After being asked to remove his sponsorship of a congressional resolution on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, the candidates looking to replace outgoing Congressman Michael McNulty in the 21st District all have differing opinions on the issue.
McNulty is one of many co-sponsors of Concurrent Resolution 362, a controversial measure in the U.S. Congress that makes several proposals aimed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand from the neighboring 20th District is also a co-sponsor of the bill.
The controversy stems from clause three of the resolution, which in essence calls for a blockade of Iran if the country does not comply. Groups such as Women Against War say that such a measure would be seen internationally as an act of war.
After meeting with representatives from Women Against War on Monday, Aug. 4, McNulty said he is seeking to have the wording of the resolution changed. [See related story.]
There are seven candidates running in the 21st District, five Democrats and two Republicans. Although all agree that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapon capability, most agreement ends there, as each of the candidates have a different take on why they do or do not support the resolution.
Democrats Tracey Brooks, Darius Shahinfar, and Phil Steck, along with Republican Steven Vasquez, all said they do not support Resolution 362 and would not have sponsored it.
Democrats Paul Tonko and Joseph Sullivan and Republican James Buhrmaster said they support the measure.
McNulty and Gillibrand said they would not remove their names from the resolution, citing a need to diplomatically deal with the Iranian nuclear problem and a very specific clause that states nothing in Resolution 362 shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran.
Critics of the resolution say that a blockade and similar strong measures against Iran would constitute an act of war and escalate already high tensions into a military conflict despite the resolution's clause against the use of force.