House Dems Shelve Iran ‘Naval Blockade’ Bill for Now

Updated 9/26/2008 1:30 PM EST

According to the Washington Times the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has shelved H.R. 362, fearing that the resolution would provoke a war with Iran.

The bill, authored by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D – NY), urged the President, among other things, to prevent Iran from importing any refined petroleum products and demanded that he initiate an international effort to inspect “all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.” Though non-binding, the resolution is essentially urging a naval blockade against Iran – an act of war according to international law.

The bill was introduced on May 22, one day after the story broke that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) to impose a naval blockade on Iran as a way of stopping its uranium enrichment program. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has endorsed the bill as a way to “stop Iran’s nuclear program.”

Rep. Ackerman claims the bill “is a way to avoid war by using diplomatic, political and economic tools.” He also intends to resubmit the bill for the next Congress, and vowed to have even more signatures then. The current incarnation of the bill has 280 co-sponsors, but the Washington Times reports that several of the original co-sponsors have since withdrawn their signatures.

There is also a sister bill to this, S.Res.580, in the Senate. The bill, introduced by Senator Evan Bayh (D – IN), has 50 cosponsors.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.