A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced a new resolution which says that the United States would back Israel militarily if the Jewish State were to attack Iran in self-defense.
The resolution was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and is co-sponsored by 15 Senators, including Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York).
The resolution declares that the United States has a vital national interest in and unbreakable commitment to, ensuring the existence, survival, and security of the State of Israel; reaffirms the United States support for Israel’s right to self-defense; and urges that if Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States will stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.
Speaking during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, Graham said the resolution is necessary to show Israel that the U.S. will support it if it decides to use military force against the Iranian regime.
“We have no better friends in that part of the world than Israel,” said Graham. “Last year President Obama told the people of Israel, ‘We have your back.’ Our resolution builds upon that statement and makes it clear that if Israel is one day forced to protect themselves we will stand with Israel.”
President Obama is scheduled to arrive in Israel for his first visit as President next month, and the group said it hopes to pass the resolution before the trip.
The issue of a nuclear Iran is expected to be a top priority during Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“This is not a green light to Israel to do anything other than defend itself. ... We will be there,” Graham said.
This week, Iran held another round of negotiations with Western powers over its nuclear program. There was no sign of a major breakthrough in the Kazakh city of Almaty, but the sides agreed to hold new meetings, suggesting potential for progress.
As the negotiations took place, Britain's Daily Telegraph published satellite images which show that Iran's Arak heavy-water plan is operational, raising fears that it is trying to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb.
The images appear to show steam rising from forced air coolers, suggesting heavy-water production at the plant, which has been closed to international inspectors for 18 months.
Heavy water is required in plutonium-producing reactors and that raises alarms that Tehran is seeking a second path to obtain the bomb.
A report released last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main nuclear plants in Natanz.
In the wake of the reports, Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Iran “is continuing to defy the international community,” calling on the international community to intensify the sanctions against the Islamic Republic.