Today, Representatives Gary Ackerman and Mike Pence, the original co-sponsors of H.Con.Res. 362, circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter regarding controversial language in paragraph 3 of the non-binding resolution:
(3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program;
In the "Dear Colleague" letter, Representatives Ackerman and Pence state that "some have mistakenly suggested the resolution calls for a 'naval blockade' or even amounts to 'a declaration of war.' These assertions are absolutely false and, frankly, utter nonsense."
Controversy over the intentions and meaning of the language has lead Representatives Ackerman and Pence to go on the record. However, to improve the controversial resolution, they should strike both paragraphs three and four so that it can not be miscontrued or interpreted in a provocative way. They should also include a positive endorsement of direct talks and constructive diplomacy with
Below is the full text of the Ackerman-Pence "Dear Colleague" letter.
We write to encourage you to join us as sponsors of H.Con.Res.362, a resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the
Iran is backing and arming militias and terrorists fighting the United States and our allies in both Iraq and Afghanistan; it is the proud patron of both the Hamas take-over in Gaza and the Hezbollah insurrection against the Lebanese government; it is the major funding source for numerous terrorist groups and, increasingly, Syria its fellow state-sponsor of terrorism, and it is radically reorienting regional security calculations. Meeting the threat posed by
Though the stakes are high and time is short, the resolution is explicit in stating that meeting the challenge from
These assertions are absolutely false and, frankly, utter nonsense. The resolution states plainly and distinctly that "nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran;" the economic sanctions the President is urged to seek are explicitly placed in an international context; and the methods contemplated for achieving these sanctions are no different than those currently being employed to implement existing UN Security Council sanctions on Iran, namely enforcement of export controls by UN member states within their own borders.
The threat from