Iran Deal – Keep Dialing for Peace! Congress Needs to Hear from You!

July 27, 2015

img-thing

About two weeks ago we celebrated the historic deal with Iran we all worked on over the last decade.  As you know, the agreement would make it impossible for Iran to build a crude nuclear weapon for at least 15 years with intrusive inspections and monitoring to last indefinitely.  Once Iran complies with blocking the pathways to a nuclear weapon, sanctions will be lifted.

Despite overwhelming support by nonproliferation experts, former diplomats and others, Republican mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson, who just last year said the U.S. should use a nuclear weapon on Iran, and his friends are pouring tens of millions of dollars to kill this important accord.  Some of this money is being used to do paid “patch through” calls that use scary rhetoric and automatically connect people to congressional offices.  While the quality of these calls are low (uninformed callers who aren’t constituents), several congressional allies tell me that they are getting more calls against the deal.

This is where you come in, Congress has until early fall to vote on the agreement.  We need to keep positive calls, ringing in Congress every week until the votes.  Will you make three call a week for peace?

Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (686-6927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask that my Senator/Representative publicly support the historic Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.  My name is XXX and I live in CITY AND ZIP CODE.

Then, forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

You can reach most offices from 9 AM – 6 PM Eastern M-F.  Outside those hours, some offices allow you to leave messages or you can try local offices.

Please take a moment to make a few calls and forward this email.  Do it now.

With your help, we pressured the Bush and Obama administration to use diplomacy instead of war to solve conflict with Iran.  With your help, we created the political space that allowed the international community to reach this diplomatic agreement with Iran.  Now, with your help, we will make sure that Congress doesn’t scuttle the peace by voting against the deal.

Will you please take the above actions today?

Thank you for your efforts to finalize a victory and further steps for peace in the Middle East.

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Political Director
Peace Action


Peace Action Iran article on MSNBC.com, please help promote!

July 17, 2015
Paul Kawika Martin at a pro-democracy rally in front of the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC attended by nearly 1,000 Iranians

Paul Kawika Martin at a pro-democracy rally in 2009 in front of the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC attended by nearly 1,000 Iranians

Our Policy Director, Paul Kawika Martin, had this op-ed published by MSNBC (they gave it a less than great headline though). Please help promote the article by:

  1. Retweeting: https://twitter.com/PaulKawika/status/621810654962434049
  1.  Sharing: https://www.facebook.com/paulkawika
  1. Liking by going to the article and clicking the up arrow: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/the-iran-deal-isnt-perfect-its-better-another-war
  1.  Making positive comments.  Go to the article and comment.

 The Iran deal isn’t perfect. But it’s better than another war.

Now that the United States, other world powers and Iran have reached a final agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, the action on this historic chance for peace turns to Congress.

The legislative branch, authorized by President Obama to approve the Iran deal, now has great power and responsibility: They can either reject the accord, potentially killing diplomacy and putting the United States on a path to war, or allow the president to implement the deal and solidify American goals of blocking all of Iran’s paths to building a nuclear weapon and making the U.S., its allies, and the Middle East more secure.

RELATED: Obama: Without Iran deal, we risk more war

As Congress debates the merits of the final nuclear agreement, it would be wise to listen to the nuclear and non-proliferation experts who say this agreement will move Iran’s breakout time – the time to produce enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon – from the current three months to one year or more. They also point out that the agreement provides unprecedented inspections, monitoring and verification regimes, which would catch Iran if it cheated and “snap back” sanctions in short order.

Some lawmakers claim that the U.S. can get a “better deal.” But experts say there is no such thing.

Why? A better deal would require more pressure on Iran in the form of more sanctions, which have only worked when the entire international community participates. If the U.S. backs out of the deal, our partners aren’t likely to join us in the re-imposition of sanctions after they all just agreed to the deal on the table. Remember, it wasn’t just the Americans and the Iranians negotiating over the past decade and with great intensity the last few years: The British, French, Chinese, Russians and Germans all okayed this agreement, too. As Nicholas Burns, a former top U.S. negotiator with Iran, points out, the global sanctions regime would collapse if the U.S. walks away now from this international agreement.

