Following the Republicans' weekly strategy session, Senate Minority… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)
Reporting from Washington — The Republican leader of the Senate says that if Iran were found to be enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels, he would introduce legislation to authorize military force to prevent the country from possessing a nuclear arm, according to excerpts of the senator's speech to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, says he believes the the Obama administration's insistence that all options are on the table in dealing with Iran has "lost its intended purpose" as a threat.
He will propose a specific threshold that he believes is necessary to avoid blurring the option of usingU.S. militaryaction to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, his office said.
“If at any time the intelligence community presents the Congress with an assessment that Iran has begun to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels, or has taken a decision to develop a nuclear weapon — consistent with protecting classified sources and methods — I will consult with the president and joint congressional leadership and introduce before the Senate an authorization for the use of military force,” McConnell is expected to say Monday evening, according to prepared remarks released by his office. “This authorization, if enacted, will ensure the nation and the world that our leaders are united in confronting Iran, and will undermine the perception that the U.S. is wounded or retreating from global responsibilities.”
The GOP leader has been critical of President Obama’s handling of both foreign and domestic affairs, and his assessment of the White House’s approach to Iran also drew criticism.
“The administration’s mistake has been to pursue negotiations, and sanctions consecutively rather than simultaneously, without articulating a clear military consequence for the crossing of red lines,” McConnell will say.
Congress has been hesitant to engage in new foreign military campaigns, but McConnell said the White House should impose both strict sanctions and a firm policy that reflects a commitment to use force if the intelligence community determines that Iran has begun to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.