On the very first day back from recess, as the House prepared to begin Wednesday debate on the Iran nuclear deal, a Democratic opponent of the agreement introduced his resolution to authorize military force against the Islamic Republic.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) sits on the House Rules Committee that determined the guidelines for the upcoming 11 hours of debate in the lower chamber, and warned his colleagues this evening that they need to be prepared for what comes after the Obama administration’s implementation of the deal.
Hastings was thinking ahead to that a month ago, when he came out against the Iran deal.
On Tuesday, he introduced the “Authorization of Use of Force Against Iran Resolution.”
“The United States must do all that is necessary to ensure that all of Iran’s pathways to obtaining a nuclear weapon are blocked,” the resolution states. “Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon has and will continue to destabilize the region. Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon is a threat not only to the United States but also to our allies in the region.”
“Iran’s sincerity in forgoing the procurement of a nuclear weapon has created legitimate cause for concern.”
The authorization says the president, Obama or beyond, “is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the goal of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
The reporting requirement to Congress would be 60 days after taking military action against Iran, and every 60 days after that.
Hastings, who’s the ranking Democratic member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, stressed that “any agreement with the Iranian government must be met with skepticism, and therefore, backed up with muscularity – my legislation provides this muscularity.”
“Indeed, the importance of an international framework that actually prohibits Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons state cannot be overstated,” he said. “As Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and the only American to have served as president of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE PA) Parliamentary Assembly, as well as a former member of both the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am acutely aware of the challenges in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.”
Hastings added that he hopes his resolution “will provide the added hard power necessary to deter Iran from continued efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, including skirting compliance with the JCPOA, if implemented.”
“I believe this legislation will send a clear message to the Iranian regime that the United States is willing to ensure that Iran never becomes a nuclear weapons state at any cost,” he said.
The legislation is also likely to freak out the administration, which has been going to great lengths not to irk Tehran. Iran’s parliament still has not voted on the deal.
In his shootdown of the deal last month, Hastings stressed that if strong sanctions regime is not continued the U.S. has no leverage, and the “snap-back” of sanctions is unrealistic.
“These provisions, coupled with a mere delay of Iran’s nuclear program, will give other regional powers a clear window of opportunity to strengthen or create their own weapons programs. As conventional weapons shipments to Iran resume, its neighbors will feel obligated to bolster their own security,” Hastings said. “All the while, billions of dollars will be injected into the Iranian economy as sanctions are lifted. Some portion of this money is likely to be directed toward state-sponsored terrorist groups, such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah, Houthi and Hamas.”
This Congress, Hastings has also introduced a bill to defend Israel by defunding Palestinian aid.