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Senate Overwhelmingly Endorses ‘Capability’ Red Line on Iran

By: JTA

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly endorsed language that sets a red line for Iran “nuclear capability.”

The non-binding resolution, introduced in February by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), says that “it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.”

The resolution passed late Friday by a vote of 90-1, with only Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voting against.

The language is in line with Israel’s red lines and goes further than the Obama administration, which has set as a red line Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

It is not precisely clear what “capability” entails. A number of experts believe Iran already has crossed that threshold and is capable of manufacturing a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the resolution’s passage.

“AIPAC applauds the Senate for rejecting a policy of containment of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability and calling for an increase in sanctions against the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” the group said in a statement.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed similar language in May, and the term “capability” has made it into other legislation, including the most recent sanctions legislation.

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