Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced a resolution this week that seeks to authorize the president to use force against Iran over its nuclear program. But his recent public statements on Iran have indicated that the Arizona Republican has little understanding of the subject matter he is asking Congress to authorize war over.
Last week, Franks had to resort to self-professed “hyperbole” in order to justify his resolution, claiming that President Obama has said that he would allow Iran to have nuclear weapons as long as the Iranians promise they’re for peaceful purposes (of course, Obama has made no such pledge and instead has said he will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon).
Franks was at it again in a Washington Times op-ed published on Thursday, basing his theory that Iran’s new relatively moderate president Hassan Rouhani cannot be trusted on a quote that was subsequently reported as being mistranslated:
This is the “moderate” who is supposed to bring about a more peaceful Iran less bent on obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. The same “moderate” whose idea of peaceful diplomatic outreach apparently includes his recent statement regarding Israel: “The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed.” Anyone willing to scratch beneath the glossy, thin surface of Iran’s so-called “charm offensive” will find the hateful rhetoric and the violent ideology still very much intact. How quickly we are inclined to forget that Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, has not only called for the destruction of Israel and the West, but is actively — even as you read this — rushing headlong toward acquiring the means by which they might carry out its goal.
As was widely reported back in August, a semi-official Iranian news agency did quote Rouhani saying “the Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed” as Franks quoted above. But various media outlets, including the New York Times and JTA, reported that the comments had been mistranslated, and that videotape “showed Mr. Rouhani had in fact not referred directly to Israel or said anything about removing the ‘sore.'”
To be sure, whether or not Trent Franks has any idea what Rouhani really said, in and of itself, isn’t really all that significant. But a member of Congress, such as Franks, who is pushing his colleagues to give the president an authorization to start a war — particularly at a time when the president has not asked for that authority — should at the very least be correctly informed on the issues surrounding the country he wants to authorize war against.