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Monday, September 24, 2012

Senate adopts Israel's red lines on Iran

By a vote of 90-1 (only Rand Paul voted no), the US Senate on Friday adopted a non-binding resolution that adopted Prime Minister Netanyahu's red line for action against Iran and not President Obama's red line. While the resolution specifically said it was not a declaration of war, it nevertheless adopted Netanyahu's standard for action against Iran - nuclear capability - rather than Obama's standard which would require the actual acquisition of a nuclear weapon. The Government of Israel is thrilled.
The nonbinding resolution, introduced in February by senators Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut), said “it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”
The resolution also stated that Congress “joins the president in ruling out any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.” The resolution passed by a vote of 90-1, with only libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voting against.
The language which talks about nuclear capability, and not the acquirement of nuclear arms, is in line with Israel’s red lines, and goes farther than the Obama administration, which has set as a red line Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.
One of the major differences between Jerusalem and Washington in recent months has been over the timeline on Iran, with Israel insisting that Iran must be stopped before it has all the components in place to put together a bomb when it so decides, and the US saying that the time to stop the Islamic Republic extends up to the moment when it makes the political decision to put all the ingredients together to make a bomb.
“The government welcomes the bipartisan support Israel receives in Congress,” the Israeli spokesman said. He said the vote on the resolution supported Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s assertion that the issue of a nuclear Iran is not a partisan one, and rather one that “should concern all free people.”
 In May, the US House of Representatives passed a similar resolution. 

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