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Syria Action: Iran Focus & Congressional Hearings

The New York Times reports that “as the Obama administration makes a case for punitive airstrikes on the Syrian government, its strongest card in the view of some supporters of a military response may be the need to send a message to another country: Iran. If the United States does not enforce its self-imposed “red line” on Syria’s use of chemical weapons, this thinking goes, Iran will smell weakness and press ahead more boldly in its quest for nuclear weapons.”

“But that message may be clashing with a simultaneous effort by American officials to explore dialogue with Iran’s moderate new president, Hassan Rouhani, in the latest expression of Washington’s long struggle to balance toughness with diplomacy in its relations with a longtime adversary.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that “Congress is holding its first public hearing about U.S. plans for military intervention in Syria as President Barack Obama seeks to convince skeptical Americans and their lawmakers about the need to respond to last month’s alleged sarin gas attack outside Damascus.”

“Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey were to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. A classified briefing open to all members of Congress was to take place as well.”

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