
Those were the Authorization for Use of Military
Force (AUMF) prior to the invasion of Afghanistan, and the 2002 authorization to
attack Iraq. The administration has cited both in various communications with
members of Congress regarding presidential war powers.
In the news conference, the Democrats referred to
13 legislative efforts in the House and Senate this year dealing with Iran and
sanctions against it because of its nuclear efforts, but also attempts to
prevent President Bush from initiating military action without first obtaining
Oregon Democrat Pete DeFazio and California
Congresswoman Barbara Lee say Congress is determined.
"To just re-state the Constitution of the United
States and the war powers of the U.S. Congress, and make clear to this president
that he cannot have a discretionary war in Iran without the consent of the U.S.
Congress," said DeFazio.
"The drumbeat to war against Iran is increasing
daily, and is strikingly similar to the same drumbeat that we heard that led up
to the invasion of Iraq nearly five years ago," Lee said.
The White House issued a chilly response to the
latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran, emphasizing
parts of the document that says Iran is still not fully disclosing its nuclear
While it says Iran is still defying ultimatums to
suspend its uranium enrichment, the report also points to what it calls progress
by Tehran in revealing the extent of its programs.
Washington state Democrat Jim McDermott accuses the
Bush administration of looking for excuses to downplay any
"You look in today's news, the U.N. report on Iran
comes out and says that they are not going toward a bomb, they are controlling,
they know what is happening, and immediately the American government blows it
off and says it means nothing, which is exactly what they did to [former U.N.
arms inspector in Iraq] Hans Blix in 2002," he said. "They are beating the drums
California Democrat Farr told reporters that the
cautions he and others are voicing should not be seen as a lack of concern about
the danger of Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
Rather he says lawmakers are trying to emphasize
the need to pursue alternatives to military
... Payvand News - 11/17/07 ... --