Thirty US senators wrote to President George W. Bush Thursday, warning he had no authority to launch military action against Iran, and expressing concern about the administration's "provocative" rhetoric.
The senators, 29 Democrats and one independent, urged the resolution of disputes with the Islamic Republic through diplomacy.
"We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran," the letter signed by senators including presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden said.
The letter warned that a resolution passed by the Senate in September, calling for the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group, should not be used as a pretext for war.
It hit out at "provocative statements and actions" by the administration on Iran, after Bush last month warned Tehran must be barred from nuclear weapons to avoid the prospect of "World War III."
"These comments are counterproductive and undermine efforts to resolve tensions with Iran through diplomacy," the letter, coordinated by Virginia Senator Jim Webb, said.
Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, a fierce critic of the administration's policies, sent his own letter this week to Bush, reportedly calling on him to open direct talks with Tehran.
His staff confirmed the letter had been sent, but declined to release a copy.
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