Democrats reject Iran blockade resolution

September 28, 2008 - 0:0

The House Democratic leadership has rejected a resolution that could lead to a naval blockade of Iran and provoke a military confrontation.

Although the document would only be a 'statement of policy' and not a biding law, the Democratic leadership is worried that the Bush administration might interpret it as a green light to use military force against Iran, officials on Capitol Hill told the Washington Times.
California Representative and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard L. Berman blocked the document from reaching the floor, they said.
Berman expressed concern over the text of the draft resolution and said that he would not bring it before the committee unless certain issues are addressed.
The draft 'demands that the president initiate an international effort' to impose 'stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran.' It also calls for measures to block 'the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products.'
Analysts believe the resolution, which is a top legislative priority of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), would in effect sanction a blockade of the Islamic Republic and considerably increase the level of tensions in the Persian Gulf region.
Although the draft says 'nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran,' it does not categorize a naval blockade as use of force.
""There is language in this resolution that may imply congressional approval of a blockade of Iran,"" said Rep. Tom Allen, Maine Democrat, who is among several other members who initially supported the resolution but have now withdrawn their signatures.
However, author of the draft Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, New York Democrat, has promised to submit the resolution once again.
""We'll resubmit it when Congress comes back, and we'll have even more signatures,"" he said, claiming that the resolution presented a way to avoid war by using diplomatic, political, and economic tools.
The House Democratic leadership's decision to shelve the resolution comes after weeks of U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf region. Recent reports indicate that an unprecedented number of U.S. and European naval battle groups have been deployed to the Persian Gulf.
The U.S., Israel, and their Western allies accuse Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of seeking an atomic bomb.
However, the latest UN nuclear watchdog report says UN inspectors have not found any 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear physics studies' in Iran, even after 'seventeen unannounced inspections'. (Source: Press TV)