Security

Senate Hawks Find Little Bipartisan Support On Iran Resolution

Despite efforts from congressional hawks like Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ), Senate Democrats are resisting efforts to limit President Obama’s policy options on Iran.

The hawkish Senators’ lack of success is noticeable as the three men are seen as as some of the most influential Senators on foreign policy and national security. But their efforts to roll out a piece of bipartisan legislation pressuring the White House’s hand on diplomacy with Iran has found few allies across the aisle. Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) reportedly signed onto the legislation and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is rumored to be on board. But Senate Democrats are concerned that the resolution “would be seen as creeping toward an authorization of military force against Iran,” reports The Hill’s Alexander Bolton.

A Senate aid denied that characterization of the legislation and emphasized that it is not an authorization of military action and leaves the option of further negotiations.

However a statement last month from Graham and Lieberman stated, in no uncertain terms, that they would support a bipartisan resolution explicitly opposing containment. The statement read:

When it comes to addressing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, all options must be on the table — except for one, and that is containment. […] Containment is failure, and failure cannot be an option.

Neither U.S. intelligence officials nor the IAEA have concluded that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon.

Indeed the IAEA has stated concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program but senior U.S. intelligence officials have expressed support for ongoing sanctions and diplomacy.

Efforts to press Obama to employ the “military option” continue to be discussed in Washington but the partisan divide between those urging action — be it in Congress or outside pressure groups — and those pursuing diplomacy and sanctions is becoming increasingly distinct as Republicans seek to portray the President as weak on national defense and foreign policy.