The Cable

House measure on Qom facility gaining support

One day ahead of talks between Iran and the Western powers, Congress is weighing in on the disclosure of Iran’s newest secret nuclear facility near the city of Qom. A bill was introduced Tuesday in the House that would call on Iran to allow "unfettered access" to the Qom enrichment facility and disclose the existence ...

One day ahead of talks between Iran and the Western powers, Congress is weighing in on the disclosure of Iran’s newest secret nuclear facility near the city of Qom.

A bill was introduced Tuesday in the House that would call on Iran to allow "unfettered access" to the Qom enrichment facility and disclose the existence of any additional facilities under its control. The legislation is one of those non-binding items that doesn’t actually force action, but its introduction with 33 cosponsors from both parties indicates the rising tide of congressional angst over the Iranian developments.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia was the original sponsor of the legislation. A spokesman said that a vote on the measure could come this week or next. Johnson decided to get involved in the Iran issue after hearing from constituents during a talk at the Ahavath Achim Jewish congregation in Atlanta, the spokesman said.

"My resolution… supports the administration’s negotiating position in Geneva and evidences the unity of Congress and the President on this critical issue," Johnson wrote in a letter to House leadership today.

Meanwhile, Johnson had some interesting words for the Jews of Georgia’s 4th district when he spoke to them on Sept. 12, pledging his support for Israel but doling out some tough love in the form of criticism of the Jewish state.

"The state of Israel makes mistakes, as does any state. It sometimes takes action that undermines its interests. Its leaders too often make policy to suit their short-term political priorities, rather than the long term interests of the Israeli people," Johnson said.

"Sometimes the ferocity with which it strikes its enemies demonstrates its tremendous capacity for self-defense; other times it undermines Israel’s standing in the world and sews hatred among those who suffer at its hands."

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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