The other alternative, military intervention, wouldn’t work and would be extraordinarily costly in blood and treasure. Military experts agree that even a highly successful war with Iran may only set its nuclear program back a few years and it wouldn’t destroy the country’s technological know-how. Intervention could also force Iran to do everything possible to obtain a nuclear weapon.

It’s very difficult to estimate long-term costs of wars. You must calculate long-term health care, interest on debt, opportunity costs, loss of productivity and other difficult variables. Nobel Prize-winning economists estimate the total costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars will run between $4-$6 trillion – nearly enough to fund the U.S government for two years. Now consider that Iran is nearly three times as populous as Iraq, four times larger geographically, and spends $8-$14 billion annually on its military compared to the few billion Iraq spent when the U.S. invaded in 2002.

RELATED: On Iran, no need to speculate about the alternative. We’ve already lived it.

Other experts posit that for just the first three months, targeted strikes on Iran’s nuclear program would cost nearly a trillion dollars, with expanded bombings of some military sites increasing the bill by several hundred billion and a full-scale invasion nearing a whopping $2 trillion.

Again, a war with Iran would likely have unpredictable consequences. Would a military intervention spark a larger war in the Middle East with Shiite militias attacking American assets in Iraq, Yemen and other countries? Iran has been linked to acts of terrorism from bombings to assassinations. If the U.S. or Israel attacked Iran, they could certainly use such tactics on American targets abroad and perhaps here at home. Iran’s naval capacity and anti-ship missiles could attack U.S. assets or start a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz, where 20% of the world’s oil passes, creating a spike in oil prices that would have a deleterious affect on the entire world economy.

The most important cost to consider is human. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have caused nearly 7,000 U.S. deaths, left well over 50,000 Americans physically wounded, countless mentally and emotionally scarred and, some claim, over one million civilian casualties. It would be difficult to predict the causalities from a war with Iran, but with the likely outcome not solving the problem, it’s clearly not worth the human or financial costs.

The international agreement with Iran keeps it from a nuclear weapon for a decade at least. There is no better agreement to be reached. The alternatives would fail and their price is unacceptably high. While it’s not a perfect path, it is the only path Congress should support publicly and vote to approve. I am contacting both my Senators and my Representative to tell them just that. I hope you’ll join me.

Paul Kawika Martin is the political and policy director of Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. He can be reached on Twitter @PaulKawika.


Tell Congress to Give Diplomacy, and Peace, a Chance!

July 16, 2015

img-thing

 

Dear Kevin,

The ink had hardly dried on peace deal with Iran when opponents launched a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat the deal.  Make no mistake, Peace Action and our allies will need to go all out to insure we have the votes to sustain a presidential veto. I am forwarding Kevin’s alert from earlier this week and asking you to sign our petition and call your Senators and representative today at (855) 686-6927 (toll free)

So far, our coalition has collected over 100,000 signatures and generated over 13,400 calls to Congress.  Help protect this historic agreement.

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin

Begin Forwarded Message:

Dear Kevin,

You made history!

The peace deal reached this morning with Iran thwarting any nuclear weapon production is one of the most important diplomatic accomplishments of the century so far. It demonstrates that intelligence, patience, creativity and an openness to conflict resolution can prevent war.

Illustrating that, the history books, as usual, will be full of photographs of a handful of people, around a table.

But we know that thousands of our members and like-minded folks protected the talks by speaking up for diplomacy. Without you, attacks by the Iran hawks could easily have derailed diplomacy.  Peace Action was one of the first organizations to work on this issue by organizing a high-level meeting of NGO leaders over eight years ago.

Now we all need to make one final push to ensure that the peace deal makes it across the finish line.  Congress is likely to vote to approve or disapprove the deal in the next 60 days   Please take three simple actions now:

1.  Please sign this coalition petition to stop Congress from killing the agreement. 

2.  Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask that my Senator/Representative publicly support the announced Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.

3.  Forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

Because we know that an epic battle is about to begin in Congress we’ve teamed up with 18 other progressive groups to send a strong message to Congress: don’t take us to war by destroying this peace deal.

Please take a moment to do as many of the three actions as you can above.  Do it now.

We know that many in the Republican party will do anything they can to deny the president a major foreign policy victory.  At the same time many Democrats have historically voted a very hawkish line on Iran.

This campaign brings together progressive groups to push the swing Democrats back to diplomacy.

The petition’s ask is simple but its political message is clear. It reads:

“Republicans are trying to take us to war by sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal. I urge you to support the deal and stop the Republicans from starting another war of choice in the Middle East.”

Can you please take the above actions today?

Thank you for your help during this historic moment,

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. -You’ve heard about the monumental agreement reached with Iran this morning on its nuclear program. A deal which you helped to bring about.  Now do as many of these three things that you can to seal the deal:

1.  Please sign this coalition petition to stop Congress from killing the agreement.

2.  Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask my Senator/Representative to publicly support the announced Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.

3.  Forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

Take Action:

Tell Congress: Support the Historic Iran Deal!
Sign The Petition
Make Calls (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)

CONNECT TO US:

 Find us on Facebook
 Follow us on Twitter
 Read our blog
 Contact us

You Helped Stop a War! NOW Help Seal the Peace Deal with Iran!

July 14, 2015

peace girl

You made history!

The peace deal reached this morning with Iran thwarting any nuclear weapon production is one of the most important diplomatic accomplishments of the century so far. It demonstrates that intelligence, patience, creativity and an openness to conflict resolution can prevent war.

Illustrating that, the history books, as usual, will be full of photographs of a handful of people, around a table.

But we know that thousands of our members and like-minded folks protected the talks by speaking up for diplomacy. Without you, attacks by the Iran hawks could easily have derailed diplomacy.  Peace Action was one of the first organizations to work on this issue by organizing a high-level meeting of NGO leaders over eight years ago.

Now we all need to make one final push to ensure that the peace deal makes it across the finish line.  Congress is likely to vote to approve or disapprove the deal in the next 60 days   Please take three simple actions now:

1.  Please sign this coalition petition to stop Congress from killing the agreement. 

2.  Call Congress!  (855) 68 NO WAR (66 927 toll free)  First, ask for each of your Senators, when finished call your Representative and say:

I am calling to ask that my Senator/Representative publicly support the announced Iran agreement and vote to support the deal.

3.  Forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.

Because we know that an epic battle is about to begin in Congress we’ve teamed up with 18 other progressive groups to send a strong message to Congress: don’t take us to war by destroying this peace deal.

Please take a moment to do as many of the three actions as you can above.  Do it now.

We know that many in the Republican party will do anything they can to deny the president a major foreign policy victory.  At the same time many Democrats have historically voted a very hawkish line on Iran.

This campaign brings together progressive groups to push the swing Democrats back to diplomacy.

The petition’s ask is simple but its political message is clear. It reads:

“Republicans are trying to take us to war by sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal. I urge you to support the deal and stop the Republicans from starting another war of choice in the Middle East.”

Can you please take the above actions today?

Thank you for your help during this historic moment,


Statement on Peace Agreement with Iran

July 14, 2015

For Immediate Release:  July 13, 2015

Contacts: Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action, 951-217-7285 cell, pmartin@peace-action.org

Kevin Martin, Peace Action, 301-537-8244 cell, kmartin@peace-action.org

Largest Peace Organization Hails Historic Iran Agreement

Washington, DC — July 13, 2015 — After several years of diplomacy, the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany (P5 + 1) and Iran reached an historic agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna, Austria today.  The agreement claims to take steps that will keep Iran from producing a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the country.

“This historic agreement between the international community and Iran on its nuclear program will ensure Iran will not produce a nuclear weapon, making the U.S. and the world safer.  This agreement will keep Iran at least a year away from having the fissile material needed to make a crude nuclear weapon for at least ten years.  Without an agreement, that timeline shrinks to three months and the threat of war increases dramatically,” commented Paul Kawika Martin the political director of Peace Action (the largest peace group in the U.S. founded on the issue of abolishing nuclear weapons) who has been working on the Iran issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in Iran where he enjoyed the hospitality from its people and its vast culture.

The agreement includes five major components:  Decreasing the stockpile of material that could possibly be made into fissile material.  Limiting the quantity and quality of centrifuges that could make highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb.  Reconfiguring the nuclear reactor (and securing its spent fuel) in the city of Arak so it produces an insignificant amount of weapons grade plutonium.  Implementing unprecedented inspections and comprehensive monitoring.  And lastly, scheduling and implementing the lifting of specific sanctions on Iran.  In summary, over the next ten years and in some cases longer, all pathways for Iran to build a nuclear weapon will be blocked and critical examination and oversight for verification in exchange for lifting of sanctions.

Recent polls show that a vast majority of Americans oppose military intervention with and support reaching an agreement such as the one reached with even stronger support coming from American Jews.  Despite American support, many in the U.S. Congress have expressed opposition and have promised to derail the historic agreement.

Because the U.S. Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 several months ago, they will have 60 days to review the agreement.  During that time the President may not lift certain statutory sanctions. Within the review period, Congress may vote to disapprove the agreement.  If the disapproval survives a guaranteed presidential veto — a prospect that looks unlikely — then the President would not be able to lift sanctions as part of the agreement, essentially killing the deal.  “Peace Action expects Members of Congress to support the Iran agreement with positive statements and votes that approve the deal.  We and dozens of other political organizations will use any votes on the Iran deal in legislative records and will withhold endorsements and campaign contributions for lawmakers that vote to kill this important agreement,” warned Paul Kawika Martin.  The organization claims to have given millions in contributions and endorsed thousands of candidates since its inception.

“An agreement with Iran on its nuclear program is better than any imaginable alternative.  Military strategists have said consistently that a military intervention with Iran would at best slightly delay any nuclear program and at worst force Iran to engage in getting a nuclear weapon even if they had no such program.  Voting against the accord would be very short sighted as the agreement with Iran on their nuclear program may lead to productive negotiations on other items of concern with the Iranian Government.  More sanctions on Iran are likely to only embolden Iranian hardliners rather than solving the problem,” concluded Paul Kawika Martin.

Besides reaching an agreement with the P5 + 1, Iran also reached an agreement with International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) to clarify all possible past military dimensions (PMDs) of its nuclear program.  The IAEA will release its final assessment by December.  This has been a sticking point with critics of an agreement.

“The success of these talks since 2006 again proves that diplomacy works.  Instead of isolation, sanctions that disproportionately affect commoners or military intervention that costs vast amounts of blood and treasure with untold long-term costs and unintended consequences, the U.S. used dialogue, negotiations and the international community to solve conflict.  These history making negotiations may open the door for more talks on issues like human rights and regional security that will further reduce Middle East tensions,” concluded Kevin Martin, executive director, of Peace Action.

###

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace- Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. @PaulKawika or http://twitter.com/PaulKawika


US taxpayer dollars, $250 million of em, spent to train sixty, that’s 60, Syrian rebels (that’s fewer fighters than an NFL roster, and more expensive per gladiator!)

July 8, 2015

20141209_MoveOn_ISIS_FBshareable_1EndEndlessWarNotBranded

How about instead of throwing this money down the proverbial crapper, we use it to potty-train all the children in the world. Or for refugee/humanitarian assistance in Syria. This failure (which we’ve also seen with “training” “our guys” in Iraq and Afghanistan) was inevitable, since nobody could even guess what “success” would look like. Shut this asinine program down now!

PoliticoPro: US has spent hundreds of millions for just 60 Syrian fighters

By AUSTIN WRIGHT

 

7/8/15 3:41 PM EDT

How much has the United States spent to train that whopping force of 60 Syrian rebels to take on the Islamic State? Well, according to basic math, about $4 million for each of them.

POLITICO has learned that of the $500 million requested last year for the “train-and-equip” program, roughly half has been spent.

“About half of the $500 million has been obligated thus far, mostly on equipment required to train the Syrian fighters,” said a congressional aide who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The fact that the Obama administration has spent so much on a program that has yielded so few vetted fighters makes clear just how difficult it is to find “moderate” Syrian rebels who can make it through the stringent screening process — and are willing to prioritize the fight against ISIL over the civil war against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The figure also provides new ammo for Republican critics of President Barack Obama’s strategy for dealing with ISIL, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday blasting the president’s Syria plan as “delusional.”

McCain’s statement came after Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Armed Services panel during a hearing that just 60 fighters had made it through the vetting process for the three-month-old Syria train-and-equip program — a number he conceded was “much smaller than we hoped for at this point.”

Another 7,000 volunteers, Carter said, were going through the screening process.

Last year, Congress approved $500 million for training program, with a goal of training about 3,000 vetted Syrian rebels this year, according to the Congressional Research Service.

There are many reasons why the number of vetted fighters is so low, including the Obama administration’s requirement that the fighters — who are being trained at sites in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — agree to prioritize the fight against ISIL over the war against the Assad regime.

Administration officials are concerned about the aftermath if Assad were toppled without a political structure ready to replace him. But McCain and other Republicans say it’s imperative that the administration go after both the Syrian leader and ISIL.

“The administration is telling Syrians to forego fighting their greatest enemy, the Assad regime, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and meanwhile refusing to protect these fighters from the terror of Assad’s barrel bombs,” McCain said in a statement. “That is why it is no small wonder that our train and equip program in Syria is so anemic.”

For his part, Carter predicted during Tuesday’s hearing that more allied fighters will be vetted and trained.

“As training progresses,” he said, “we are learning more about the opposition groups and building important relationships, which increases our ability to attract recruits and provides valuable intelligence for counter-ISIL operations.”

A separate, classified program to train Syrian rebels run by the CIA, reportedly to the tune of nearly $1 billion, has been underway for several years. Its effectiveness has also been called into question, leading some lawmakers to move to cut some of the secret funding.


Action Alert: Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Attack

July 8, 2015

From our friends at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (Peace Action is a member organization of the campaign)

One Year Later, We Remember and Act

Dear Kevin,


Take action: Tell your Members of Congress to hold Israel accountable. Photo credit: Anne Paq.

One year has passed since “Operation Protective Edge”, Israel’s ruthless 50-day attack on the Palestinian Gaza Strip which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and devastated its infrastructure. 

Today Gaza remains under Israeli blockade, unreconstructed, and teetering on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe. 

Recent reports published by Defense for Children International Palestine and Breaking the Silence document how Israel used US weapons—including F-16 fighter jets, Apache helicopter gunships, and Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers—to kill Palestinian children and wantonly destroy Palestinian homes in apparent violation of US laws.

Please write and call your Members of Congress asking them to urge Secretary of State John Kerry to investigate and hold Israel accountable for using US weapons against Palestinians in violation of the Arms Export Control Act and “Leahy Law”.

And while you’re doing so, be sure to invite your Members of Congress and their staff to a Capitol Hill briefing we’re holding onWednesday, July 29 at 12:00 PM in 121 Cannon House Building, featuring:

* Nadia Ben-Youssef, USA Representative, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

* Eman Mohammed, Gaza photojournalist; contributor, Gaza Unsilenced 

* Brad Parker, International Advocacy Officer, Defense for Children International Palestine

This briefing will examine Israel’s failure to hold itself accountable through domestic judicial proceedings and the options and need for the United States and the international community to do so.

Cosponsors of the briefing include the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Muslims for Palestine andFriends Committee on National Legislation.

Click here for additional details about the briefing. And click here to read the letter that Members of Congress can send to the State Department. 

After you call and write your Members of Congress, be sure to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Last month, Israel exonerated itself of any wrongdoing in its killing of the four Bakr cousins—Ahed and Ismail, aged 9, Zakaria, aged 10, and Mohammad, aged 11—as they played soccer on the Gaza City beach.

Israel derives this impunity from the political, diplomatic and military support we provide it. Let’s change this equation and demand that Israel is held accountable. 

Thank you for taking action.


Josh Ruebner
Policy Director

PS: Read Defense for Children International Palestine’s report “Operation Protective Edge: A war waged on Gaza’s children” and Breaking the Silence’s report “This Is How We Fought in Gaza: Soldiers’ testimonies and photographs from Operation ‘Protective Edge’ (2014)”.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,557 other followers

%d bloggers like this: