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Bipartisan group presses U.S. to pressure Iran

JTA

February 1, 2012 | 3:22 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacts while speaking to defend his proposed budget in the Iranian Parliament in Tehran on Feb. 1. Photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacts while speaking to defend his proposed budget in the Iranian Parliament in Tehran on Feb. 1. Photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

A bipartisan group of foreign policy hawks called on the Obama administration to intensify pressure on Iran by increasing the U.S. military profile in the Persian Gulf and providing arms to Israel that could facilitate a strike on the Islamic Republic.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, in a report released Wednesday, said “the United States must strengthen its declaratory policy, making clear its willingness to use force rather than permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and it must require all U.S. officials to adhere to that policy in their public statements.”

The report, “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock,” also called for an intensification of covert activities aimed at disrupting Iran’s nuclear activities and for “concrete steps,” including “naval deployments to the region, military exercises and prepositioning of supplies.”

Finally, it called for an intensification of “our ongoing enhancement of the defensive and offensive military capabilities of our Persian Gulf allies” and the bolstering of “the credibility of the Israeli military threat to Iran’s program.”

It said the Obama administration should provide Israel with 200 GBU-31 bunker-buster bombs in addition to the less precise GBU-28 bombs it has already sold to Israel, as well as aerial refueling tankers.

Congress should hold hearings on the military option, said the report.

The report was co-authored by former Virginia Sen. Charles Robb, a Democrat, and Gen. Charles Wald, a former deputy commander of the U.S. European Command. Task force members included Dan Glickman, a former Democratic congressman from Kansas, and John Hannah, a former top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney, a Republican.

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