Friday, May 18, 2012

Congress opens door for US war with Iran

Congress opens door for US war with Iran

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)
Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)
Published: 18 May, 2012, 18:00
The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution on Iran that moves the United States much closer to a war footing against Iran as many experts and diplomats warn America is ready for attack.

­The vote undermines the 5+1 Iranian nuclear talks scheduled for next week, in which the US will participate and which many in the pro-war camp want to sabotage.

Ahead of the vote Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a tough critic of the resolution and one of the few who voted against it, warned that the US is “getting ready for war against Iran” with Thursday’s vote.

The non-binding resolution H.Res.568 that overwhelmingly passed 401-11, effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when it obtains “nuclear weapons capability.” The vague interpretation, critics say, already applies to Iran, not to mention Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and actually any other country with a civilian nuclear program.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”

The text says the document “strongly supports the United States policy to prevent the government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.”

The bill also urges the president to “reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Kucinich believes that the document’s language represents a significant shift in US policy as its wording effectively means that Obama is urged to give up the containment policy the US has pursued in relations with Iran.

The congressman is sure that the bill would undermine the new round of negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program scheduled for May 23 and the diplomatic effort “would fail.” Moreover he insists that the resolution is seeking to alter US diplomatic goals with Iran and requires the United States to move military assets to the Middle East in preparation for war.

The resolution was introduced by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Supporters of the resolution say it is not a mandate for any specific action on the part of the US administration.

But US has a war plan on the table, a key US diplomat revealed recently. Dan Shapiro, the American ambassador to Israel, warned the Pentagon has a ready plan for a military attack on Iran.

The United States and some other countries accuse Iran of illegal obtaining nuclear technology – charges Tehran strongly denies. Iran argues that as a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it is entitled to all peaceful applications of nuclear energy.

Following the economic sanctions imposed on Iran a few months ago, the Islamic Republic of Iran vowed a crushing response to any military strike against its nuclear facilities. Iran has also warned that any such measure would lead to a major war that will spread beyond the Middle East.