VIENNA, VA.--8 p.m. eastern UPDATE
The New York Times double byline of Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny (Zeleny's second sit-down with Sen. Barack Obama in a week) in Friday's paper has Obama detailing carrots he would offer Iran to get cooperation on "terrorism and nuclear issues."
This comes as Iran has developed as major issue between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
WASHINGTON--Led by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), 30 senators signed a letter released Thursday "warning" President Bush not to attack Iran without explicit congressional consent. The Illinois Democratic senators are split on this: Sen. Dick Durbin signed the letter and White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama did not. Rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton signed as did Sen. Chris Dodd.
At issue: This is another development flowing from the September vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment--a resolution naming the Iran Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Clinton and Durbin support the measure; Obama opposed it, though he was absent from the Senat for the vote. This Webb letter is being used by the Clinton campaign to underscore her argument--and dilute Obama's-- that support for Kyl-Lieberman is tantamount to giving Bush authorization for military action. Will update with expected Obama reaction.
UPDATE OBAMA STATEMENT
"Senator Obama admires Senator Webb and his sincere and tireless efforts on this issue. But it will take more than a letter to prevent this administration from using the language contained within the Kyl-Lieberman resolution to justify military action in Iran. This requires a legislative answer and Senator Obama intends to propose one."
For entire letter and signers, click below...
Excerpt from the letter.....
"We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran. This includes the Senate vote on September 26, 2007 on an amendment to the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment, expressing the sense of the Senate on Iran, and the recent designation of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, should in no way be interpreted as a predicate for the use of military force in Iran.
from Sen. Webb ...release...
United States Senate
30 Senators Say White House Must Seek Congressional
Approval for Offensive Military Action against Iran
Aggressive Rhetoric Undermines Diplomacy
Washington, DC—Along with 29 co-signers, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia sent a letter to the White House today warning the President not to take offensive military action against Iran without the express consent of Congress. Designed to clarify any ambiguity as a result of a recent Senate amendment urging designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, the Senators also expressed concern that the administration’s increasingly provocative rhetoric has undermined diplomatic efforts with Iran.
A copy of the letter follows.
November 1, 2007
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
We are writing to express serious concerns with the provocative statements and actions stemming from your administration with respect to possible U.S. military action in Iran. These comments are counterproductive and undermine efforts to resolve tensions with Iran through diplomacy.
We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran. This includes the Senate vote on September 26, 2007 on an amendment to the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment, expressing the sense of the Senate on Iran, and the recent designation of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, should in no way be interpreted as a predicate for the use of military force in Iran.
We stand ready to work with your administration to address the challenges presented by Iran in a manner that safeguards our security interests and promotes a regional diplomatic solution, but we wish to emphasize that offensive military action should not be taken against Iran without the express consent of Congress.
29. Whitehouse a