Action Alerts

John Kerry: Talk to Iran About Syria

Over the holiday weekend, two major developments occurred on the Iran diplomacy front: the interim nuclear deal with UN Security Council members and Germany took effect, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to the second Syria peace conference, called Geneva II, which starts January 22. [1] [2]

If you've seen the news the last two days, you probably already know that Secretary of State John Kerry pressured Secretary General Ban to withdraw Iran's invitation to Geneva II purportedly because Iran never agreed to the terms of the Geneva communiqué, the outcome of the previous peace conference that Iran was also not invited to. [3]

But just last week, Kerry admitted that Iran was a “major actor” in the Syria conflict and that “no other nation has its people on the ground fighting in the way that they are.” [4] Given this, how can the US expect to secure a ceasefire without Iranian cooperation?

With real progress being made in the nuclear talks, now is the time to also talk to Iran about Syria.

Tell John Kerry to stop blocking Iran's involvement in the Syria talks and to work with Iran to secure a ceasefire to stop the killing.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/kerry-syria-talks

Thanks for all you do to help bring about a just foreign policy,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen, and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

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References:

1. “Iran begins enrichment cap as nuclear deal with world powers takes effect,” Barbara Slavin, Al Jazeera, January 19, 2014, http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/1/19/iran-world-powersstartin...

TODAY: Call Your Senators Opposing New Iran Sanctions

Just days before the holiday recess, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Robert Menendez, introduced S. 1881, the so-called "Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013", which calls for further sanctions on Iran and imposes conditions on a final deal. If this bill goes to a vote and passes, it promises to destroy all the diplomatic progress President Obama has made with Iran so far. Leaders in Iran's Majlis are already warning that they will respond in kind to the passage of this legislation-and that Iran may opt out of talks altogether.

You can help prevent AIPAC and its friends in the Senate from sabotaging the Iran talks by making a two minute call today.

Here's what you do:

  1. Check whether your Senator is a current co-sponsor
  2. Call your Senators' offices in DC directly or use this toll-free number for the Capitol Switchboard, courtesy of the Friends Committee on National Legislation: 1-855-686-6927
  3. When the person in your Senator's office picks up, say, "I urge Senator ____ to oppose S. 1881, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act of 2013, which would destroy the possibility of a diplomatic agreement with Iran by imposing new sanctions at this critical moment."
  4. When you're done, report your call below.

Our Greatest Achievement

Over the last few weeks, we've been recalling our highest achievements of 2013. But our greatest success this year? You.

Yes, you are our greatest success. In 2013, Just Foreign Policy has increased its membership by a factor of three. This is not just a figure to boast about. It translates to real impact.

Last year, when we put out a call to action, we would usually get around 3,000 people to respond. This year, our petitions have attracted 15,000 to over 30,000 signatures. That's a huge difference.

When we act collectively, we are able to speak with a resounding voice. That translates to real wins. It's not a coincidence that 2013 has been our most successful year. It's all because of you.

But maintaining a membership this size requires more funding than we've needed in previous years. That's why we've set a goal of raising $25,000 by the end of December. And you know what? We're pretty confident that we can make it. But only if you help us get there.

So if you value what we do, help fund it. Will you make a $10 (or more!) tax-deductible donation to Just Foreign Policy?

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

If you would like to send a check instead, here's our address:

Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

Thank you for all you do to promote a more just US foreign policy,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

The Year AIPAC Lost—A Lot

For the last few weeks, we've been presenting some of the success stories of 2013. Today, we want to do something a bit different. Let's talk about some of this year's losses—AIPAC's losses, that is.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee—known popularly by its acronym, AIPAC—has acquired a reputation as an organization that pretty much always gets what it wants. When it somehow doesn't—like in 2008 when our coalition got its Iran blockade bill shelved—it's a really big deal. So one of the most surprising—and exciting—things about 2013 was the sheer amount of times AIPAC failed to achieve its goal.

Let's go back to the beginning of the year. President Obama wanted Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary. AIPAC didn't, and launched a major campaign against him. JFP, along with our coalition partners, pushed back. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC sent 300 lobbyists to the Hill to push for US military strikes on Syria. We succeeded in delaying a decision long enough for a diplomatic deal to be reached. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC did not want a rapprochement between the US and Iran in the wake of Hassan Rouhani's election. We encouraged diplomacy. 131 Members of Congress backed a reinvigorated effort to engage Iran. The Obama administration ended 30 years of silence by engaging in high-level talks that brought about an interim deal. We won; AIPAC lost.

AIPAC and its friends in Congress have been trying to nuke the Iran deal by pressuring Congress to pass new sanctions and other incendiary legislation. But Congress just ended its last session of the year—and no legislation passed. On top of that, we got Sen. Elizabeth Warren to back the interim deal during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. We won (twice!); AIPAC lost.

We stopped one war. We can stop another

This month, we're recounting the success stories of 2013. Last week, it was getting the US to talk to Iran. Today's win: preventing war with Syria.

Back in August when President Obama announced his intention to bomb Syria, Just Foreign Policy was the first progressive organization to say that the President should go to Congress to seek authorization. We mobilized the grassroots to urge their reps in Congress to demand that Obama come to them for approval. We then urged Congressional Democrats to sign Virginia Republican Scott Rigell's letter demanding the President come to Congress. We also worked with Rep. Barbara Lee's office to get a similar letter going for Democrats.

As a result of these efforts, 192 Members of the House went on record demanding that Obama come to Congress. The next day, President Obama announced that he would go to Congress for authorization.

