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AMERICA AND IRAN 2014

TIME TO GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

iran

A POTENTIAL MAJOR TURNING POINT IN THE HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST


 

"I have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed."  U.S President Barack Obama

The current negotiations with Iran offer the best hope for ending the potential of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and creating greater chances for peace in the energy capital of today's world, the Middle East.

It is important for both America and Iran to look forward, not backward.   Both nations have reason to be very angry about the past.  The American people have still not forgotten the attack on their embassy and other hostile acts by Iran.  One the other hand Iran has some very legitimate reasons to be angry with America.    America overthrew an elected government in Iran in the 1950's.   In the 1980's American spy satellites helped Saddam Hussein in the most massive use of chemical weapons since the Holocaust.   In Iraq an American invasion killed over one million civilians. In terms of nuclear weapons America remains the only nation that has used nuclear weapons to wipe out entire cities full of civilians.  Iranians are not likely to be impressed by lectures about the evils of "terrorism" from a country with this kind of track record.

In the case of Iran, religious and political liberties are not what they should be. Although they are far better than a place like Saudi Arabia, one of America's key allies.   Iran's former President has made disgraceful statements about the Holocaust and Israel.

However, today Iran has new leader, who wants to go in a new direction.  We are not going to speculate whether he is or is not "moderate".   What we do know is the there is a sense of exhaustion on both sides about the cost of the current situation.

We believe now is an historic chance to work for peace in the Middle East.   Negotiations need to be conducted on the basis of mutual respect and practical self interest.  Both American and Iran are threatened by the rise of Sunni religious extremists and terrorists.

An end to Iran's nuclear ambitions could lead to the end of sanctions and a huge increase in jobs and prosperity for the energy capital of the world, the Persian Gulf.


Now, after years of sanctions, the U.S. looks like it actually has a chance of reaching a nuclear treaty through Obama's negotiations with Iran. An agreement was reached in Geneva in late 2013 that Iran would move closer towards ending their disputed nuclear program in return for a modest easing of economic sanctions. Establishing peace with Iran would be a landmark achievement for the U.S, not to mention that it would unleash many possibilities for trade and stability in the Persian Gulf.

OFFICIAL POSITIONS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE AND STATE DEPARTMENT

The White House has made it clear that they want to achieve a nuclear treaty via peaceful negotiations and not through additional sanctions - as some members of Congress have suggested. The current deal between the U.S. President and the Iranian people is that Iran will eliminate its stockpile of higher level enriched uranium and dismantle some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible. Iran has also agreed to not installing additional centrifuges or using next generation centrifuges. In return, the U.S, the U.K, France, Germany, Russia and China will agree to provide modest economic relief as long as Iran fulfills its nuclear obligations.

Statement from President Barack Obama: "Unprecedented sanctions and tough diplomacy helped to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and I'm grateful to our partners in Congress who share our goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said. "Imposing additional sanctions now will only risk derailing our efforts to resolve this issue peacefully, and I will veto any legislation enacting new sanctions during the negotiation (White House, 1-12-14)."

"I have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed (White House, 1-12-14)."

Statement from Secretary of State John Kerry: "We have an obligation to give these negotiations an opportunity to succeed. And we can’t ask the rest of the P5+1 and our partners around the world to hold up their ends of the bargain if the United States isn’t going to uphold its end of the bargain. If we appear to be going off on our own tangent and do whatever we want, we will potentially lose their support for the sanctions themselves (State Department Website)."

OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT OF IRAN


THE HORROR OF WAR WITH IRAN

A WAR THAT WOULD CREATE ALL OUT WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST

AND DRAG THE UNITED STATES EVEN FURTHER INTO DEBT

One key reason for peace with Iran is because the alternative is too grim to even consider. Iran is a nation with over 80 million people, with a formidable military of half a million armed forces, three million combat capable reserves and short and medium range missiles.

It is also not entirely certain that air-strikes would even succeed in taking out all of Iran's nuclear sites, given that there are more than a dozen nuclear facilities, many in difficult to reach locations, and there could be a dozen more sites that U.S. intelligence doesn't even know about. So peaceful negotiations would probably do more to reduce Iranian Nuclear capabilities (and at a much lower cost) than the demands of war.

The costs of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have already caused enough devastation to the U.S. economy - the total cost of war in Iraq has added up to more than $3 trillion (Washington Post). A war with Iran would be even more expensive and strike a crushing blow to the anemic U.S. economic recovery. Such a war could realistically drag on for more than a decade, and do to the size of Iran's population, would require an even greater number of forces than what was used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet even worse, experts state that a U.S. war with Iran would unleash an all out war in the Middle East (Think Progress).

You can also read the official report at the Iran Project: Weighing the Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran

We must also keep in mind that an all out war in the Middle East would further enrage the Pakistani people, who have an arsenal of an estimated 200 nuclear warheads.


THE BENEFITS OF A COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH IRAN

Aside from avoiding a powder keg in the Middle East, one topic that remains undiscussed is that Iran and America share many strategic interests that would be better served through active collaboration rather than war. Iran and America both have a mutual interest in the development of a peaceful Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the neutralization of Talibani and Sunni extremists. We will also emphasize that both Iran and America would benefit economically from a termination of sanctions on Iran. Iran would offer a lucrative target for U.S. investments, especially in terms of the oil and natural gas sector.

