House hits Iran, North Korea in late Tuesday debate

"The Iranian regime continues to pose an immediate and growing threat to the United States, to our allies, and to the Iranian people," Ros-Lehtinen said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Ranking committee member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) said the resolution is timely because the U.S. and other permanent members of the United Nations Human Security Council will meet next week on Iran.

"What better time for this body to send an unambiguous message that Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear weapons capability, and that its nuclear weapons program must end once and for all?" Berman said.

Support for sanctioning Iran has typically been bipartisan, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) joined members in support of the bill.

"The most significant threat to peace, regional security and American interest in the Middle East is Iran's nuclear program," he said. "This resolution makes clear that it is in America's security interest not to contain a nuclear Iran, but to prevent one."

The resolution warns that time is running out before Iran will gain access to nuclear weapons, and supports U.S. policy to prevent that from happening. It also supports ongoing human rights efforts in Iran.

Some Democrats warned that the resolution may make it more likely to put the U.S. on a war footing with Iran, but supporters said the resolution is non-binding and encourages a diplomatic answer to tensions with Iran.

Also Tuesday evening, the House debated and approved H.R. 4240, which reauthorizes the North Korea Human Rights Act.

"The North Korean regime remains one of the world's worst human rights abusers, as the legacy of tyranny has been passed onto a new generation," Ros-Lehtinen said. "H.R. 4240… will continue the important bipartisan work of the North Korean Human Rights Act by extending until the year 2017 its authorities to promote human rights, refugee protection and freedom of information for the people of North Korea."

The House approved the North Korea bill by voice vote.