24 May 2013

On Senate Resolution 65 - A resolution strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation.

Reuters/Reuters - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, 350 km (217 miles) south of Tehran, April 8, 2008. REUTERS/Presidential official website/Handout

On May 22, 2013, the Senate confirmed Resolution 65 strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation without one vote of dissent. Any vote that specifically invokes military action ought to be questioned by someone. Yet not one senator voted in opposition.

The following is my letter to Senator Ron Johnson in response to this calamitous vote. A similar letter was sent to Senator Tammy Baldwin. The vote on this resolution couldn't have been more timely for the war mongers among us. In all the hubbub surrounding the IRS affair and the Benghazi attacks as well as the press intrusions, not too many media outlets have reported on the continued escalations toward military action.

Any responses will be duly posted.

May 24, 2013

Dear Senator Johnson,

I am writing to express my disappointment with the voting results on Senate Resolution 65 and am wondering when the drum beat of war will transform into the thunder claps of missiles targeting Tehran. As a result of Senate Resolution 65, it seems that threats of military strikes have become an integral component of US-Israeli relations with the IR of Iran rather than sincere negotiations.

This realization ought to shock Americans. Every voting Senator voiced their support of the text in Section 1 that Congress as of May 22, 2013, "declares that the United States has a vital national interest in, and unbreakable commitment to, ensuring the existence, survival, and security of the State of Israel, and reaffirms United States support for Israel's right to self-defense; and urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran's nuclear weapons program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence." Unfortunately many Americans will have never heard of Senate Resolution 65 by the time the first missiles have been fired. The fact that this has passed without much of a whimper from around this country speaks volumes for our lack of real representation. Americans have repeatedly voiced their opposition to military strikes in Iran.

The committed resolve demonstrated in S. Res. 65, while impressive in its staunch support of Israel, misrepresents the facts about Iranian nuclear endeavors. The reasoning behind the resolution is disconcerting in its sheer unreasonableness.

As part of the argument for pledging military support, for what seems to be an authorization of preemptive strikes, the resolution cites the IAEA as determining Iran's nuclear program as non-compliant with the NPT signed in 1970. But this declaration is itself highly dubious and misleading because in fact there has been no such statement.

There has been no issuance of a non-compliance statement by the IAEA regarding the Iranian nuclear program. The IAEA maintains a complete and thorough history of Iran's overwhelming participation in oversight of their nuclear endeavors. In turn, the Agency has responsibly been circumspect in describing the uranium enrichment program implemented by the Iranian Republic.

A report by the Congressional Research Service in September 2012, clearly admits as much. The report reiterated the IAEA's findings. It summarily states, that "in 2002, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began investigating allegations that Iran had conducted clandestine nuclear activities. Ultimately, the agency reported that some of these activities had violated Tehran’s IAEA safeguards agreement. The IAEA has not stated definitively that Iran has pursued nuclear weapons, but has also not yet been able to conclude that the country’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes." This conclusion makes it very clear that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran is indeed pursuing nuclear weapons. The violation of the safeguards agreement was relative to continued inspections not indicative of nuclear weapon development.

A more recent report by the IAEA, again far more responsibly than the US Senate, affirms that the Agency "is continuing to analyse the source(s) of low enriched uranium (LEU) particles, and some high enriched uranium (HEU) particles, which were found in Iran with a view to assessing the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations concerning its enrichment activities..." That Iran has filed numerous reports with the IAEA ought to be telling in addition to the fact that the IAEA is "continuing" to assess reports provided by Tehran. How many nuclear facility inspections have the IAEA conducted on American soil? The US is home to 104 reactors, by far the most of any country, providing 19% of the country's electricity. Israel is known to harbor nuclear facilities. How many reports have been filed with the IAEA regarding Israeli nuclear endeavors?

Unfortunately, it seems the Senate has chosen to conveniently disregard most of the facts in this case and rather than pursue a course dictated by reason has held fast to intolerable, malevolent sanctions that direct harm at the Iranian people, and then, in the face of these severe trade restrictions, offers belligerent and reckless threats of military escalation.

It is highly dubious that any of the continued bombast on all sides has effectively diminished the likelihood of the development of nuclear technology in Iran. If anything it has only made Tehran's convictions more steadfast.

An alternative solution to these reckless and dangerous provocations, and in lieu of overt but opaquely disguised war, perhaps it is time to re-establish diplomatic ties that might bring more stability to the region rather than more unrest. It is widely known that Iran's influence and presence has now been entrenched in, at the very least, northern Iraq. Tehran continues to support the Syrian government and Hamas. It is well within the region's interest for the US and Israel to construct rational and open negotiations with a goal of stabilization. What is essentially more valuable, that the US act in accordance with its own interests or it acts in accordance with the interests of the greater Middle East? To many of us, the answer would have to be that an achievement of peace in the region would affect America's interest far more than the pursuance of war while also demonstrably affecting the interests of the entire region.

I would urge the good Senator from Wisconsin who now sits on the Foreign Relations Committee to boldly propose opening diplomatic talks following the upcoming Iranian elections. While the rest of your honorable colleagues may be too frightened or intimidated by party politics to offer such a courageous request, it would highly elevate your status as a senator of rationalization rather than belligerence, as a senator of vision rather than a reactionary.



-------------------- US Will go to war if Iran does

NIAC's Statement on US Congressional Action on Iran

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