The PJ Tatler

Bipartisan Pressure Mounts on Obama: Don't Just Contain Nuclear Iran

Nearly half of the Senate — with strong representation from both sides of the aisle — is co-sponsoring a sense of the Senate resolution urging the Obama administration to not rely on containment of Iran’s nuclear program.

Introduced on Feb. 16 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the resolution stresses the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability and “warns that time is limited to prevent the Iranian government from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”

It also “rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran; and urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and oppose any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”

“Make no mistake: Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons and will not be deterred by hollow warnings,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who signed onto the resolution today. “We need to make it clear to the Iranian regime that we are committed to ensuring it ceases its enrichment and reprocessing activities. A nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable proposition, and, as President Obama said in his State of the Union address, ‘all options must remain on the table’ when it comes to stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Democrats on board include Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Joe Manchin (W.V.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

Of note among this week’s addition of co-sponsors: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a vocal opponent of the regime in Tehran, who suffered a stroke in January. Kirk began rehabilitation exercises last month.

A companion bill was introduced in the House yesterday by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). That is co-sponsored by four Republicans and five Democrats, including Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.).