Party head lambastes Lieberman on Iran

Article Last Updated: 06/12/2007 11:32:39 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — Connecticut for Lieberman Party Chairman John Orman called Tuesday for Sen. Joe Lieberman to resign, saying his advocacy of a military strike against Iran could explode into a global conflict.

"He has crossed the line," said Orman, a professor of politics at Fairfield University. "His unilateral warmongering could lead to a new World War III."

During an appearance on "Face the Nation" on CBS Sunday, Lieberman said the United States should consider a military strike against Iran because of Tehran's involvement in Iraq.

"I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman said. "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers."

Lieberman reiterated his call for a military strike on Monday during an appearance on Fox News in which he claimed that Tehran is training and arming Iraqi insurgents to kill American and Iraqi soldiers. He also suggested that failing to launch a military strike now would embolden Tehran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

"If we let them get away with this they will continue to move throughout the region and if we think we are going to have a prayer of a chance to stop them from developing nuclear weapons, it's not going to happen unless they take us seriously," Lieberman

Orman, a former Democrat, switched party affiliation and took over the Connecticut for Lieberman Party earlier this year. Lieberman created the party last August to run for re-election as an independent after losing the state's Democratic primary to Ned Lamont of Greenwich. However, Lieberman never joined the new party and remains a registered Democrat.

Orman issued a news release Tuesday asking Lieberman to immediately resign and urging Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell to appoint Susan Henshaw, secretary of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, as his replacement.

Lieberman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The senator's saber rattling has also drawn sharp criticism from other Democrats who oppose the Iraq war.

Lamont said Monday on Air America Radio that Lieberman was "to the right of the mainstream of the Republican Party" when it comes to Iran.

"If anything has come out that's slightly positive of this Bush administration in the last few months it's that they have now had some beginnings of conversations with the Iranians. And this is just what Joe Lieberman is trying to squash. It's really unfortunate," Lamont said.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark urged Lieberman Monday to stop advocating a military strike against Iran, saying it is "highly irresponsible and counterproductive."

"Sen. Lieberman's saber rattling does nothing to help dissuade Iran from aiding Shia militias in Iraq, or trying to obtain nuclear capabilities," said Clark, who in 2004 was one of Lieberman's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. "This kind of rhetoric is irresponsible and only plays into the hands of President Ahmadinejad, and those who seek an excuse for military action."

During an appearance Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition," Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson said tough negotiations are needed to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"Sanctions would work on Iran," he said. "They are susceptible to disinvestment policy. They are susceptible to cuts, economic sanctions in commodities."

Lieberman responded Monday on Fox News to Richardson and Clark. "I believe in talk too, but the Europeans talked to the Iranians for more than two years to stop [their] nuclear weapons development program and it had zero effect," Lieberman said.

Lieberman said Clark's view "doesn't relate to the realities on the ground in the Middle East" where Arab leaders worry "about the belligerence of Iran."

"They sent me a very clear message that unless the Iranians know that America means business, they are just going to keep moving," Lieberman said.