NY Post falsely accused Obama of "reversing course" on Iranian Revolutionary Guard

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

A New York Post editorial stated that after opposing a 2007 Senate amendment designating the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization, Obama "revers[ed] course," and that "[n]ow Team Obama is decrying the Guard." However, Obama consistently supported designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, having previously co-sponsored a bill in 2007 to do so.

NY Post falsely suggests Obama was inconsistent on Iranian Revolutionary Guard

From a February 17 New York Post editorial, "Team O: Incoherent on Iran":

Moreover, she seems unable to recognize that the Revolutionary Guard -- far from undermining figures like Ahmadenijad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini -- are the shock troops leading the crackdown on Iran's nascent pro-democracy movement.

You'd think Clinton would understand this -- after all, in 2007 she voted for a controversial Senate resolution declaring the Guard to be a terrorist movement and calling for economic sanctions, and took a lot of political grief for it.

Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden both bitterly opposed the bill. Obama labeled it a "reckless" exercise in "saber-rattling" (though later reversing course); Biden called it "a serious mistake."

Now Team Obama is decrying the Guard -- even while rallying behind those who've unleashed them in the first place.

Amazing.

In fact, Obama consistently supported designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group

Obama co-sponsored measure designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and called for economic sanctions against Iran. As the New York Times noted, in March 2007, Obama co-sponsored the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, which "would have tightened sanctions on Iran, limited food exports from the U.S. to Iran, and designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization."

Obama opposed a later Senate amendment declaring Guard a terrorist group because he said it included "new rationale for keeping US troops in Iraq." In October 2007, Obama adviser Greg Craig wrote that the September 2007 Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which the New York Post editorial cited, "contains language that sets forth an entirely new rationale for keeping US troops in Iraq and, if need be, for attacking Iranian forces." Craig also wrote that Obama "does not oppose" the amendment's provision "that calls for designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group," adding, "But the amendment does much more than that." FactCheck.org has similarly noted that "the amendment did more than just urge the president to name new terrorist groups":

As for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, it too called for the executive branch to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The amendment, which passed the Senate on Sept. 26, 2007, by a vote of 76 to 22, is not as bold a step as it might sound, considering the White House had announced a month earlier that it was debating naming either the entire IRGC or the Quds Force, an elite wing of the IRGC, as a terrorist organization. The Kyl-Lieberman amendment expressed "the sense of the senate" that the IRGC as a whole ought to be so designated. Proponents argued that the designation would pressure Iran to change its behavior in Iraq.

But the amendment did more than just urge the president to name new terrorist groups. It also expressed the sense that it is "a critical national interest" to prevent Iran from "turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force." Some Democrats, such as Jim Webb of Virginia, argued that the amendment "could be read as a back-door method of gaining congressional validation for military action, without one hearing and without serious debate."

Obama did not actually vote on the amendment - he was campaigning at the time. But he did publicly oppose it, calling it excessively provocative.

Media previously accused Obama of "changing his tune" on whether Iranian Revolutionary Guard should be designated a terrorist group. During the presidential campaign, conservative media figures including Mark Levin, Martha MacCallum and Mary Katharine Ham falsely accused Obama of inconsistency on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
New York Post
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