WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidates expressed concern Thursday over the Bush administration’s extensive sanctions against Iran, arguing the measures were likely precursors to war with that country.
“Today, George Bush and Dick Cheney again rattled the sabers in their march toward military action against Iran,” John Edwards said in a statement. “The Bush Administration has been making plans to attack Iran for many months. At this critical moment, we need strong leadership against George Bush’s dangerous ‘preventive war’ policy, which makes force the first option, not the last.”
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd echoed the sentiment. “Unfortunately, the action taken by the Administration today comes in the context of escalating rhetoric and drumbeat to military action against Iran,” he said in a statement. “I am deeply concerned that once again the President is opting for military action as a first resort.”
Dodd again highlighted his vote against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment last month which in part called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to be designated a terrorist organization. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-New York, vote in favor of the measure is now a major topic on the campaign trail.
On Thursday, both Dodd and Edwards said the amendment’s language could be used by the Bush administration to justify military action against Iran.
“I learned a clear lesson from the lead up to the Iraq War in 2002: if you give this president an inch, he will take a mile – and launch a war,” Edwards said. “Sen. Clinton apparently learned a different lesson. Instead of blocking George Bush’s new march to war, Senator Clinton and others are enabling him once again.
– CNN Sr. Political Producer Sasha Johnson