WASHINGTON (JTA) – A bipartisan group of freshmen congressmen called on the Obama administration to use all the sanctions passed by the House of Representatives against Iran to stop it from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Many of the 78 legislators who signed the Oct. 4 letter returned recently from the Middle East and “are deeply concerned about the prospects of a nuclear-armed Iran,” they said in the two-page letter.
“We write to share with you our view that time is running out,” the lawmakers wrote. They called on the Obama administration to enforce the sanctions, but added that “we stand ready to use force if necessary.”
The congressmen noted that they saw no changes in Iran’s nuclear weapons policy despite the recent election of President Hassan Rouhani, who has made gestures about making his country’s nuclear weapons program more transparent.
“History will judge our actions with Iran by one simple question: Did we prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon?” said Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), who along with Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ill.) organized the letter, which is backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “While recent diplomatic progress is encouraging, actions are what matter ultimately.”
“America cannot accept a nuclear-armed Iran,” Messer said. “I welcome a dialogue with Iran, but America must continue the pressure of sanctions and be clear force is an option unless Iran dismantles its nuclear program.”