Leahy and Sanders against Iran resolution

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(Host) Both of Vermont’s U.S. senators say they’re concerned that the Bush Administration may be planning military actions against Iran.

Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders recently voted against a resolution that they believe may give the President the authority to go to war.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) The resolution designates Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization and it also calls on the Bush Administration to impose new economic sanctions against Iran. It passed the U.S. Senate last week by a three to one margin.

Backers of the plan say it’s needed because Iran appears to be pursuing the capability of developing a nuclear weapon and because supporters believe that elements of the Iranian government are aiding terrorist efforts in Iraq.

Senator Patrick Leahy says these are serious issues but he says he voted against the resolution because he feels it could be misinterpreted by the White House:

(Leahy)"With this Administration if you even look like you’re approving something they’re going forward…It’s crazy they do that, but I’m not about to vote for anything they’re going to hang their hat on to be a pretext for starting another war, especially when they haven’t figured out how to get out of the war they’re in."

(Kinzel) Leahy says he doesn’t put much faith in the intelligence reports of the Bush Administration after the C.I.A. was so wrong about events in Iraq.

(Leahy)"Of course they were not involved in 9/11 and they had no weapons of mass destruction and yet we’ve lost thousands of brave American lives we’ve spent close to a trillion dollars we’ll probably spend two trillion dollars by the time we get done all on the pretense I’m not buying a pig in a poke."

(Kinzel) Sanders says he’s also concerned that the White House will use this resolution to justify a military strike against Iran:

(Sanders) "I think the motive behind this resolution to call the army of Iran a terrorist organization, simply making it easier for this president to attack Iran, which I think would be a disaster."

(Kinzel) Sanders says he opposes military action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons:

(Sanders)"Given the track record of this Administration in misleading us into the war in Iraq, given my belief that the war against Iran would be a disaster, given my feeling that while this Iranian government is really quite off the wall, it is going to be diplomacy, it’s going to be negotiation, it is going to be working with the entire world to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons is the direction that we have to go."

(Kinzel) Sanders is co-sponsor of a resolution that calls on the Bush Administration to seek specific authorization from Congress before taking any military action against Iran.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.


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