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Lawmakers see Iran's rise as key concern in fight against IS

Republicans focus on Tehran in first hearing since Tikrit offensive.
Shi'ite fighters gather with their weapons next to a sign in the town of al-Alam March 9, 2015. Just north of Tikrit, home city of executed Sunni former president Saddam Hussein, Iraqi security forces and Shi?ite militia fighters began an offensive against Islamic State to regain control over the town of al-Alam.   REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR4SOF4

Iran has emerged as a main issue for Congress as it debates whether to give President Barack Obama the powers he wants to battle the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.

In their first hearing on the issue since last week's assault on Tikrit by Tehran-trained Shiite militias, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 11 repeatedly asked US officials whether defeating IS would only empower Iran. Most senators had no ready solutions to offer, but several suggested a beefed-up US presence was the only way to keep Iran in check.

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