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Lawmakers Call for New Iran Regime

July 26, 2002|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers said Thursday that they want Congress to go on record calling for a new regime in Iran, which they said presents an equal or greater threat than Iraq. "In the global war on the cancer of terrorism, our next strategic, surgical focus needs to be Iran," said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who will push a resolution calling for a new Iranian government along with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo).

The lawmakers said their resolution mirrored a shift in President Bush's policy toward the Islamic Republic to increasingly reach out directly to the Iranian people seeking reforms and bypass the government of President Mohammad Khatami.

While the Bush administration has focused on Iraq and threatened military action to topple President Saddam Hussein, the lawmakers said Iran must be kept in mind because it is expected to have nuclear weapons in three to five years.

The lawmakers said the resolution did not call for U.S. military action against the current Iranian government.

The draft of the resolution, which has not yet been introduced, says that "positive gestures" should be directed toward the Iranian people "and not political figures whose survival depends upon preservation of the current regime."

It said U.S. policy should be "to seek a genuine democratic government in Iran that will restore freedom to the Iranian people, abandon terrorism, and live in peace and security with the international community."

The administration has accused Iran of developing weapons of mass destruction and of sheltering Al Qaeda fighters who fled Afghanistan.

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