More of the benefits of a relationship between Iran and U.S are outlined in the following report: Iran and the United States: The Case for a Cooperative Relationship (International Center for Religion and Diplomacy)


MENENDEZ BILL FOR MORE SANCTIONS IN IRAN:
A CASE STUDY OF WHAT NOT TO DO

NUCLEAR WEAPON FREE IRAN ACT OF 2013 (S.1881)

Yet despite the obvious benefits of reaching a nuclear negotiation with Iran, there are several members of congress who are calling for additional sanctions - sanctions that would most likely destroy any chance for a diplomatic agreement. Senators Menendez, Kirk and Schumer are trying to pass a bill that would push more sanctions during Obama's negotiations with Iran. More information on the Menendez bill will be included below.

The bill above was drafted by Robert Senators Menendez (chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Mark Kirk, and Charles Schumer. It is also receiving massive support from AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The legislation itself would broaden the scope of sanctions already imposed in Iran. This bill would expand restrictions on Iran's energy sector to include all aspects of its petroleum trade and would put measures in place to target Iran's shipping and mining sectors. The bill sets tough conditions for a final deal for Iranian negotiators - if a deal can even be reached under such conditions. The bill also states that if Israel takes military action in self defense against Iran's nuclear weapons program, the U.S. should stand with Israel and authorize the use of military force. More details about the bill are on Foreignpolicy.com.

Obama has mentioned that if congress tried to pass such a bill that he would veto it. "I will veto any legislation enacting new sanctions during the negotiation (White House, 1-12-14)."

MENENDEZ BILL WOULD DISRUPT NUCLEAR TALKS AND BRING U.S. CLOSER TO WAR WITH IRAN

An important key fact to keep in mind is that the United States already has sanctions in Iran. The bill above would call for a NEW set of sanctions in the middle of a delicate nuclear weapons negotiation.

Critics of the bill states that it will endanger the current negotiations (Huffington Post, 12-19-13). Not only could this bill disrupt the nuclear talks, but key critics state that it could also push the United States closer to war with Iran. It would also defy the Joint Plan of Action (PDF) signed in Geneva.

Defenders of the Menendez bill claim that if Democrats don't push this bill, Republicans will push an even more extreme bill that will be sure to blow up negotiations. Yet passing Menendez's bill would do plenty of damage on its own - and could close the door on negotiations altogether.


GROUPS SUPPORTING PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS

62 Organizations Warn Senate Against New Iran Sanctions

 

10 DEMOCRATIC SENATE COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN SUPPORT PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS

AND URGE HARRY REID TO REJECT MENENDEZ BILL

The Letter to Harry Reid (PDF)

10 Democratic Committee Chairmen are circulating a joint letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging him to to reject Menendez's efforts to tighten sanctions on Iran.

The senators wrote the following in their letter:

"At this time, as negotiations are ongoing, we believe that new sanctions would play into the hands of those in Iran who are most eager to see the negotiations fail."

 

STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL, TRITA PARSI

NIAC HOME PAGE

"If the Geneva deal falls apart as a result of Congressional foul play, the world will view the U.S. – and not Iran – as the main obstacle to a nuclear agreement. With blame shifting to the U.S., international consensus against Iran will wither away, and with it, much of the international sanctions regime. Numerous countries will stop implementing their sanctions, thus providing Tehran with de facto sanctions relief – but without Iran giving any nuclear concessions. This is the cost of Congress overplaying its hand"  (NIAC, 1-10-14)

 

INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR RELIGION AND DIPLOMACY

SUPPORTS COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN U.S AND IRAN

READ REPORT HERE

The report above highlights the many military and economic benefits that a cooperative relationship would have for both the U.S. and Iran

 

IRAN PROJECT

IRAN PROJECT HOMEPAGE

The Iran Project is dedicated to the cause of improving official contacts between the United States and Iran. It was started in 2002 by the United Nations Association of the USA and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and later became an independent under the non-profit organization, Foundation for a Civil Society in 2009.

 

STATEMENT FROM MOVE-ON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ANNA GALLAND

MOVE ON HOME PAGE

"Democrats like Senators Schumer and Menendez should stop supporting Republican efforts to undermine President Obama's diplomacy. The last thing our country needs right now is another war. It is shameful and wrong for Senators to intentionally undermine the potential for a negotiated, diplomatic solution. We urge all Senators to avoid action that heightens the risk of conflict (MoveOn, 12-19-13)."


RELATED NEWS ARTICLES

Why Iran is the Country to Watch in 2014 (Alternet, 12-24-13)

Not the Time to Squeeze Iran (New York Times, 11-15-13)

 

CONGRESS AND IRAN

Invading Iraq Was Dumb Enough. Now Congress Wants to Derail the Iran Deal (Common Dreams, 1-14-14)

Congress should let diplomacy on Iran nuclear program play out (Washington Post, 1-14-14)

Hardline Dems Line Up Behind 'Dangerous' Iran Sanctions Bill (Common Dreams, 12-19-13)

Sen. Feinstein: "We cannot let Israel determine when and where the US goes to war.” (Daily KOS, 1-16-14)

CONSEQUENCES OF WAR IN IRAN

Bipartisan Expert Group: Iran Attack Risks ‘All-Out Regional War’ Lasting ‘Several Years’ (Think Progress, 9-13-12)

Experts say a U.S. Strike on Iran would risk an all out war in the Middle East (CBS News, 9-13-12)

 THE HORRORS OF SANCTIONS AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS

US gave Saddam blessing to use toxins against Iranians (RT, 8-26-13)

Iran's Chemical Weapon Survivors Show Twin Horrors of WMD and Sanctions (The Guardian, 9-2-13)

The Chemical Victims of Iran: the forgotten casualties of the Iran-Iraq war (CASMII, 11-26-06)