U.S. lawmakers seek to bar U.S. attack on Iran 

Richard Cowan
Thursday, January 18, 2007 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday pushed legislation to prohibit a U.S. attack on Iran without Congress' permission.

The effort, led by Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican who in 2005 joined calls from many Democrats for a phased U.S. withdrawal from the Iraq war, came as lawmakers voiced concerns that the Bush administration might provoke a confrontation with neighboring Iran.

"The resolution makes crystal clear that no previous resolution passed by Congress" authorizes a U.S. attack on Iran, Jones told reporters, referring to the 2002 vote by Congress authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The joint resolution, which would have the force of law if passed by the House and Senate and signed by President George W. Bush, would waive the congressional authorization only if Iran attacked the United States or its armed forces, or if such an attack was "demonstrably" imminent.

So far, Jones' resolution has 11 co-sponsors in the 435-member House.

Rep. Martin Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat, said he did not trust Iran or its intentions in the Middle East. But he said the resolution on Iran was needed because the Bush administration had "lied so many times" in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Backers of the legislation said they hoped Democratic leaders in the House would advance their resolution in coming months, possibly as part of Iraq war funding legislation or other Iraq-related measures.

Concerns about a U.S. attack against Iran increased after the United States moved an additional aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf region and the Bush administration told Arab allies it would do more to contain Tehran.

In his speech announcing a troop buildup in Iraq, Bush said he would work to interrupt a "flow of support" from Iran to insurgents in Iraq.

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