Just Foreign Policy welcomes the call of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Banking Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee to postpone enacting new sanctions legislation against Iran.
As the CPC notes, enacting new sanctions on Iran now would undermine U.S. diplomats, derail U.S.-Iran talks and put the U.S. on a path towards war.
It’s become more obvious than ever in recent days that Republican efforts in Congress to undermine diplomacy cannot succeed without significant Democratic support. We particularly urge Senator Sherrod Brown, the ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, and Elliot Engel, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to heed the CPC call.
Earlier today, a Just Foreign Policy activist delivered a petition to Sen. Ben Cardin's office in Baltimore calling on him to support diplomacy with Iran by opposing any new sanctions legislation, including the Kirk-Menendez bill.
A petition calling for Sen. Cardin to oppose any effort to punish the Palestinians for joining the International Criminal Court was also delivered.
Even if you have already called before, support the petition delivery by calling Ben Cardin’s Baltimore office NOW at (410) 962-4436 and saying
I support the petition being delivered to your office today calling on Sen. Cardin to support diplomacy with Iran by opposing any new sanctions legislation, including the Kirk-Menendez bill. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, new sanctions legislation "will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails."
I also support the petition calling on Sen. Cardin to oppose any effort to punish the Palestinians for using international law to protect their human rights by joining the International Criminal Court. That means he should not support any effort to cut aid to the Palestinians, including Sen. Rand Paul's bill (S.34) and the proposed Gillibrand-Rubio letter.
When you’re done, please report your call here:
Thanks for all you do to protect diplomacy,
Megan Iorio and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
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Sen. Robert Menendez announced that he plans to introduce new Iran sanctions legislation before the State of the Union next Tuesday.
The Obama administration is adamant that any new sanctions—even those with a trigger to become active upon a break in the talks—would violate the Joint Action Plan that has limited Iran’s nuclear program, inviting Iran to also violate the agreement and “blow up” the talks, as National Security Advisor Susan Rice has said.
The State Department announced that the President will veto any new Iran sanctions bill, but Menendez is looking to recruit a veto-proof 67 vote majority to circumvent the President. Menendez will try to recruit your Senators—which is why they need to hear from you!
Call your Senators TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and say
I urge Sen. _______ to OPPOSE any new Iran sanctions legislation. The Obama administration has made clear that any new sanctions bill—even if it includes a trigger—would violate the Joint Action Plan, which has successfully limited Iran’s nuclear program. Doing so would invite Iran to also violate the plan and, as Susan Rice has put it, “blow up” the talks and any hope of resolving this issue diplomatically.
When you’re done, report your call below.
Last Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon announced that Palestine would become a member of the International Criminal Court on April 1. That same day, Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation to cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority— about $400 million a year—if the Palestinians don’t withdraw their application to join the ICC. And on Friday, Sens. Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer, Bob Menendez, and Mark Kirk released a statement saying that the Palestinian decision to join the ICC was “deplorable, counterproductive, and will be met with a strong response by the United States Congress.”
In less than a week, Just Foreign Policy has collected nearly 15,000 signatures on a petition calling for Sen. Paul to withdraw his bill. But your Senators are also getting pressure to join Sen. Paul and others in trying to bully the Palestinians to withdraw their ICC application—which is why they need to hear from you NOW.
Call your Senators TODAY at (202) 224-3121 and say
Sen. ____ should not support Rand Paul's S. 34—or any other bill, resolution, letter, or statement—that tries to bully the Palestinians into withdrawing their application to the ICC by cutting US funding to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians shouldn't be punished for trying to use international law to protect their human rights. The UN has accepted Palestine's application to the ICC, and the US should respect this decision.
When you’re done with your call, report it below.
With Republicans taking over the Senate in the new year already threatening to impose new sanctions on Iran—which would almost certainly sabotage the ongoing diplomacy—it's more important than ever for pro-diplomacy Senators to speak out in support of the extension in the talks.
That’s why, since the extension was announced on November 24, Just Foreign Policy has been urging Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to make their support known.
Earlier today, I—along with Vermont physician David Hobbs and JFP volunteer Anke Voss—met with Philip Fiermonte, Sen. Sanders' State Director, at the Senator’s Burlington office. We delivered petitions with over 150 Vermont signatures and informed Fiermonte that more than 250 Vermonters have sent letters to the Senator over the last few weeks urging him to make a public statement.
Help us continue to defend diplomacy in the new year by making a $15 (or more!) tax-deductible donation today!
During the meeting, Dr. Hobbs—who came 20 miles to attend—urged Sen. Sanders to speak up for peace, noting the terrible consequences that recent wars have had on the peoples of the Middle East.
Fiermonte acknowledged our concerns and read from a message which Sen. Sanders' Washington staff had sent ahead of the meeting, saying that Sen. Sanders supports continued diplomatic engagement with Iran, supports the extension of the interim agreement with Iran, and opposes new sanctions now that would undermine the talks—exactly what we were asking him to say. Fiermonte promised to send a letter to me after the holidays, which will help us in our fight to defend diplomacy.
On Monday, December 29, at noon, I’m going to be delivering petitions from Vermont residents to Senator Sanders’ Burlington office, urging him to speak up now in favor of diplomacy with Iran.
If you live in Vermont, I’m hoping that you’ll join me! Here's the information:
December 29, noon
1 Church St, Suite 300
Burlington, VT 05401
If you’re not on Facebook, no worries! You can sign up to attend the event by filling out the form below.
Even if you can’t come to the petition delivery, you can still participate! Sign and share our petition with folks in Vermont ahead of the delivery.
Thanks for all you do to help defend diplomacy – and happy holidays!
A left-right coalition, supported by the president and public opinion, could successfully push Congress to end the Cuba embargo.
Can Republicans nostalgic for the Cold War block President Obama from taking executive actions to improve US diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba? Could a Republican-led Congress vote to end the US embargo? Some Republican leaders were quick to denounce President Obama's announcement that the United States was restoring ties with Cuba. But how many divisions do these Cold War dead-enders control?
On whether Republicans can follow through on threats to block the president, Associated Press is skeptical:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) is expected to vote soon on an authorization for the use of military force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It is virtually certain that some authorization of force will pass. But the committee will consider limits on the authorization of force, and meaningful limitations could pass.
If you have a Senator on the committee, you are in a unique position to influence the vote.
Sen. Tim Kaine has a proposal that would prohibit the use of ground troops except for rescue missions and "limited operations against high-value targets" – that is, against terrorist leaders who directly threaten the United States. It would expire in one year unless renewed by Congress. It would also require the White House to give legislators a list of groups that might be covered by the authorization because they are associated with the Islamic State.
Call your Senator at (202) 224-3121. You can say something like,
I urge Senator X to support Sen. Kaine’s proposals to limit the authorization of the use of force against ISIS, including by prohibiting the use of U.S. ground forces in combat in Iraq and Syria except for rescue missions and against groups that directly threaten the U.S.
When you’ve made your call, please report it below.
At long last, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote this week on an authorization for the use of force for the war against ISIS that started in early August. There is little doubt that a majority of the committee supports the use of force against ISIS. What will be revealed this week is what limits the committee will support in authorizing the use of force.