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Power: This Time We Mean It

‘Our red lines are red’

Samantha Power / AP
• June 17, 2015 5:35 pm

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Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told Congress that the Obama administration is committed to enforcing a red line on Iran’s nuclear ambition.

Power covered a number of foreign policy issues in the hearing, including American Israeli relations, and the nuclear deal with Iran.

"President Obama will not accept a deal in which we do not get the access that we need in order to verify the process … our red lines are red," she said.

President Obama previously articulated a "red line," with regards to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons. "A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," he said.

He later denied setting a red line when it was revealed that Assad attacked civilian populations with chemical weapons.

Power appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She told the committee that politics is clouding negotiations with Iran.

"There’s been a lot of rhetoric, and a lot of politics going on, and I think its not helpful for us to get into the psychology of what any particular Iranian leader is thinking or saying," Power said.

Representative Ted Yoho (R., Fla.) said Power’s claim that the administration will prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon flies in the face of the facts on the ground.

"We’ve had expert after expert over two years sitting exactly where you are, saying that Iran has the material for nuclear bombs now," he said, "I just don’t see how in good faith we can support this agreement. I would think that sanctions should be back in place."

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) pressed Power on the subject of Israel and what America is doing to defend our ally on the international stage. She questioned if Power would be willing to veto any proposition that goes against Israel’s interest.

"As you know, President Obama issued a not-so-veiled threat to Israel, that the U.S. might not be able to support a veto of the French resolution at the UN Security Council for Palestinian statehood. Now, you used the word ‘oppose,’ but will the United States, yes or no, veto any resolution in the UN that forces or imposes this two state solution on Israel, what will our position be? Will we veto, not oppose, but will we veto?" Ros-Lehtinen asked.

Power insisted the United States stands with Israel.

"Again, given that the work last summer on the security council on the resolution with Israel that we were potentially going to support, and get everybody on the council to rally around," Power said. "I don’t want to underscore, we consistently oppose and we will oppose anything that would undermine Israel’s security, and I think our track record is very solid."

A vote in the United Nations could happen later this year.