FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding today’s introduction in the Senate of a resolution that would rule out “containment of a nuclear weapons capable Iran”:
“This is a blank check for the President to wage war with Iran, and once it is written the President will be pressured to cash it. By ruling out alternatives to war, this measure could be used by the current or future president as justification for war without the need for further Congressional authorization. Modern presidents have tended to take an extremely broad view of their prerogatives under the War Powers Act.
“This measure contradicts and confuses the existing United States ‘redline’ that Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Instead of reinforcing existing standards, the measure lowers the bar to assert that even the capability to pursue a nuclear weapon would be grounds for war. This is dangerous policy to be toying with.
“Acquisition is very different from capability. Nuclear weapons capability is a nebulous term that could theoretically be applied to every state from Canada to the Netherlands that possesses civilian nuclear capabilities. We should not be staking questions of war on such a shaky foundation.
“The U.S. Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence, as well as the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities, have all agreed that Iran still has not made a decision to acquire a nuclear weapon. We should focus on keeping it that way by pursuing tough inspection and transparency mechanisms necessary to fully addresses concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. This can only be done through robust diplomacy, and will require the courage to stand face to face with our enemies to pursue our national interests, not threatening another disastrous war from the halls of Congress.”