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Ackerman blasts foe of sanctions measure

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) hit back at claims that his Iran sanctions resolution would enable war.

Ackerman’s nonbinding resolution would supplement legislation in the pipeline that would intensify sanctions aimed at getting Iran to end its suspected nuclear weapons program.

The resolution is stalled, however, because some lawmakers object to language calling for an international effort “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.”

That appears to comport with calls originating among hawks in Israel and the United States to consider a naval blockade, tantamount to a declaration of war.

In a letter to their colleagues on Monday, Ackerman, the Jewish chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Middle East subcommittee, and his co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), said the resolution language falls well short of a call to war.

“These assertions are absolutely false and, frankly, utter nonsense,” the letter said. “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 U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran, namely enforcement of export controls by U.N. member states within their own borders.”

The resolution is strongly backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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