Echoing McCain, Weekly Standard's Continetti falsely suggested Obama opposed designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama opposed designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. In fact, Obama said he would have voted against the bill Continetti referenced -- the 2007 Kyl-Lieberman amendment -- because it "states that our military presence in Iraq should be used to counter Iran," not because it designated the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Indeed, Obama co-sponsored a different bill in 2007 that also would have designated the group a terrorist organization.

In the July 21 issue of The Weekly Standard, staff writer Matthew Continetti falsely suggested that Sen. Barack Obama opposed designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) a terrorist organization. Continetti wrote: "Asked how the United States ought to respond to last week's Iranian missile tests, Barack Obama told CNN that it was important 'we avoid provocation.' Just as last year, Obama criticized a Senate bill designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization because it was too 'provocative.' " In fact, Obama said he would have voted against the bill Continetti referenced -- the Kyl-Lieberman amendment -- because it "states that our military presence in Iraq should be used to counter Iran," not because the resolution expressed the sense of the Senate that "the United States should designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization." Indeed, Obama co-sponsored a different bill in 2007 that also would have designated the group a terrorist organization.

Continetti's statement echoes Sen. John McCain, who, in July 9 remarks that were repeatedly aired uncritically by CNN, also falsely suggested that Obama opposed designating the IRGC a terrorist group because doing so would be "provocative." McCain also falsely claimed during a June 4 blogger conference call that Obama had "switched" his position on the issue.

From Continetti's July 21 Weekly Standard article:

Asked how the United States ought to respond to last week's Iranian missile tests, Barack Obama told CNN that it was important "we avoid provocation." Just as last year, Obama criticized a Senate bill designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization because it was too "provocative." This has us wondering: Is the problem with Iran that the United States seems provocative?

Iran revealed to the world in late 2002 that it had been conducting a secret uranium enrichment program for 15 years. This was a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. Uranium enrichment is the first step on the road to building an atomic bomb. Most everyone seems to agree that Iranian nukes would destabilize the Middle East. What to do?

Obama might not admit it, but for about five years now the Bush administration has followed a course of action rather similar to his preferred policy. Bush has pursued multilateral diplomacy through international institutions (the U.N., the IAEA) and through an ad hoc coalition called the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., and the United States) in order to induce Iran to suspend its enrichment activities. Obama's policy would be a tad more unilateral, because he would prefer to have direct negotiations with the Iranians and thus remove our allies from the equation altogether.

Network/Outlet
The Weekly Standard
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Matthew Continetti
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Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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