According to a section of the National Defense Authorization Act, “it shall be the policy of the United States to take all necessary measures, including military action if required, to prevent Iran from threatening the United States, its allies or Iran’s neighbors with a nuclear weapon.”
Lawmakers by a vote of 299-120 passed the sweeping legislation, which sets out a total of $642.5 billion in military expenditures for the coming fiscal year.
Friday’s measure would make the possible use of force a key plank in US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb.
The bill would still need to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Obama’s allies are highly unlikely to pass the House version without substantial changes.
Obama has already threatened to veto the measure if it prevents his administration from carrying out its defense strategy.
Iran and the P5+1 powers — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — are preparing to meet next week in Baghdad for crunch talks on Tehran’s contested nuclear program.
Western powers and Israel say Iran is masking an ambition to obtain nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.