JFP Joins FCNL and 24 Other Organizations to Tell Congress: Don't Sabotage Diplomacy with Iran!

Just Foreign Policy joined the Friends Committee on National Legislation and 24 other organizations to call upon members of Congress to oppose a provision in HR 1905, the "Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011," which would make certain contacts between US and Iranian officials illegal. The letter text can be found below. You can find the full text of the bill here. The section in question, 601(c), can be found on page 101 and in full in the letter below.

Friends Committee on National Legislation * Americans for Peace Now * Arms Control Association * Center for Interfaith Engagement, Eastern Mennonite University * Church of the Brethren Council for a Livable World * Fellowship of Reconciliation * Just Foreign Policy * Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness * Mainstream Media Project * Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns * Mennonite Central Committee * Minnesota Peace Project * Middle East Peace Now * National Iranian American Council * New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies * Peace Action * Peace Action West * Peace Catalyst International * Progressive Democrats of America * Project On Middle East Democracy * Student Peace Alliance * United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society * Women's Action for New Directions 3P Human Security: Partners for Peacebuilding Policy

Prevent War with Iran, Don’t Sabotage Diplomacy: Oppose Sec. 601c of H.R. 1905

December 8, 2011

Dear Representative,

We urge you to oppose the provision restricting contact with Iranian officials in the Iran sanctions bill H.R. 1905 and to work with your colleagues to remove it from the bill when it comes to the House floor. We are concerned that Section 601c of this legislation would undermine prospects for a diplomatic resolution of Iran’s disputed nuclear program, increasing the threat of war.

This provision was inserted into the bill during committee markup, after most of the cosponsors had already signed onto H.R. 1905. Section 601c of H.R. 1905 would expressly prohibit contact between U.S. government officials and certain Iranian officials, as noted below:

(c) RESTRICTION ON CONTACT.—No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that— (1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations. (d) WAIVER.—The President may waive the requirements of subsection (c) if the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees 15 days prior to the exercise of waiver authority that failure to exercise such waiver authority would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States.

If this provision were to be enacted into law, it could have a chilling effect on any diplomatic engagement that this or any future administration might wish to pursue to address Iran’s nuclear program, its role in exacerbating or de-escalating regional conflicts, and its failure to respect the human rights of its citizens. It would also place restrictions on members of Congress, likely precluding the potential for inter- parliamentary dialogue with Iranian parliamentarians.

As Ambassadors Thomas Pickering and William Luers have pointed out, this provision also raises “serious constitutional issues over the separation of powers”. For the administration to exercise its waiver authority, the President would have to certify 15 days in advance that the failure to do so would “pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States”.

At a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, sustained and flexible diplomacy is an essential tool to prevent war. Just before he retired from the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen called for an established channel of communications with Iran, noting that: “We haven't had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War we had links to the Soviet Union...If something happens it's virtually assured that we won't get it right, that there will be miscalculations which would be extremely dangerous in that part of world...I think any channel would be terrific.”

We urge every member of Congress to oppose Section 601c of H.R. 1905 speak out on the House floor against efforts designed to constrain diplomatic engagement with Iran.

Sincerely,

Friends Committee on National Legislation * Americans for Peace Now * Arms Control Association * Center for Interfaith Engagement, Eastern Mennonite University * Church of the Brethren Council for a Livable World * Fellowship of Reconciliation * Just Foreign Policy * Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness * Mainstream Media Project * Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns * Mennonite Central Committee * Minnesota Peace Project * Middle East Peace Now * National Iranian American Council * New Internationalism Project, Institute for Policy Studies * Peace Action * Peace Action West * Peace Catalyst International * Progressive Democrats of America * Project On Middle East Democracy * Student Peace Alliance * United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society * Women's Action for New Directions 3P Human Security: Partners for Peacebuilding Policy

To: JFP +23,

As I recognize most of the well intentioned groups here, I do understand your concerns about 'No Contact' with Iranian officils, however, there are clauses in the Bill that resolve that main issue. I can only immagine that the organization hidden in the middle of the pile, NIAC, had something to do with your opposition and that they misinformed you about the full content of the legislation and their reasons for wanting it removed.

You see, NIAC and its President, Trita Parsi, are a pro-regime, pro-Velayat-e Faqih, anti-semitic organization that really hate America, democracy, capitalism and our way of life. You all should read up on individuals that you join forces with before signing petitions like this.

Now, the true reason Parsi and NIAC want Section 601 struck from the Bill is that if it is enacted, it would prevent them, as agents for the Islamic Republic of Iran, from engaging with our Congressman, Senators and State Department, which they have been doing for a number of years to circumvent U.S. policy that would weaken the regime in Iran.

Ask Mr. Parsi about Betty Sue and Billy Bob. If he wont tell you then come and see me and I will. To Mr. Parsi, you are all infidels and he would like nothing more than to take you all out, especially all of you Christians and Jews. Parsi and NIAC are undeclared agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran according to some people in the FBI and Justice Department. They illegally operate a 501c3 non-profit which is restricted from lobbying to 20 percent of an organizations operation. I would think that many of your groups fall under these same guidelines.

Now you know the reason you were all coerced into opposing this legislation.

Parsi, NIAC, CASMII, CAIR, Muslim Brotherhood and other groups would no longer be allowed to LOBBY our Government officials like Jim Moran and Kieth Ellison and convicted former Congressman Bob Ney, who tried to circumvent U.S. Sanctions and sell aircraft parts to Iran while Trita Parsi worked as his staff assistant.

If it is necessary, our government would negotiate at the drop of a dime. Obama has offered many times to do just that. The problem arose when these LOBBYISTS were intentionally interfering with U.S. policy and giving officials bad information at the request of the regime in Iran. This is why Section 601 subsection (c) was placed into the legislation, so that they could clean house of spies in our capital and prevent agents of the regime from undermining decissions.

We will be researching some of the other groups listed above, as we did NIAC and Parsi and we will expose any other Iran lobbyists we find among you.

Kindest Regards,

Walton K. Martin III - Director
The Iran Information Project

What kind of country doesn't want to negotiate with another country in order to prevent catastrophic conflict. Apparently the United States, who is supposed to be the beacon of light
in the darkness. I'm starting to lose confidence and starting to accept the idea that we no longer deserve the respect from other countries to do the right thing. I hope I'm proven wrong.

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