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Together, we can push our elected leaders to support real talks with Iran without pre-conditions – and to oppose a military attack. Join the effort by asking your Congressional representatives to support diplomacy, not confrontation, with Iran.

Feb. 7: Los Angeles, CA

Feb. 9: Portland, OR

Feb. 10: Sacramento, CA

Feb. 11: San Francisco, CA

Feb. 12: Seattle, WA

Feb. 13: Albuquerque, NM

Feb. 15: Columbia, MO

Feb. 16: Peoria, IL

Feb. 17: Champaign-Urbana, IL

Feb. 18: Omaha, NE

Feb. 19: Chicago, IL

Feb. 20: Columbus, OH

Feb. 22: Atlanta, GA

Feb. 25: Miami, FL

Feb. 26: Tampa, FL

Feb. 27: Philadelphia, PA

Feb. 28: New York, NY

Feb. 29: Long Island, NY

March 3: Waterville, ME

March 4: Concord, NH

March 5: Baltimore, MD

March 6: Washington, DC

March 7: Washington, DC

 

Real Diplomacy Works—Military Threats Don't

The Bush Administration deployed a rhetoric of confrontation against Iran, including the threat of military force without United Nations or even Congressional authorization. Many of the Bush Administration's claims that Iran is a threat echo claims used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq and rest on similarly dubious evidence. Policies have been approved, such as authorizing the killing of Iranian officials in Iraq, that could easily escalate into a broader military confrontation.

The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) revealed the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran abandoned nuclear weapons research in 2003 and has not restarted it. The NIE showed that European diplomatic efforts were successful in convincing Iran not to pursue nuclear weapons research (just as diplomacy has been successful in North Korea). It is time for the U.S. to engage in real dialogue with Iran. Since we know that there is little risk Iran will develop a nuclear weapon soon, we know there is time to talk. However, despite the release of the NIE, the White House continued to hype the “danger” from Iran. Bush Administration officials rejected calls for real diplomacy with Iran.

Therefore, we are calling on Americans to push for real diplomacy: to call for “direct, unconditional and comprehensive” talks, as Republican Senator Chuck Hagel put it. Such negotiations need to address both the security concerns of the United States and the security concerns of Iran. Former Bush Administration officials with expertise in the Middle East and Iran outlined in the New York Times how such negotiations could proceed. The Bush Administration must end its demand that Iran make crucial concessions, such as the suspension of uranium enrichment, before negotiations can even begin.

A U.S. attack on Iran would be foolish and dangerous. It would risk causing another disaster like Iraq that will cost many lives, American and Iranian. Furthermore, though Iran now appears not to have a nuclear weapons program, a U.S. attack might convince Iran it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself.

A military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran is unfortunately still possible. Congress needs to act to prevent this from happening and to promote real diplomacy. Americans can put pressure on their elected officials to compel them to act.

A Brief History
To understand the relationship between the United States and Iran, one must be aware of the history of U.S. intervention in Iran, and understand the complicated relationship between the two countries today.

The United States has played an active role in Iran for decades, often in ways resented by Iranians. It organized the 1953 coup against the popular and democratically elected Prime-Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. After the coup, the autocratic rule of the Shah was reinstated and supported by the United States. Later, the United States supported Iraq in its invasion of Iran. The formative image for many Americans of Iran was created when 52 U.S. diplomats were taken hostage by militant Iranian students in 1979. As a result of this tragic history, the United States is perceived in Iran as a superpower that regularly seeks to interfere with its sovereignty, while many Americans see Iran as a rogue state.

The recent history of relations between the United States and Iran has been marked by misunderstanding and mistrust shaped by the unjust use of violence and threats of violence. Violent conflict has not served the interests of either country. Military threats deepen hostilities and resentment and future conflict becomes more likely. Serious diplomacy between our two countries is needed.