The fight that resulted in Congress—and the resistance to another war that erupted on the streets across the US—delayed military action long enough for a diplomatic solution to present itself.

Just Foreign Policy was a first responder in the Syria fight. Because we're small, we can move quickly. And as we've proven, that comes in handy.

We need to raise $25,000 by the end of December. Help keep us in the game by making a tax-deductible contribution of $10 (or more!) to Just Foreign Policy today.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

If you would like to send a check instead, here's our address:

Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

Thank you for all you do to help prevent another US war,

Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

Tell Congress TODAY: Don’t Help AIPAC Blow Up Iran Diplomacy

For seven years, we’ve been urging that the U.S. government resolve its differences with Iran through diplomacy. Now that the Obama Administration is finally making progress some in Congress are trying to blow up the peace train.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is planning to ignore the Administration's request, and–with the assistance of AIPAC, which is going to be on the Hill this week—to introduce a bill that would mandate new sanctions and try to tie the hands of U.S. negotiators by demanding that a final deal stipulate that Iran not be able to enrich any uranium at all–Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand, which everyone knows cannot be achieved through diplomacy.

Call your Representative NOW at 1-855-686-6927 and say:

I urge you to oppose Rep. Cantor’s legislation that would undermine diplomacy by imposing new sanctions and tying the hands of U.S. negotiators from reaching a realistic deal with Iran.

You can report your call below.

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2013: The Year of the Citizen Activist

If we had to sum up 2013, it would be the year that proved that we ordinary citizens can impact US foreign policy. In fact, we've had so many successes this year that we decided we couldn't possibly do them justice in one email, so we're spreading the stories throughout the month, making this end-of-year campaign one of true reflection and rejoicing.

We start today with our most recent success, but our oldest campaign.

Just Foreign Policy was founded in 2006 amidst US threats to go to war with Iran. We called for diplomacy, not war, and pushed for the US to take positive steps toward talks that would bring about a comprehensive agreement.

President Obama's election in 2008 brought with it a promise to pursue diplomacy. During his first term, that pursuit was stilted and insufficient, so we continued to push. Finally, this year, President Obama did what no other US president has done in over 30 years: he talked to Iran. And now, we have an interim agreement that lays the groundwork for a comprehensive deal.

President Obama once said to activists, “my job is to govern; yours is to push me.” Over the years, Just Foreign Policy supporters have sent tens of thousands of emails to Congress and the White House supporting diplomacy. You've written thousands more emails to major news outlets telling them to report the truth about Iran. Our collective push for diplomacy is what enabled reason to triumph over the strife promoted by AIPAC and its ilk.

Next year will be a critical year. Peace is within reach—and we have the power to bring it about. Help us raise $25,000 by the end of the month by making a $10 tax-deductible #GivingTuesday contribution.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

If you would like to send a check instead, here's our address:

Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

And if you haven't already, tell Hillary to publicly support the interim deal with Iran.

Prepare yourself for a fright!

Forget the scary costumes and gory Hollywood movies. If you're looking for a true fright this Halloween, just take a look at the video of a panel discussion that took place at New York's Yeshiva University last week in which Sheldon Adelson, a major donor for numerous organizations and political candidates who promote strife, called for the US to nuke Iran—and the audience applauded!

For years, Adelson and his ideological kin have been using examples of Iranian rhetoric—often exaggerated and sometimes even fabricated—as an excuse for opposing any US-Iran rapprochement. Yet, in a disturbing attempt to evade responsibility, Adelson's spokesman insisted that his boss's comments shouldn't be viewed in the same light as those coming from Iran because he was obviously “using hyperbole to make a point that … actions speak louder than words.”

Yes, Mr. Adelson, actions do speak louder than words. Just as the US and Iran embark on the most promising talks in years, Adelson's cheering section on the Hill is brewing up some major sabotage, with the Senate threatening to pass further sanctions, and the House considering an authorization for the use of military force.

Isn't it scary that US and Iranian negotiators could be on their way to an agreement and Congress could just flip a switch and potentially blow the whole deal? We think so. That's why we've been working to give Obama the political space to pursue diplomacy.

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Easy, right?

Tell the WaPo: Stop Getting Ahead of the Facts on Iran!

The Washington Post is at it again.

A September 15 article in the Post contained the following gem (emphasis mine): [1]

Israel’s security establishment fears that a failure to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons could encourage Tehran, Syria’s ally, to continue to enrich uranium for a bomb.

This sentence implies that Iran is currently enriching uranium for a nuclear bomb. But there is no evidence at all that this is the case. [2] In fact, both US and Israeli intelligence agree that Iran is not trying to build a nuclear weapon. [3] So the Post should correct this sentence.

We've been through all of this before with the Post's former Ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, who acknowledged that a header and subheader the Post printed back in 2011 was misleading because it implied that Iran was trying to build a nuclear weapon. [4] Asked to weigh in on the current controversy, Pexton responded on Twitter that [5]

That sentence is easy to miss but I think it should be corrected. No govt has yet said Iran is enriching for a bomb.

Unfortunately, the Post eliminated the Ombudsman position earlier this year when Pexton's contract ran out. [6] He was "replaced" by Douglas Feaver, who holds the title "Reader Representative." But Feaver has yet to respond to numerous calls over the last month to correct misleading Post passages on Iran's nuclear program. [7]

Let's flood Feaver's inbox so he can't ignore the truth any longer. It only took 1500 emails to get Pexton to issue his original correction. [8] With your help, we may be able to stop the Post from getting ahead of the facts on Iran yet again.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/wapo-iran-facts

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy