Free State Peacemongers – Protest Sen. Cardin’s opposition to Iran Deal Monday!

September 4, 2015
MD peace proponents at Sen. Cardin's office two weeks ago, we'll have many more on Monday at the Labor Day parades!

MD peace proponents at Sen. Cardin’s office two weeks ago, we’ll have many more on Monday at the Labor Day parades!

Next week, Congress will take up the historic peace agreement with Iran, with votes expected in the House of Representatives and Senate by the end of the week. Our junior senator, Ben Cardin, has just announced that he will vote against the Iran accord.  In addition, he is planning to introduce legislation that will undercut the deal.  This is unacceptable, and we need to show Sen. Cardin that we are extremely disappointed in him—there is still time for him to change his mind.  Sen. Cardin is marching in two Labor Day parades on Monday. Please join us to tell him that we did not elect him to support Netanyahu’s right wing government over the interests of the U.S. and world peace!

WHAT: Members of Peace Action, Pax Christi, MoveOn, Code Pink, Progressive Maryland, Council for a Livable World, and other pro-peace organizations will vigil at two Labor Day parades (Kensington and Gaithersburg) where Sen. Ben Cardin will march.  We will urge Sen. Cardin and other undecided members of Congress from Maryland to support the nuclear agreement with Iran and to oppose any “poison pill” bills that will undercut the deal.  We will hold signs, chant, and distribute fliers.

WHEN:  Parades are Monday, Sept. 7 at 10 am in Kensington and 1 pm in Gaithersburg.

WHERE:  Meet up locations:

Kensington:  9:30 am at the Safeway Parking lot, 10541 Connecticut Avenue.

Gaithersburg:  12:30 pm at intersection of Odendhal and Russell (one of the corners of Lake Forest mall). U.S. Rep. John Delaney, undecided on the Iran deal as of today, will also be at this parade.

Bring your home-made signs supporting the Iran agreement! Bring a friend, or send and post this alert to your friends, family and social media networks.

BACKGROUND: Marylanders from across the state are mobilizing to encourage their Congressional representatives to support the nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement will restrict Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear bomb and will likely prevent another war. Despite the fact that there are now enough votes in the Senate to sustain a presidential veto of expected resolutions of disapproval, the struggle is not over, as other legislation that will undercut the Iran accord is expected to be introduced next week. We need to keep the pressure on and fight these bills.

We need your voice for peace! Please join us on Monday!

Also, please call Cardin’s office at 202/224-4524 to express your displeasure at his opposition to diplomacy!


#TBT – To Yesterday’s National Day of Action for the Iran Peace Deal!

August 27, 2015
Peacemongers in Sarasota, Florida at the office of US Rep. Vern Buchanan

Peacemongers in Sarasota, Florida at the office of US Rep. Vern Buchanan

“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” — The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace Action affiliates, chapters, associates, members and volunteers put MLK’s words into practice yesterday as part of a national day of action (over 200 around the country!) involving dozens of national and local peace groups. Here are just a few highlights:

Portland, Maine — Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and other local groups rallied to press Senator Susan Collins, considered the lone possible Republican supporter of the Iran nuclear deal, which generated this article in the Portland Press Herald. Also longtime Peace Action Maine leader Sally Breen had a letter to the editor published in the same paper, a great two-fer!

Buffalo, New York — Western New Yorkers protested Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s announced opposition to the Iran peace deal, and the local public radio station covered it. 

Is that deal opponent Sen. Chuck Schumer?

Is that deal opponent Sen. Chuck Schumer?

Newark, New Jersey — Peace Action led a rally and petition delivery of 15,000 signatures in support of the Iran deal to the office of Sen. Cory Booker, considered a key fence sitter. And they aren’t done, they have another rally planned for this Saturday! Two papers in Jersey ran articles on the event.

Wilmington, Delaware — About 50 peace advocates organized by our associate organization, Pacem en Teris, gathered to urge Sen. Chris Coons, a key “on the fence” senator, to support peace with Iran, and got good media coverage of their efforts.

Sarasota, Florida — activists gathered to press Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, who says he leans against the deal.

irancrowd

OhioCleveland Peace Action’s Norman Robbins had an op-ed in the Plain Dealer yesterday, and activists in Columbus paid a visit to the office of U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, shown here:

IMG_2314

Detroit, Michigan – Peace Action and allies organized a rally at the office of Sen. Gary Peters, considered a key swing vote on the Iran agreement. The Detroit News article also covered an anti-deal gathering. See some of our folks’ photos on the FaceBook page for the event.

 


Pro-Iran Diplomacy Op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

August 26, 2015

by Norman Robbins of Cleveland Peace Action

Iran nuclear deal – the pros outweigh the cons

When arguments about the Iran nuclear deal rage over arcane matters such as the allowable kilograms of low enriched uranium, the reliability of Additional Protocol inspections, or whether Iran can reprocess spent fuel, most of us find our eyes glazing over. We really just want to know whether the nuclear deal has sufficiently blocked all pathways to building a nuclear weapon for a reasonable period. As adults, we know that a fair deal was bound to leave each side somewhat dissatisfied. But is the big picture positive or negative?

One way to decide is to evaluate the credibility of those holding differing views. When we do so, it appears that on balance, most qualified experts who have spoken out publicly favor the deal.

For starters, a great many published statements of support for the deal have come from eminent military, nuclear, diplomatic and nonproliferation experts, altogether totaling hundreds of individuals (see references at https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/validators-of-iran-nuclear-deal/). The number of these experts, many who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, absolutely dwarfs the handful of bona fide experts (not including media pundits) who oppose the deal.

For instance, more than 80 Israeli former military and intelligence leaders support the deal or at least have advised Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop opposing it, and reportedly few Israeli military people say the deal is a major detriment to Israel.

So why should we listen to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings of dire consequences? Do Israel’s military and intelligence leaders know or care less about Israel’s security than Netanyahu?

In stark contrast, Netanyahu, the leader of the charge to scuttle the agreement, has a long history of making confident predictions that have turned out to be dead wrong. From 1992 to 2012 (for 20 years!), he repeatedly predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb in three years or less.

Wrong! Since 2007, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, a consensus of 16 intelligence agencies, repeatedly affirmed that Iran has not worked on a nuclear weapon since 2003 and has not decided whether to do so.

Netanyahu ”guaranteed” Congress in 2002 that ”the Iraq War would have enormous positive reverberations in the region.”

Wrong! We all know how that fiasco turned out.

Netanyahu has demanded that a nuclear deal with Iran must compel Iran to totally dismantle its nuclear program.

Wrong! We know for a fact that precisely this demand undermined U.S.-European attempts at negotiation with Iran from 2003 to 2013. Numerous polls have shown that Iranians proudly consider their peaceful nuclear program as non-negotiable, especially in view of their dismal history of humiliating quasi-colonial interventions.

Stack up these major and repeated wrong-headed blunders, many contrary to the advice and opinion of experienced experts, and it is clear that one should set little stock by what Netanyahu and his followers claim, especially in the category of hyperbolic fearmongering (e.g., that Iran is going to attack the United States or Israel with nukes).

Those who oppose the deal assure us that we can get a better deal if we sack this one, but most experienced diplomats disagree. European, Chinese and Russian ambassadors have told members of Congress that the sanctions would collapse and no new deal could emerge if Congress sank the deal. Claims that the United States could impose ”secondary” sanctions on countries that resume trade with Iran have been countered by economic experts who point out that the resulting losses of trade (e.g. with China and Southeast Asian countries) would greatly harm the U.S. economy.

Again, naysayers assert that if the deal falls through and Iran restores its pre-existing nuclear capacity, we can always default to military action. Indeed, one of Netanyahu’s major U.S. financial supporters, Sheldon Adelson, publicly proposed dropping nukes on Iran to force it to abandon its nuclear program, and Netanyahu has never disavowed that genocidal proposal.

How credible are these people? Once again, 36 retired U.S. military leaders, who know well the dire unintended consequences of heedless military action, say we must try the diplomatic approach long before we contemplate military action.

We have some 20,000 American sailors and perhaps 10,000 soldiers on bases within easy reach of enormous numbers of Iranian ship- and shore-based missiles. Do we really want to put their lives at risk by refusing to listen to voices of reason and experience?

Will our still-uncommitted Ohio Congress members — Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan and Joyce Beatty — have the courage to resist pressure and be among those listeners? 

 

Robbins is an emeritus professor of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University and Iran consultant to Cleveland Peace Action.


