steny hoyle 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable, new House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told The Jerusalem Post hours after entering the party leadership position.
The Maryland Democrat said the view is shared by his party, rejecting assertions that the Democrats would be weaker than the Republicans on Iran.
He also said that the use of force against Teheran remained an option.
Hoyer, second only in the hierarchy of the House of Representatives to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is charged with articulating and strategizing on party policy.
He spoke to the Post on Thursday, the opening day of the 110th Congress, after making an appearance at the National Jewish Democratic Council reception honoring the six new Jewish members of Congress.
The council gathering was one of scores of events on Capitol Hill held to celebrate the start of the new session.
Hoyer is considered close to the Jewish community and many Israel supporters have hailed his elevation in the House.
He was one of the few non-Jewish lawmakers to attend the council reception.
Hoyer said the Democrats' position, like that of the Bush administration, was that preventing a nuclear-armed Iran had to be done through "discussions, negotiations, sanctions." Hoyer added that the US needed to work with the international community to block Teheran's nuclear ambitions.
At the same time, Hoyer said the use of force hadn't been taken off the table.
"I've not ruled that out," he said, but added, "It's not an option we want to consider until we know there is no other option."â€¢