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Sen. Obama on Iran's Revolutionary Guard

Obama's Three Different Explanations for Failing to Support Kyl-Lieberman Equal Failed Judgment

Contact: Press Office, 703-650-5550;


ARLINGTON, Va., June 4 /Standard Newswire/ -- Today, ahead of Senator Barack Obama's planned address to the AIPAC Policy Conference, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds issued the following statement:

"In September 2007, over three quarters of the United States Senate joined together in a bipartisan fashion to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. Barack Obama opposed this legislation, deciding that playing partisan primary politics was more important than our nation's security. Even Senators Hillary Clinton and Dick Durbin had the judgment to call our enemies by their name, especially a group responsible for the killing of American troops in Iraq. If Barack Obama does not have the judgment and experience to even identify our enemies, how can we expect him to stand up to them?"

The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps A Terrorist Organization - But Senator Obama Opposed It

The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Called On The United States To Designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) As A Terrorist Organization. The Senate approved the amendment on September 26, 2007 with support from 76 senators, including Sens. Reid, Schumer, Durbin and Clinton. (S.Amdt. 3017, CQ Vote #349: Agreed To, 76-22: R 47-2; D 29-20, 9/26/07)

2007 EXPLANATION: Campaigning For Anti-War Votes In The Democratic Primary, Barack Obama Denounced Kyl-Lieberman As A Justification For Attacking Iran

In October 2007, Obama Described Kyl-Lieberman As A Justification For Attacking Iran. OBAMA: "[The] Bush administration could use the language in Lieberman-Kyl to justify an attack on Iran as a part of the ongoing war in Iraq." (Sen. Barack Obama, "Five Years After Iraq War Vote, We're Still Foolishly Rattling Our Sabers," Manchester Union-Leader, 10/11/07)

· Yet Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) Said The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Provided No Justification For Attacking Iran. SEN. DURBIN: "If I thought there was any way [Kyl-Lieberman] could be used as a pretense to launch an invasion of Iran, I would have voted no." (Julianna Goldman, "Durbin Says Obama Will Win Iowa Caucus; Disagrees On Iran," Bloomberg, 10/12/07; S.3017, CQ Vote #349: Agreed To, 76-22: R 47-2; D 29-20, 9/26/07, Durbin Voted Yea.)

· Obama's Website Still Describes The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment As A "Reckless" Justification "To Attack Iran." "Obama opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which says we should use our military presence in Iraq to counter the threat from Iran. Obama believes that it was reckless for Congress to give George Bush any justification to extend the Iraq War or to attack Iran." (Obama '08,, Accessed 6/2/08)

2008 EXPLANATION: This Week, The Obama Campaign Said Barack Obama Opposed The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Because Of Troop Levels In Iraq

On Monday, The Obama Campaign Said That The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Would Urge Our Military In Iraq To Actively Counter Iran. "Obama opposed Kyl-Lieberman because its language said the US military in Iraq should be used to counter Iran, while in fact it has strengthened Iran." ("Obama Camp Response to McCain's AIPAC Speech," Time's "The Page,", Accessed 6/2/08)

· Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Does Not Do Anything Of The Kind. AMENDMENT TEXT: "The manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences ... in particular with regard to the ability of the Government of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region." (Sec. 1538 of HR 1585 (Engrossed Amendment As Approved To By Senate), 9/26/07)

· Senator Lieberman, The Amendment's Author, Removed Provisions From A Draft Version Specifically To Accommodate This Concern: "Because some of our colleagues thought paragraphs three and four of the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran, Senator (Jon) Kyl (R-Ariz) and I have struck them from the amendment. ... That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers." (Jake Tapper, " The Persian Conundrum," ABC News, 10/8/07)

ANOTHER 2008 EXPLANATION: In Preparation For His AIPAC Speech, Barack Obama Is Insisting He Always Supported Designating The IRGC As A Terrorist Organization

In Their Response, The Obama Campaign Stated That Obama Has Taken A Consistent Position. "Obama Has Consistently Urged That Iran's Revolutionary Guard Be Labeled What It Is: A Terrorist Organization." ("Obama Camp Response to McCain's AIPAC Speech," Time's "The Page,", Accessed 6/2/08)

· After The Kyl-Lieberman Vote, Barack Obama Often Criticized The Amendment Without Mentioning Any Support For IRGC Designation. (Sen. Barack Obama, "Five Years After Iraq War Vote, We're Still Foolishly Rattling Our Sabers", Manchester Union-Leader, 10/11/07; "Interview With Barack Obama", New York Times, 11/1/07; NBC's "Meet the Press", 11/11/07)

· Before Responding To John McCain, Obama's Website Provides No Indication That Obama Favors Designating The IRGC As A Terrorist Organization. (Obama '08,, Accessed 6/2/08)

The Obama Campaign Points To Barack Obama's Co-Sponsorship Of The Iran Counter-Proliferation Act (S.970) As Evidence That He Favors Designating The IRGC As A Terrorist Organization. "Obama Cosponsored The Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, Which Would Designate The Iranian Revolutionary Guard As A Terrorist Organization." ("Obama Camp Response to McCain's AIPAC Speech," Time's "The Page,", Accessed 6/2/08)

· There Has Been No Floor Action On S.970 Since 3/22/07 And It Has Never Been The Subject Of A Floor Vote. (S.970, Introduced 3/22/07, Referred To The Committee On Finance, 3/22/07)

Sen. Hillary Clinton Supported The Kyl-Lieberman Amendment Arguing That It Would Advance Diplomacy

Sen. Clinton: "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is in the forefront of that, as they are in the sponsorship of terrorism. So some may want a false choice between rushing to war -- which is the way the Republicans sound; it's not even a question of whether, it's a question of when and what weapons to use -- and doing nothing. I prefer vigorous diplomacy, and I happen to think economic sanctions are part of vigorous diplomacy. We use them with respect to Nor th Korea. We use them with respect to Libya. And many of us who voted for that resolution said that this is not anything other than an expression of support for using economic sanctions with respect to diplomacy. You know, several people who were adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq, like Senator Durbin, voted the same way I did and said at the time that if he thought there was even the pretense that could be used from the language in that non-binding resolution to give George Bush any support to go to war, he wouldn't have voted for it. Neither would I." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, MSNBC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Philadelphia, PA, 10/30/07)

· Click Here To Watch The Video

Sen. Clinton: "My understanding of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran is that it is promoting terrorism. It is manufacturing weapons that are used against our troops in Iraq. It is certainly the main agent of support for Hezbollah, Hamas and others, and in what we voted for today, we will have an opportunity to designate it as a terrorist organization, which gives us the options to be able to impose sanctions on the primary leaders to try to begin to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, MSNBC Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Hanover, NH, 9/26/07)

· Click Here To Watch The Video

Obama's Weak And Inconsistent Judgment In Regard To The IRGC Fits With An Established Pattern of Changing Positions On Key National Security Issues In Recent Weeks

At A July 2007 Debate, Obama Announced He Would Personally Meet With Leaders Of Iran, North Korea, Syria And Other Hostile Nations "Without Precondition." Question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?" ... Obama: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration -- is ridiculous." (CNN/You Tube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07)

In The New York Times, Barack Obama Claimed "I Didn't Say That I Would Meet Unconditionally." Obama: "I didn't say that I would meet unconditionally as John McCain maintained, because that would suggest whether it was useful or not, whether it was advancing our interests or not, I would just do it for the sake of doing it ... That's not a change in position, that's simply responding to distortions of my position." (Jim Rutenberg And Jeff Zeleny, "Obama Seeks To Clarify His Disputed Comments On Diplomacy ," The New York Times, 5/29/08)