Please Join Us – National Day of Action for Iran Deal this Wednesday!

August 24, 2015

Cardin_group

What: National Day of Action for Iran Deal
When: This Wednesday Aug. 26
Where: Sign Up Here and Details

We’ve been waiting for this moment. Peace Action has taken action for a peace agreement with Iran for over a decade. Thank you for your consistent advocacy.

Finally that agreement is within reach.

But, as you know, the war hawks are spending millions on an advertising and lobbying campaign to kill the Iran deal. We simply cannot let them succeed.

We need to turn up the volume – especially in the key districts of undecided members of Congress. A strong grassroots showing can counteract the hawks’ cash, since we represent the majority of Americans who support this deal.

Will you join fellow Peace Action members and other pro-peace neighbors this Wednesday, August 26, at the office of key members of Congress?

Click here to sign up and for complete details.

Because the stakes are so high, we’ve joined in coalition with other progressive organizations like Credo, MoveOn, and Win Without War to organize this national day of action. We need to make sure Congress hears our voices loud and clear.

We’ll let Congress know the best way to stop a war is through proactive diplomacy long before the preparations for war begin. We must frame this for undecided members of Congress as a momentous decision between war and peace.

On Wednesday, August 26, at more than 200 events, Peace Action members and allies will gather at the offices of key senators and House members to deliver petitions, raise our voices for peace in local media, and send a national message—will you be there?

Click here to sign up and for complete details.

If this deal is voted down you know exactly what the war hawks will be pushing for. Many of the candidates running for president have already made clear that war is their Plan B. After over a decade of non-stop war we can’t let that happen.

Click here to join us on this coming Wednesday August 26.

Thanks again for making peace possible.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. – Please plan to join us on Wednesday and help spread the word via email and social media to folks you think would be interested in coming out. Who knows, you might make some new peace-mongering friends!


TV clip of Iran actions in MD yesterday

August 21, 2015

Featuring Peace Action’s own Jean Athey!

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/08/20/sen-cardin-under-pressure-ahead-of-decision-on-iran-deal/


Maryland Rocks! Pro-Peace with Iran actions today at four of Sen. Ben Cardin’s offices.

August 20, 2015

Free State peace-mongers at Senator Ben Cardin’s Rockville office today urging him to support the Iran peace deal, part of coordinated actions at four of his offices including Capitol Hill, Baltimore and Bowie. Peace Action leaders also delivered over 5500 petition signatures in support of the Iran nuclear agreement. Cardin is a key vote as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and remains undeclared on the deal.

Peace Action's photo.

Validators of Iran Nuclear Deal

August 20, 2015

 

SUPPORT FOR THE IRAN NUCLEAR AGREEMENT BY HUNDREDS OF EXPERTS WORLDWIDE, AS WELL AS BY A MAJORITY OF AMERICAN JEWS:  REFERENCES AND EXCERPTS

 

Norman Robbins, Aug. 23, 2015

 

See Americans for Peace Now website (a major reference for this document) for additional information and ongoing updates: https://peacenow.org/page.php?name=iran-deal-awaiting-news-from-vienna

 

PART ONE: SUPPORT FROM EXPERTS

 

  1. Military, intelligence, security and non-proliferation leaders

 

Israeli military/intelligence/security leaders

http://www.irandealfacts.org/content/validators

http://www.molad.org/images/upload/files/MoladAipacstatement.pdf

http://peacenow.org/entry.php?id=12886#.VdogbPlVhBc

https://peacenow.org/WP/wp-content/uploads/bluewhite.jpg

 

Ami Ayalon (former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, and former chief of the Israeli navy): “When it comes to Iran’s nuclear capability, this [deal] is the best option”. “[If the deal is scuttled] Iran will escape sanctions, inspections will deteriorate, nuclear work will go on and we will lose on every front.”

Shlomo Brom (former director of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) strategic planning, and former national security advisor): “This agreement represents the best chance to make sure Iran never obtains a weapon.”

Israel Ziv (former IDF major general): “This agreement is the best among all other alternatives, and any military strike … would not have delayed even 20% of what the agreement will delay.”

Shemuel Meir (former IDF analyst, now at Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv) “The agreement contains important positive implications for Israel’s security. Above all, it prevents Iran’s emergence as a new nuclear-weapon state in the Middle East.”

Efraim Halevy (former Mossad (Israeli intelligence) Director): “Without an agreement, Iran will be free to act as it wishes, whereas the sanctions regime against it will crumble in any case.” “Iran made concessions on a long series of critical issues—the detailed discussion on its nuclear programs was distasteful to it, and severe restrictions for the next 10 to 15 years were imposed on it.  In the Middle East, a decade is an eternity.  Iran was also forced to agree to an invasive and unique monitoring regime, which is unparalleled around the world.  The agreement enables inspections to be held even in sites in which the supreme leader, Khamenei, declared that he would not permit inspectors to enter, and a procedure was established—a complicated but clear procedure—that enables a forum in which the West has a clear majority to reinstate the sanctions even without the consent of Russia and China.  And that is just a partial list of the concessions.”

Amram Mitzna (former head of IDF Operations and planning): “Nearly every day since the nuclear agreement with Iran was finalized, more Israeli generals and security chiefs have come forward with the same message: The deal is surprisingly good for Israel’s security. … I feel it is my duty to join my colleagues. …. as head of IDF operations and planning, I learned well the capabilities and also the limits of military power. And I saw firsthand the enormous security benefits that can be achieved through diplomacy.  I must state loud and clear — this agreement is better than no agreement and must not be rejected. If implemented, it will block all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, and extend the time Iran would need to build a bomb from only two months to more than a year.”

 

 

Council on Peace and Security  (Israeli organization of former military & intelligence officials)

http://www.peace-security.org.il/page/95/The-position-of-the-Council-on-the-Agreement-with-Iran.aspx

“The agreement is expected to lengthen the break-out time to 12 months for at least 10 years.”

 

Some 60 former Israeli military/intelligence leaders

https://peacenow.org/WP/wp-content/uploads/bluewhite.jpg

A signed ad, urging the Israeli government to recognize that the agreement is “an accomplished fact” and to focus on cooperation for implementation.

 

Recent Israeli intelligence report on nuclear deal, according to J. J. Goldberg article in The Forward http://forward.com/opinion/319515/the-game-changing-iran-report-that-wasnt/#ixzz3jZKrIIeo

“The deal offers Israel both advantages and disadvantages…The disadvantages are not too calamitous for anyone to cope with them. For an outside observer, the logical conclusion is that Netanyahu’s fiery confrontation with the Obama administration is unnecessary.”

 

36 retired U.S. Generals and Admirals

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/retired-generals-and-admirals-back-iran-nuclear-deal/2015/08/11/bd26f6ae-4045-11e5-bfe3-ff1d8549bfd2_story.html 

The agreement is “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons …There is no better option to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon… Military action would be less effective than the deal, assuming it is fully implemented.”

 

U.S. National Security experts:  29 top U.S. Scientists (including nuclear experts) http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/08/08/world/document-iranletteraug2015.html

“This is an innovative agreement, with much more stringent constraints than any previously negotiated non-proliferation framework… Some have expressed concern that the deal will free Iran to develop nuclear weapons without constraint after ten years. In contrast we find that the deal includes important long-term verification procedures that last until 2040, and others that last indefinitely under the NPT and its Additional Protocol.”

 

75 U.S. non-proliferation experts

http://www.armscontrol.org/files/Nonpro_Specialist_statement_on_Iran_Deal_Aug_2015.pdf

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts… The JCPOA is effectively verifiable. The agreement will put in place a multi-layered monitoring regime across Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain…. Taken together, these rigorous limits and transparency measures will make it very likely that any future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, even a clandestine program, would be detected promptly, providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon ….the agreement will reduce the risk of a destabilizing nuclear competition in a troubled region …—and head off a catastrophic military conflict over Iran’s nuclear program.”

 


 

 

  1. Ambassadors and other diplomacy experts

 

Over 100 former US Ambassadors and diplomatic leaders

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/16/us/politics/document-american-ambassadors-letter.html

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons. If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East.”  See also:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/271988995/Statement-by-60-National-Security-Leaders-on-the-Announcement-of-a-Joint-Comprehensive-Plan-of-Action?ct=t%28%29&goal=0_efecee0f27-3c88171ef4-&utm_campaign=3c88171ef4-&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Congressional+Contacts&utm_term=0_efecee0f27-3c88171ef4-

 

Three former Undersecretaries of State, five former Ambassadors to Israel

http://www.scribd.com/doc/272679222/Letter-on-JCPOA-From-Former-Und-Sec-State-and-US-Ambs-to-Israel-to-House-Leadership   “This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically … it does meet all of the key goals required for high confidence that, should Iran violate it and move toward building a nuclear weapon, the international intelligence community and the IAEA will discover Iran’s actions early and in sufficient time for strong countermeasures to be taken to stop Iran’s activities… The consequences of rejection are grave: U.S. responsibility for the collapse of the agreement; the inability to hold the P5+1 together for the essential international sanctions regime and such other action that may be required against Iran; and the real possibility that Iran will decide to build a nuclear weapon under significantly reduced or no inspections.”

 

Over 70 former EU ambassadors and political leaders http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/members-of-the-european-leadership-network-express-support-for-the-nuclear-agreement-with-iran_2969.html

“We believe that this agreement provides a sound framework for ending the crisis over the Iranian nuclear program and a foundation for re-integrating Iran into the international community… The agreement places long-term, verifiable constraints on the development of technologies and construction of facilities which could be used by Iran to produce weapons-grade materials … The agreement will open the way for economic engagement with Iran, which should strengthen internally the position of the pragmatic proponents of peaceful co-existence and cooperation with outside partners …The agreement may open the way for wider cooperation on pressing regional and international security issues, including the fight against ISIS, ending the Syrian civil war, guaranteeing a stable future for Afghanistan, and the fight against narcotics production and smuggling.”

 

Diplomats from P5+1 nations

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/ambassadors-press-case-for-iran-nuclear-deal-in-congress/2015/08/06/9f46cae8-3c70-11e5-b3ac-8a79bc44e5e2_story.html Diplomats from the five countries that negotiated the Iran nuclear agreement with the United States have launched a coordinated lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, with some warning lawmakers that if Congress scuttles the accord, there may be no chance of resuming talks to get a better deal. “The option of going back to negotiations is close to zero,” [said] Philipp Ackermann, the deputy ambassador of the German Embassy …. Every diplomat who attended the briefing said international sanctions would collapse, Iran would ramp up its nuclear program and there would be no possibility of getting Iran back to the negotiating table…Diplomats also told senators that many European nations will not go along with continued sanctions if the deal is derailed by Congress.”

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on “secondary” US sanctions if deal collapses 

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/08/us-russia-collision-post-iran-deal-economic-agreement.html

“ … Lavrov was forceful in asserting Moscow’s commitment to its ties with Tehran and Russia’s rejection of unilateral US sanctions, including the so-called secondary sanctions, those affecting firms outside the United States that deal with Iran.…[Lavrov] vigorously asserted Moscow’s right to pursue closer trade relations with Iran regardless of US sanctions. Questioned about US scrutiny of Russian-Iranian agreements and possible sanctions, Lavrov said, “The US sanctions are none of our concern. We comply only with our international obligations. In regard to penalties, they include, above all, the ones approved by the UN Security Council’s resolutions. We have no interest in any third-party restrictions …”

 

 

PART TWO: SUPPORT FROM AMERICAN JEWS

 

Most Inclusive poll   http://www.jewishjournal.com/nation/article/new_poll_u.s._jews_support_iran_deal_despite_misgivings  and https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/on-the-iran-deal-american-jewish-leaders-dont-speak-for-all-jews/2015/08/14/988e577e-41d5-11e5-846d-02792f854297_story.html?hpid=z3

In the only post-agreement poll to include non-religious as well as religious American Jews, 49% supported and 31% opposed the deal.  “… asked whether Congress should “vote to approve or oppose the deal, Jews lean heavily toward approval, 53 percent for versus 35 percent against.”

 

340 Rabbis Support Nuclear Deal

http://www.ameinu.net/newsroom/press-release/340-rabbis-urge-congress-to-support-nuclear-deal-with-iran/

“… we are deeply concerned with the impression that the leadership of the American Jewish community is united in opposition to the agreement. We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.”

26 prominent American Jewish leaders support agreement                                    http://time.com/4004106/jewish-leaders-iran/                                                                                             “While not perfect, this deal is the best available option to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.”  Signatories include three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, 10 former heads of many of its biggest member organizations (including one former AIPAC Executive Director) and three former members of Congress.


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